Our Family Chronicle Status Quo – 1979

Life is like a kaleidoscope, ever changing; as the years slip away, the older generation moves aside for the next. Of the fourteen children in Frank and Liza’s family, only one, Ruby Hornbeck, was still living in 1979. Out of the seven children that John and Estella Goodman raised in their sod house, three remained. Mary and Bob, the two oldest, were over eighty. Warren thought he was still young, he married again in his seventies. Of this family’s oldest generation, Ed Routh and Estella Goodman were the last to pass from the scene. Many, many more new members were born to take their place.

In 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea and the United States decided to aid the south in that war. Billy Routh, as well as Dwayne and Dale Goodman, spent time in the armed services of our country. Billy spent his time in Trieste, a disputed territory between Italy and Yugoslavia. This territory was occupied by the United Nations after the Second World War. Billy and Mavis Steward were married soon after he came home. They moved to Baldwin and he joined Ray in construction work there. They bought a large house in Baldwin, and raised their family there. They had two girls, Cheryl and Carol, and a son, Chris Edward. He joined the Navy when he grew up.

Lois and her husband, Obie, moved to Lawrence soon after their only son, Dale was born. They lived near Lawrence on a farm for many years. When they thought their family was complete, another girl was born in 1962, named June.

Junior, Luther and Alice’s son, married Waunita Davis and they had four babies, only two survived. These were girls named, Debra and Sharron. Junior bought a home in Dunnegan, Missouri, near the home of Luther and his third wife, Emma Jane.

Luther had married Emma Jane Powell, several years after Alice died. She was much younger than he was, and soon they had a family. His oldest children all said he would never live to see them grown. He was sixty years old then, he fooled them all. He saw both of the girls married. Orpha, the oldest, lived with Ray and Josephine for three years while she went to Baldwin High School. She married Dale Pickel. Their sons are named, James and Jeffery. Wilma, Luther’s youngest, married a boy named Jerry Blehm. They bought a house in Morrisville, Missouri.

While Ray and Josephine’s children were growing up, the Goodman family went through many changes. Dwayne joined the army and went to Japan during the occupation of that country after the war. When he came back, he entered Kansas University. While going to college there, he married Patsy Hughes. He later re-enlisted in the army and made a career of it. He and his wife had five children. Two sons, Francis and Cort, and three girls, Suzanne, Kimberly, and Venetta. Frank, as he was called by everyone, but the family, and Patsy divorced when their children were almost grown and they both remarried. Frank married a girl from Jordan, Ayesheh Battat, and they now have two children.

Dale joined the Air Force and served four years, part of that time in England. When he was again stationed in the States, he married a girl he grew up with, Barbara Brubeck. They went to school together. Dale worked for Phillips Petroleum Company in Kansas City for several years. They lived in Lawrence during part of that time. Their three children were born there. Bradley “Butch” was the oldest. The two girls were named Delila and Dianna. Dale was transferred to Bartlesville, Oklahoma and lived there many years

Roy and Florence moved their second family, as they called the four youngest, to Kansas City in the fifties. He worked on construction there. He and his old friend, Phil Meyers, formed their own company for awhile. Roy had rented his farm in the Ozarks, but it always seemed to be pulling them back. When Myrna and Shirley were married, Roy and Florence moved back to the farm.

Myrna married Leland “Bill” Wagoner. They had three children, Jeffrey, Jeanette and Janet. Myrna divorced Bill when the children were small, and she married Alvia Webb. He had a girl of his own, Scherry, but he adopted all of Myrna’s children. He raised them as his own. Alvia worked for Sears for many years. They lived in Kansas City for awhile, then moved to Lubbock, Texas.

Shirley and Robert Shatto were married about the same time, Their children were named, Yvonne, Allen and Kenneth. She also divorced and remarried. This husband’s name is Robert Hedges and they have a daughter, named Francis. Robert is in the moving business.

