29 March 2010

Tombstone Tuesday. Pi's mother, Ida May (Rees) Arnold 1855-1891 Ohio

Walnut Hill Cemetery, Hamilton township, Franklin County, Ohio. My great grandmother who died when my Grandmother "Pi" was five.

Ida May(Rees) Arnold left four children. She was the daughter of a successful farmer but her husband, Charles Eber Arnold, did not do so well.  He was first a teacher, then took her (with her inheritance) to Kansas to farm sheep.  That's where my grandmother, Grace Arnold, and her younger brother, Clyde, were born in Fall River, Greenwood County.

After Ida May's death at 36, her widower put his four children in and out of orphanages as he moved on.  Pi said those were the happier times for her because they didn't beat you in the orphanage.  When she was 16 she told her father, "Next time you hit me, I'll go out on the porch and scream for all the neighbors to hear," and he didn't hit her again.  His sister steered her to Miami Valley nursing school where she became an RN. But when, years later, Pi brought her children to meet her father -- in the late 1920's when he was living in Los Angeles with his second wife -- he didn't care to know her or his grandchildren.  My mother (who was 13 when she met her grandfather) said he was very tall and very handsome and utterly uninterested. They never saw him again. 

Sadly, Clyde ran away when he was about 13 and no one ever knew what happened to him. Pi's older sister, Elizabeth, had one son (her story next Tombstone Tuesday) and died in grief over his WWII death.  Oldest brother Charles Garfield Arnold, married a beautiful woman, Maud Winget, and had four children.  But their marriage floundered over family and religious differences, and he regretted the loss bitterly. We have a very sad letter he wrote to her.

Pi used to say to me, "Vinnie, you just never know what will happen in this world." She surely knew.

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