“If we celebrate the years behind us they become stepping-stones of strength and joy for the years ahead.” Anonymous
NEARLY FORGOTTEN, This collection of memories was recorded by Gerry Roe.
The following set of memories were submitted by some of Henry David Roe and Ruby Isaacs Roe’s children and grandchildren.
RANDY AND PEANUTS AND THE BIG FISH THAT DIDN’T GET AWAY
Submitted by Randy Cross:
It was summertime and before the year of the big snow of 1969 that collapsed part of the roof on Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Hardscrabble Road.
During the summer many us cousins would go spend some time with our grandparents. Me and my cousin Peanuts (Terry Roe) were 10-12 as I remember.
One day we went down to the creek behind Mr. Haines house to fish. A big salmon bumped us and we started hitting it. Peanuts grabbed a pitchfork and got it. It was big fish, but we carried it home to Grandma.
That night we had salmon for dinner. Thanks to Grandma and her cooking skills.
PEANUTS FINDS A BEE HIVE IN THE BARN
Submitted by Sherry Roe Carroll:
I can’t remember how many of us cousins were at Grandma’s house that day. It was when she still lived out on Hardscrabble Road. A lot of cousins were there. We were all playing down at the barn. It was back on the property, down past the garden. We were in the upstairs part of the barn, jumping up and down in the hay. My brother Peanuts jumped up and hit his head on a bee’s nest. He ran out of the barn, all he way to Grandma’s house. The bees were chasing and stinging him. He was crying and yelling loud. He had lots of stings. Grandma took care of him. and had lot of stings. Some of us other kids got stung too, but not nearly as bad as my brother.
UNCLE ALAN AND THE RAW THE EGG
Submitted by Sherry Roe Carroll:
As Sherry recalls her Uncle Alan Roe had gone with her and some cousins down to the barn to collect eggs. He told them they had to be careful with the eggs. He said that if anyone broke an egg they would have to eat it raw. She broke an egg, and according to her, her Uncle Alan told she had to eat it. She said she asked him why she had to eat the egg, and as she recalls he answered “because I am older than you .”
Sherry has many wonderful memories of times spent at Grandma’s house in Drain.
Regarding her memory about the raw egg, her uncle says he doesn’t recall the incident at all.
NO FREE LUNCH
Submitted by Nannie Roe Cross
Nannie Roe Cross says that most who knew her mother, Ruby Isaacs Roe thought of her as the quintessential homemaker and mother. But she wants people to know that there was another side to her mother. That she was also an ambitious and entrepreneurial woman. Back in Mississippi during the time of the New Deal helped support her family by working in a WPA sewing room. She also remembers that after the family moved to Dorena, Oregon and her father was working at the Booth Kelly Lumber Mill that her mother helped pay the bills by preparing a noon meal for the men who worked at the mill with her Father. Some of the men at the mill were single and they didn’t mind paying for a hot midday meal.
The men would walk across the bridge up the road at lunch time. It was probably their main meal of the day. Nannie says she was probably ten or eleven years old at thqat time, but she worked hard to help her mother cook a hot Southern meal, of fried chicken, potatoes and gravy, biscuits and cake.
The meal preparation would start with her mother killing the chickens that they would serve. All the food was fresh, because they only had a small ice box to store food in. Everything was cooked on a wood stove, even in the heat of the summer.
Nannie recalls helping her mother wash the dishes and clean the kitchen after the men ate their lunch. Not as easy task. She recalls that they did have running water. She said that they hot water tank held water that was warmed by coils running through the wood stove. She had to help keep the fire going. No fire – no hot water.”
Once the dishes were washed and the kitchen cleaned it was time to start over. Her mother had several mouths to feed and there was a big evening meal to prepare everyday.
Nannie said that she can’t remember when the family finally got an electric refrigerator. She also said she wished she had asked how mother how much she charged for those lunches. They were a lot of work to prepare.
THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD
Submitted by Betsy Cross Thorpe:
When I was a child it seems that most Sundays were spent going to visit my Grandparents in Drain. It was about an hour and half drive from our home in Springfield. As I recall my dad would often stop at a gas station along the way and buy me and my brothers a soda pop and some other kind of treat.
Sometime around 1964 that routine changed.
That’s when my aunt, Jeraldine Roe got hired at the Hastee Freez in Drain. From that time forward for as long as she worked there we would stop at the Hastee Freez on our way to my grandparents house. From that time forward my Sunday afternoon treat almost always included a soft serve ice cream cone expertly served by aunt.
