Entering this world on August 3, 1919, on a farm
in Canton Township, Washington Co., PA, Thelma Gertrude Horner, daughter of Melvin Edward Horner and Bernice Eliza Sims.
Melvin and Bernice had gotten married later in life, he was 34 and she was
32 years old so they wasted no time in having their family of three children.
Mom's older brother, Bernard, was born in October of 1917, than her in 1919,
and then her baby brother, Ellis in September of 1920. Grandma Horner was a busy lady.
Mom grew up living in the country and life was hard for her and her family.
Raising three children during the depression years was not an easy task.
Her father worked for the township road department most of the time and did
some farming too.
Mom met our father when she was only 13 years old at an old fashioned corn
roast, he was 20 at that time.
He always told the story that she wanted to get married then but he said
she would have to grow up a little first so they went their separate ways for 7 years. He said he never could forget
Our father traveled around from farm to farm getting whatever work he could
for this was the 1930's and the depression was in full swing and times were harder than any of us can even imagine.
His parents were both gone, mother died when he was 8 and father when he was 17 so he was on his own.
He came back to the area where she was living sometime in 1939 to see if
she had "grown up" and he saw that she had. They married on September 23, 1939 at the Jefferson Ave. United Methodist
Church in Washington, PA. Her mother went to the wedding but her father wouldn't go into the church and sat in his car.
He didn't want his daughter to marry Dad. The church was the same one that Melvin and Bernice had been married in just
24 years before. It is my guess that Bernice was the one that was a member there or had attended when she was young
living with her mother nearby on the west side of Washington a few blocks from this church.
Melvin was from the Claysville area. (Much later, in 1980, my husband
and I kept up the family tradition and were married at this same church.)
Well, after the wedding, with $19 between them, Mom & Dad went to work
at making a home for themselves and got busy making babies and in fact only 9 months after the wedding their first bundle
of joy was born, a daughter, Thelma June, named after Mom naturally.
Well, that wasn't enough apparently and about 15 months later a second daughter
was born, Elizabeth Bernice, (Betty), named after Dad's sister Elizabeth Jane Taylor and Mom's mother Bernice.
And then 15 months later another girl baby, Gladys Marie, (Marie).
Life got hard for Mom now! Diapers to wash and hang out on the line,
(washed on a washboard ladies, until later they bought a gasoline ringer washer!) plus all the farming, gardening, canning,
baking and other house chores to do and three little girls that got into things to take care of. Mom always cooked three
meals a day, everyday of the week for all those years, always without a complant! (When we don't get to eat out at least
once a week, we get grumpy, don't we?)
I look at old pictures and see Mom with her children and she looks so proud
and happy even with all those hardships. She would sing while she worked around the house.
I have heard Daddy tell of Mom making her own slips out of feed sacks and
would go without things so that us kids would have what we needed.
I used to think she really "liked" chicken necks!! Then I found out
that she would eat them so that us kids would have the pieces we liked first. With all 6 children at the table for Sunday
dinner, out parents there too, there was a need for at least 8 pieces of chicken if everyone had one piece that is.
(She would roast a whole chicken but most of the time cut up a chicken and
make fried chicken)
There was 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 breasts, backs that didn't have
much meat on them and one NECK! Daddy would usually have two pieces as would our brother, so that left 4 peices for
us 4 girls and the "NECK"!! Some of us would fight over who would get the gizzard and the heart!! (Now I say "yuk",
but then I liked them)
Well, back to having babies... About 3-1/2 years after the third daughter
was born, my brother arrived. William Albert (Bill or Billy) born in 1946. World War II was over.
Having Bill must have "scared" them or something because it was 7 years before
the stork would pay them a visit again. (Sorry Bill, I couldn't help myself!)
In 1953 Norma Jessie arrived, (named after Dad's mother, Jessie Dennis Taylor),
she was the first of the Taylor children to be born in a hospital. And then 3 years later, 1956, Carol May (ME) was
born. (Named after Dad's sister Lucy Mae Taylor Harrer)
They were still farming on the "Shares" until finally Dad and Mom decided
to try their hand at being independent and bought their own farm near Avella, PA. I was about 3 years old. We
all have fond memories of our "farm" days but this is the farm I remember the most.
