Friday, July 24, 2015

Little Girl with the Striped Shirt

So you are the little girl with the striped shirt and barrette in your hair? Who's the man behind you (if that is you) with the glasses?

Hi Joyce,
So you are the little girl with the striped shirt and barrette in your hair? Who's the man behind you (if that is you) with the glasses?

Was it Ellis Fletcher Fry who was nicknamed Uncle Mose?
Do you remember who notified your family when he was killed? And also, was his death due to DDT? Aunt Norma seems to recall him being under the house spraying DDT or some chemical and dying as a result.
Is that the same memory that you have or news you're aware of surrounding what you heard? I mean, if you heard anything in particular about his death.
Norma says that Ellis F Fry still has a son living (she hopes!) named Robert James Fry. He was living in San Luis Obispo but I have not been able to find much on him so far.
I know he went to high school (age 16) in Cambria, California over on the coast. I found some yearbook photos of him. He would probably be in his 70s now. I have him being born in 1932. 
Anyway, if you have knowledge about which Uncle was Uncle Mose that would help me out a bit.

Your mom, Joyce responds:

The Uncle Mose I remember had a son whom they called "Bobby Jim"  He would be 80 if he was born in 1932 and that would be right because he was my age.  So, his father's name was probably Ellis F Fry.  He's the guy with the big cowboy hat in the picnic picture.  Bobby Jim is sitting on the ground between Jessie and I.  She is shading her eyes and I am to his left with the straight blond hair.
I'll get into more detail after the weekend.  Have a nice weekend and "Hi" to Aunt Norma.

I thought the guy behind me was Gramma Howery's husband, but that was only a guess.  I don't know those people on the right side of the picture.  I know Uncle Ellis has the cowboy hat.  Aunt Lorena has the scarf around her head and her husband Ernest is standing in the back with the big grin and a large round head.  He was from Germany and during the start of the war he almost lost his butcher shop because no one trusted a German.  His name was Gramaspacher, and had been married before and had 2 sons.  They, the sons,  seemed to be the only ones in the family who notified my mother of any deaths. 

We had a lovely evening tonight.  We sat on my front lawn and watched the sun go down over the lake.  They are in bed, but I'm a night owl, soon to hit the hay.  I am going to go over the e-mails and try to answer all the questions I know the answer to.  Don't give up.  I'll get back to you eventually.

8 June 2012

Hello Joyce,

Sorry to read about your neighbor's health issues. That's tough stuff! Sounds like you are good neighbors too  -- taking care of all those cats. 

I am absolutely thrilled to be in contact with you! I printed a copy of your email and sent it to Aunt Norma Slankard Green who I mentioned in my email yesterday. She's going to be over-the-moon thrilled! 

Your father, Robert was Norma's uncle though she did not know him really well. My father, Norma's brother died in 1991 while on vacation in Arizona. I had lost contact with my Aunt Norma until just recently after so many, many years since his death. We were all taken by surprise when he died. He was only 59 years old and caught a cold that turned into pneumonia and next day, he died.  I had completely lost connection with my aunt Norma until I started delving into the ancestry, and thankfully, we reconnected. I have tried to contact many relatives only to be ignored or maybe they think I'm one of those Nigerian scammers. I'm not sure. I always send them proof of my connection with them, a photo, article, an explanation of where I fit into their family picture (so to speak).

I'm the daughter of Robert Fry's nephew, Tom Slankard (now deceased). I have 3 brothers and one sister, all living. I own a corgi (dog) who's wonderful and a pain in the rear. I have twin sons who are nearly 34 years old now. My husband died of colon cancer in 2001.  I have not remarried nor do I even consider it. My passions are reading, writing, my dog and genealogy. I worked as a research librarian for 20 years so this kind of research is right up my alley.

My understanding from what I've been told by Aunt Norma (Robert Fry's niece) is that all of the Fry children died young except Corley Fry who passed in 1978. I think what makes me want to know more about Robert Fry and his brothers and sisters is that one of his sisters was my grandmother who I never got to meet, plus I'm intrigued that all the children died young. I wanted to know where their children (if any) were. I wanted to know more about their lives. 

The links below will take you to articles about Robert E. Fry's accident and the attachment discusses the initial crash.

