Friday, June 16, 2017

My Father

George Elmore Rogers, Jr.

I was so loved by him, and I loved him in return, always trying to be his "good girl."
I really don't remember him ever disapproving of me, or saying no.  He would just say, you have to check with your mother on that.

What have I not yet shared about his life? (After all he lived a lot of it without me around!)

 All the people around him usually had positive things to say about him, and would smile and joke with him, as I remember.

Above was a photo of our Studebaker besides our first house we owned in St. Ann, MO, probably around 1956.  My parents had owned a home in Dallas, TX and Houston TX before we moved to St. Louis, MO where lived in apartments for the first 7 years there.

My dad was an accountant, and a devoted Christian Scientist who didn't go to church much.
   
His father had been a bookkeeper before him.  I guess that's why I always felt pretty secure about math.

Chauncey, Zulie, Alex, and George, Kansas City, Mo 1918  George was 4 as they visited their mother's sister's family.  Zulie was a cousin while Chauncey and Alex were his older brothers.

December, 1921, George in sailor suit at age 7, Chauncey sitting next to him with Alex in the back.


James (baby in this photo) had been born in January of 1922, and Ada Rogers ("me") and standing behind on porch was George wearing something on his head.  This house burned before they built a new one out of brick which was photographed in 1927 (see below).  They lived in the garage while Poppy built the new home and probably worked his full time job as well in the packing company in Fort Worth, TX.


12/26/36 Junior (George E. Rogers Jr.) at Dumble's ranch

My father's parents, George (Sr.) and Ada Rogers had married at the home of the bride's parents in Galveston, Texas, They resided in Galveston in the home built by George Sr. until 1918, at which time they moved to Meadowbrook Drive in Fort Worth, Texas, where he was employed by the Fort Worth Packing Company as office manager. This began a friendship with the company Manager, Norman Dumble that lasted twenty-five years.  They would go hunting on his ranch (as in photo above.)

Poppy (George Sr.) on l, Chauncey in rear, Alex, and George Jr. on r. 
His father had been 37 when George Jr. was born. Very few photos exist where Poppy didn't look old, but he certainly was an active father all his life.

He never saw a doctor in his life.  His family called him Junior all his life.

I remember how when he'd retired from the Mother Church (of Christ Scientist in Boston, MA) and moved to Houston again, he worked part time in an Ace Hardware store.  Most of my information came through letters from my mom.  He apparently had trouble with his feet working in the store, and I suggested one of those foot-baths...which weren't at all medical.  I don't know if he ever used it.

I wasn't able to go see him in his last months, and was sorry in many ways.  But also I was unable to move beyond the strictness of the CS taboos which I'd had trouble coping with during my grandmother, Ada's, last illness and death.  She was also a Christian Scientist who refused medical treatment, and I wasn't able to deal with her groaning in pain for hours on end.  I am not good with other people's pain.

And my mother had always been the gatekeeper of information, which she slowly designated my sister to do...and that was not a good thing.  I got mis-information as much as truth as far as their conditions.  I'd been given sunny reports for months, and then someone else would let me know that he was dying.  Then I'd get another letter saying "they don't want you there."  This was probably because I'd want to push them to get help in a medical way.  They knew me by then.  I am just what I am.

So when he was leaving this life 32 years ago - I only had to imagine it, and several months later when I had finished whatever graduate-school work I was involved in, I went out to Houston from FL (after being invited,) and mother gave me a lot of his junk.  My sister had already gone through it and taken much of the good (ie. working tools) things, so I got a lot of baby food jars full of screws and nails. Today the remaining screws are still in my own toolbox (but the baby-food jars are now gone.)  I also still have the sweater I'd given him the Christmas before his death in January, which he probably never wore.  I still wear it sometimes to remember him.

I took the bus to Houston after he died, because he'd left the car to me...an older Pontiac sedan, which had supposedly been checked over by my sister's mechanic, but had been sitting in the garage for a few months. My mom was effectively blind with cataracts untreated at this time.

I started home to FL and got on the bridge over the bayou near Louisiana and had a tire blow-out, and no idea how to jack up the car, or change a tire...while semi's were zooming past about 2 feet away from me (no shoulder to speak of, and of course it was driver's side rear tire.)  Some kid stopped and helped me change it, and I went and bought tires in the next city.

 OK, I'd better quit.  I've still got stories to tell obviously!  Sharing this with Sepia Saturday this week, because I finally have real sepia toned photos to share.


7 comments:

  1. I smiled at your father's comment "You have to check with your mother on that." My Dad would simply say he and Mom would talk it over and when their decision came, even if I was disappointed with it, I knew it was a unified one and therefore, fair. The Christian Science religion has always baffled me because I'm a firm believer in "God helps those who help themselves". But when someone truly believes what they believe, I guess you need to respect that no matter how frustrating, difficult, or sad it may be.

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  2. I just found Sepia Saturday and am looking forward to next week already. Black n white photos take me back to my childhood and wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing yours.

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  3. This started off a pretty sunny post but by the end I was feeling pretty gloomy. The illnesses must have been very difficult to handle when you did not hold the same no medical treatment beliefs. It would have been for me.And the car! Glad the kid stopped and helped you change that tire.

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  4. Love your photos - and that brick house. Fantastic roof line. I agree with Kristin about the frustration of dealing with deeply held beliefs that conflict with your own. There is something admirable about such a strong faith that won't bend even in pain, yet I'd still be wondering why. But I had to laugh too at your dad's comment to ask your mother. When my younger daughter was little, she drew a picture of her dad with a thought bubble saying, "Go ask your mother." I've kept it and have always meant to frame it.

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  5. A wonderful way to open your post this week and a great tribute to your father. Thanks for sharing your sepia shots and your memories.

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  6. We have CS'es in our family too. It has been very frustrating. I have some of my grandfathers tool which I treasure.

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  7. Photos only tell a small part of a family's story. Personal memories add real dimensions of time and space.

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