Well times got bad when Dad was told he had to make changes in his milking
equipment because the law had changed and he just couldn't afford to do that with just buying the farm, so they sold out and
for a year or more went back to share cropping again on a couple different farms but finally they decided to move to "town".
We moved to Washington.
By this time the three older girls had moved out, gotten jobs, Marie had
joined the Army and then got married. Thelma June and Betty went to work and lived away from home so it was just Bill,
Norma and me.
This was the first time any of us had lived in any town so it was quite an
adjustment for us.
We rented a little house on East Prospect St. with a front yard 1 foot wide,
(I'm not kidding!) The back yard was bigger, 6 feet wide!!!
Mom went to work outside the home for the first time since they married and
Dad found whatever work he could. Mom worked at the George Washington Hotel cleaning rooms. She would walk to
work, uphill all the way about 1 mile and work all day and walk home!
Daddy worked at night at the new K-mart that had just been built in on the
other side of town. That worked out well because Daddy would get us off to school when he got home, clean the house
and wash clothes for Mom and would be there when we came home from school.
While we lived at this house Mom and Dad's first grandchild was born, a girl
to Marie and her husband from West Virginia that she met while in the Army. Mom and Dad celebrated their 25th Wedding
Anniversary, on September 23, 1964.
By this time the Vietnam War was on and Bill, out of school by this time,
decided to join the Marines. Mom and Dad didn't want him to do it but he went anyway.
Soon after bootcamp, Bill got married and then had his first son. Bill
went to Vietnam for 14 months and that was the hardest time in our parents lives so far. Mom would put a brave face
on for Norma and me but at night we would hear her crying. She worried and worried. Well, Bill returned home safe,
Thank God, and moved to North Carolina where he was stationed with his wife and son. Another grandson for Mom and Dad
was soon on his way.
Bill was sent to Hawaii soon after where his second son was born. By
1968 Mom and Dad had three grandchildren and we had moved to a different house in town a few blocks from the other one.
We lived there for another year when Mom and Dad decided they needed to find another place cheaper so they could save up money
to buy a house or a mobile home.
We moved to the west side of Washington on Ewing St. I don't remember
what year Mom quit working at the George Washington Hotel but sometime about this time she went to work as a cook at several
different restaurants in town.
Mom never did learn to drive so Dad took her to work and picked her up.
They were always together.
About 1970 they found a mobile home they liked and bought it. We moved
from the little house on Ewing St. on the west side of Washington with the outhouse to a nice new mobile home. They
had it put in a trailer park on East Maiden St. for a year until they could save up the money to buy some land.
Norma graduated from Trinity High School in June of 1971 and married in September
of 1971 and then left for California.
It was just Dad, Mom and me. They had found some land for the mobile
home to be put on near Claysville, out in the country and moved it there about October of 1971.
I was in 10th grade.
Mom got a job working at the same hospital as Dad so the ride to work was
farther but they were doing better with their finances than they ever had. Mom worked in the Laundry and Dad was in
Maintenance and the grounds keeper.
Mom loved to be back out in the country and she loved their gardens.
A few years later they bought another 1/2 acre next to the other one. They planted most of this 1/2 acre in more garden.
Dad put in a small orchard with about 8 trees.
They canned and froze food for every winter. It must have reminded
them of their early years of living off the farm.
I think some of the best years of their lives was spent on this little acre
of land. It was theirs and they enjoyed it.
By this time Bill had been married two times and had 6 children, 3 boys and
3 girls. He had moved to Arizona and California and finally back to Pennsylvania.
Marie just had the one daughter, Betty had gotten married and had three children,
two boys and a girl and Norma had a daughter to her first marriage and a daughter and son to her second marriage.
I had gotten married, had my oldest son and moved away to Ohio and there
had my second son.
Marie's daughter had a little boy so now there was a gr-grandchild and 15