Lorena and brother, Robert Fry
I'm attaching another photo of Robert and his sister, Lorena (who drowned  along with her husband while clamming one day - yet another tragedy for this family).

Looking forward to hearing from you again when you have time.

Caring Cousins

I have been busy taking care of my neighbor's 5 indoor cats since he had a heart attack on Tuesday, so I didn't get back to you as quickly as I wanted. 
We need to know more about each other and then work backwards from there.  I am confused about some things in your email and I know there are many things you would like to know. 
I have given Melinda Strong my permission to delve into Robert E. Fry's past and the suicide as well as a murder in which he was involved.  My mother never told Jessie and I anything about his life, so I'm as curious as you and have often wished I had a way to find out more.
Don Staton has forwarded the picture of my dad on his horse, and the picnic scene from which he was missing.
I can't do more tonight, but send me anything, anytime and I will keep in touch with you, as well.  My computer guru is the man who had the heart attack and is scheduled for a double by-pass and he's the one who scanned pictures for me.  I will go to Walmart, make prints of the pictures I have and send them to you to keep for your own.  So, my dear cousin, send me your address and I will send you an envelope of pictures as soon as I'm able.
Thanks for being a cousin who cares. My mother named me Florence after one of her sisters and always called me by my middle name, Joyce.  So, officially my name is Florence Joyce Fry Willard

More Contact

Dear Joyce,
I'm so excited to hear from you! 
We are first cousins, once removed.
Robert Ellsworth Fry was my great uncle. I never met him. I'm 56 years old, born in 1956 and he died in 1942 according to the records I've gathered.

Nellie Aletha Fry, Robert's sister, was my grandmother.
Nellie Aletha Fry, my grandmother
She died very young - I think she was 32 years old. Of course this means I never had the opportunity to meet her either. I'm still in contact with her daughter, Norma Green who lives in Santa Maria, California and is 82 years young.  She will be thrilled when I tell her that you contacted me. 

In that photo of you on the lawn, which child are you? I thought that the tall man in the back was Robert Fry. He looks just like the man on the horse.

Do you have other photos you can share with me? I'd love to see/have more photos of Robert Fry. I only have two photos of Wilma, your mother. These photos all came from my grandfather's collection of photos. My grandfather was Nellie's husband. (Thomas Slankard).
I have photos of Nellie too.

I was told by Aunt Norma Slankard Green that your father died young also and that there were some tragic circumstances around his death. I decided to do some research and found a couple of articles about the accident but found nothing about his actual death or the circumstances there of. 

Did you ever meet any of his sisters or brothers? If you are in the lawn photo, you met Nellie, my grandmother. 

As far as the photo date - 1916, that was my grandfather's guess. Before he died, he made sure to write on everything he owned so we'd know about the good ole days. It's very useful to have the information you sent about Wilma coming to California in 1925. I remember hearing that several of the brothers were butchers. And it's nice to find out they worked together at the A&P.

I probably have many more questions to ask you and would love to continue correspondence as long as you're willing. I have photos I can share of your grandfather and grandmother too unless you already have those. Also I have photos of a few of your great relatives, meaning great grandfather and great grandmother etc.

Write back when you can.

First Contact

Your mom, Joyce's first email to me:

My name is Joyce Fry Willard.  My father was Robert Elsworth Fry.  I have heard from a distant cousin you are trying to contact someone in his family.  I only had one sister, Jessie, and she is dead as well as my Mother, Wilma D. Striffler Fry who has also passed.    I would be pleased if you would tell me to whom you are related and in what way.  The picture of the family on the lawn has my mother, sister and I, but my father, Robert isn't included.  
Family gather Atascadero, SLO, CA abt 1925

She also mentioned a picture of my mother and father together in 1916, however my mother would have only been 12 years old that year.  She didn't go to California until around 1925.  She worked for the A&P as a bookkeeper and my father worked as a butcher at the same store.  They were married in 1930, so I'm thinking 1916 may have been a typo, or a picture of someone else with my father.   
I didn't receive the picture that Melinda Strong mentioned of my father on a horse, but I too have that picture. 
Please send me an email and we will start a conversation, if that is what you would like.  If you would rather not continue the relationship, please let me know, so I won't be waiting with baited breath for info from you.
Thank you,
Third Cousin(?) Joyce