With only two children left to finish school, Roy and Florence set about fixing up the farm. They modernized it and put in a bath and water in the kitchen. Robert “Bobby” was then in the last year of high school. He married a girl named Sharron, after he graduated. This marriage did not last long. His next wife, Carol Denti, and he had three children, Clistina, Tanya and Thomas. This marriage also ended in divorce.

Pat finished high school as a married student. She married a boy from Humansville, Roy Scott. He was a farmer and they stayed on the farm, near Humansville, to raise their four children. children were, Johnny, Richard, Melissa and Randolph “Randy”.

After Pat married, Roy and Florence were left alone. Between the years, 1920 and 1962, they had raised eight children. For over forty-two years there had been a child in the house. Now, they did not know what to do with their time. Roy made a cover to fit his truck and they decided to do some traveling. They went to Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, One year, they traveled through Nebraska, and stopped at the old Bachelor ranch, it had new owners. They then drove through the Black Hills and on to Yellowstone Park. This was some of the same country they had traveled many years ago, following rodeos. That was the longest trip they made. They drove around the Ozarks fishing and sightseeing. One of their most enjoyable pastimes was fishing. Roy always pretended to be so mad when Florence caught the biggest ones. This couple had such a zest for living, it rubbed off on everyone they came in contact with. When their married children brought their families to visit, they all went home with uplifted spirits and a new lease on life. Roy and Florence loved to dance and went dancing, every chance they got. It was a treat to watch them dancing together. They moved with the grace and rhythm that comes from dancing together for fifty years.

Roy had lived an active life, as cowboy, blacksmith, construction worker, builder and brick mason. He built many beautiful fire places for people. He built a nice one for their house too. It was a shock to the family when his health began to fail when he was seventy-six. They sold their cattle when it became apparent he could no longer care for them. He hoped he would regain his strength, with enough rest.

Roy’s health did not improve, doctors diagnosed his illness as Parkinson’s Disease. This is a debilitating disease that gets progressively worse as time goes by. He proved, with Florence at his side, that you can not keep a Goodman down. Time after time, when he was unable to walk, with his courage and her determination, he was able to walk again. They sold the farm they loved so much, and bought a mobile home. They parked it in Caplinger Mills.

It is the nature of Parkinson’s that the patient can not sleep after the sun goes down. This is called sundown syndrome. When Roy could not sleep in the hospital, Florence and Josephine took turns sitting up with him. One night, as she sat by his side, listening to him telling stories of his life, Josephine realized that soon she would never hear these stories again. She wondered why such a kind gentle man had to suffer so. He was repeating the story of the only time he had ever spanked her.

“I was pitching horseshoes,” he said, “and I told you to quit throwing firecrackers at me. You sassed me and told me you didn’t have to. I took you over my knee and gave you a good spanking. Later, as I told your mother that it had hurt me more than it had you I cried.”

She had to smile a little, remembering that Fourth of July so long ago. She was holding his hand and she saw that he was asleep at last. The nurse came in and pulled the drapes open. It was morning the long night was over. Josephine took out her notebook and pencil and wrote down the stories he had told her that night.

Even courage and determination can not turn back the tides of time. Roy died on January 16, 1977, with his wife and daughter by his side. As Josephine stood looking down at her daddy, she wondered if there really is a life after death. If there was, she hoped this old cowboy would have many new adventures. Maybe, sometime and someplace, he would share them with her.

Florence lived alone after Roy’s death. She said that she never was really alone. She had her memories and all of her activities to keep her busy. She is looking forward to seeing her first great-great-grandchild. When she was seventy-six, she took a jet to visit her daughter in Texas. That was her first jet ride, but not the last. Florence often visits her sisters, Sarah, Arnetta and Eva, in Topeka. Her other sister, Myrtle and her brother, Harve have joined their parents in Mount Hope Cemetery there.

Luther, at age eighty-three, sits on his front porch in Dunnegan, and watches the traffic go by. He lived so many years in the backwoods that he never tires of seeing the cars go by. His son, Ray, noticing that he was not wearing his new dentures, asked him, “Where are your new teeth, Dad?”