I was so impressed by the way she swirled the ice cream. She looked so important in her uniform. She sounded so grown up and professional when she called back an order. At the age of ten, I was quite convinced that my aunt was luckiest girl around.
For I was quite certain that she had landed the best job in the world.
EAT IT. IT WILL MAKE YOUR HAIR GROW CURLY
Submitted by Betsy Cross Thorpe:
I always wanted to have curly hair. Ringlets. Like Shirley Temple. That was my dream. So, looking back, it now comes as no surprise to me that I wholeheartedly believed a good-natured nonsensical comment that Grandpa once made to me. I fell for his malarkey, hook, line and sinker.
One sunny summer morning he saw me pick past a piece of burnt toast that topped a stack of buttered toast that Grandma had just placed on the table. “Take the burnt toast” he said. “Eat it. It will make your hair grow curly.” I grabbed the burnt toast. I was so excited to eat it. Why hadn’t someone told me this before, I wondered, how long will it take for the curls to grow in?
My hair never grew curly, but there was one unintended pleasing consequence born out of my gullibility and belief in the infallibility of Grandpa’s words. In my quest to have a headful of curly hair I learned to savor the taste of burnt toast. The smokey flavor. The crispy texture. My favorite breakfast food.
Yes. Eating burnt toast always makes me happy.
And yes. I still cling to the dream that one day my hair will grow curly.
The following memories were submitted by relatives of Henry David Roe.
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN
Submitted by Melba Flowers Pine and her son Steve Pine:
Melba is the daughter of Annie Elizabeth Roe Flowers. Annie was the sister of Henry David Roe.
Melba Flowers Pine and her son Steve Pine, son tell how Annie Elizabeth Roe Flowers was a strong woman. They say she was the bread winner of her family. Melba said “I am afraid to stay by myself now. My mother worked the second shift at McComb, Mississippi cotton mill. I had to stay by myself. My siblings J.W. and Donnis Mae had already left home. Sometimes a friend would stay with me. We would hear some noises and be afraid. When mother came home I would tell her. She immediately would go to the back door where she kept a shotgun. She would go out on the porch and shoot the gun in the air. It made her shoulder sore; but she was a strong woman and it made me feel better.”
Melba’s husband, Harold was a career military man. , Steve said that his granny would come to see them wherever they lived. She would travel alone on a Greyhound Bus. The only place she didn’t visit was when they were in the Philippines; she didn’t want to fly. She did fly later when Steve graduated. Steve said, “Granny was fearless! She was a strong woman.
Memories submitted by relatives of Ruby Isaacs Roe
Submitted by Jim Isaacs:
Jim is the son of Henry Kelly Isaacs. Henry was the brother of Ruby Isaacs Roe.
He recalled a time in 1966 when was in route from one Air Force base to another. He came to Cottage Grove where his father his father lived . His father drove him to Napa, California which was near Travis Air Force Base, which was where he was headed to. Jim recalls spending the night with his cousin Bill Roe and his wife Carol. Bill was in college at the time. Jim and his father really appreciated being able to stay with them.
The next morning Jim and his father left for the air force base. He boarded a plane and flew west to Japan, then on to Thailand. His dad got in his car and headed north back home to Oregon. .
Jim recalls that he had very good visit with his cousin Bill.
This last memory is written by Gerry Roe in memory of Jim Moore. Jim was the son of Marie Isaacs Moore. Marie was the sister of Ruby Isaacs Roe.
Gerry Roe reconnected with her cousin in the last years of his life. They grew very close. He shared many recollections, reminiscences and memories from his life with her. Gerry penned the following in his stead. It is her hope that these snippets of recollections will help keep her beloved cousin’s memory alive.
REMINISCENCES OF AN OLD TIME FIDDLER
My cousin Jim told me a number of stories about his love of music and years of singing with the Old Time Fiddlers. He was a charter member; it was started in a member’s home in Cottage Grove, Oregon in the 1950’s. I had the opportunity during this time to attend the monthly Gospel sings in Springfield and Cottage Grove where they played and sang. He and several of the remnants of the band were playing. By the time he could no longer play they were down to one living member. What a joy to see those old time men and women give it their all with the gospel music. What I most remember is the family reunions where he, his brother Manuel and nephew Cyrus White would bring out the guitars and start strumming. My mother, Ruby would be near and begin to sing with them. They were in their own world of singing some of those sad backwoods songs of Kentucky and enjoying the past.
The last weeks of Jim’s life he shared with me his life story and his love of building guitars. He had one hanging on the wall. His granddaughter Amanda has provided several pictures of his working on one.
I cherish the times we had together before his death in 2019.