“I put them up on the shelf,” Luther answered, “I want to keep them so I will have new teeth when I get old.”

Seven miles west of Humansville, Missouri, at the top of Turkey Creek hill, only a jumble of rotten logs remain of the log house Ed Routh built and lived in most of his adult life. He lived many years after his beloved Rhoda died. In early spring 1959, he told his grandson, Ray, that he had saved up enough money to pay his burial expenses. He said he wanted a headstone just like the one he put on Rhoda’s grave. In April, saying he had lived a good, long life and he was ready to die, he took to his bed and died a week later. He was eighty-eight years and eleven months old.

A short walk down the dim path going west is the site of the log house Luther and Ray built, the nice, clean, new house Lessie was so proud of. This house burned to the ground in 1942, reducing to ashes all the mementos and keepsakes of her the family held dear. The long wavy swatch of jet black hair, saved when she cut it when short hair for women came into fashion, the organ she was so proud of and never lived long enough to teach her daughters to play, also the baby picture of Ray, sitting in a chair, showing his chubby face and the long lacy dress reaching to the floor, were all gone forever.

Several miles north, across highway N, is forty acres of woods, mostly silent now, with echoes of the happy laughter of many children. If one looks carefully, a cement slab might be found among the trees. This is all that is left of the home Roy and Florence built to shelter their family during the depression of the thirties. This cabin saw the birth of their three youngest children. Their oldest grandson, Roy Edward Routh, fought and won his battle for life there. He was named after his Grandfather, Roy, and his great-grandfather, Edward. On the hill, a short way from the cabin site the whip-or-wills still call in the evening, Just as they did so many years ago, when Ray and Josephine sat and talked of their future together.

Out on the prairie, in Western Kansas, north of the old ghost town of Ravanna, only a small hump of earth covered grass, marks the spot where John Goodman built his sod house on his homestead. The home where Roy spent his childhood learning about ranch life. At “Curiosity Hollow” other couples might still have picnics, as young lovers do, just as Roy and Florence did in 1919, starting a life together that lasted over fifty-seven years.

In Douglas County, Kansas, Clinton Lake covers the spot where The “Belle of Richland” was born. The farm Joseph and Sarah Blocher settled on, after their long journey from Ohio on the steamboat, is also under the waters of that lake. In Topeka, the large house that was the “Showplace of Topeka” in the 1890’s, the house Josephine remembered so well, was torn down to make way for a shopping center. It was sold after Grandma Blocher passed away in 1958.

Sometimes, when Josephine is out walking alone, she seems to hear the swish of corduroy behind her. She looks around, half expecting, to see a little short haired tomboy in knickerbockers, following her. That girl is just a memory of the past, however, she now has six grandchildren of her own.

Near Stockton Missouri, if one looks south of the dam at Stockton Lake; one can see an island in the distance. This island called Edge Island, and is all that remains of the farm Ray and Josephine worked so hard on, sharecropping for three years. The farm buildings as well as the prairie Valley schoolhouse where Roy and Dorothy started school, are all under the waters of the lake. As these people moved across the stage of life, they did not know they were developing a great country. They just lived their lives the best way they knew how, to have a place to call their own. Whether they were soldiers, clerics, planters, carpenters, merchants, ranchers, homesteaders, cowboys, hill farmers, blacksmiths, teachers, or construction workers, they all played their part in the history of these United States. Most of all, the pioneer women, working beside their men, and holding the homeland families together, should be remembered. They did this task without any of the luxuries that we have today, and call necessities. We can only guess about the hardships and heartaches she had to endure. The descendants of these brave people carry in their genes the same adventuresome spirit and courage their ancestors had. When man finds a way to colonize the frontiers of space, you can rest assured there will be some Rouths and Goodmans among that number. No one can guess what the future will bring for them. They will continue to play a part in building this great country, and the rest of the world. Of that you can be sure.


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