Dee Etta Harrold Great Grandmother
Birth 31 Aug 1875 in Nelsonville, Athens, Ohio, USA
Death 11 Mar 1948 in Nelsonville, Athens, Ohio, USA
Grandma Dee Memories by Ruth Morris Blimes
I have a letter written to Almyra by Arthur written on a typewriter with the help of his father. I also have a letter written by Al to Dee when she was very sick and he was working away at the time. He told her he would die if anything happened to her.
Alas, when he was working in Terre Haute, Ind. he ran off with another man's wife, so something must have happened to dampen his ardor. The husband caught them and had them thrown in jail. Dee went to see him and he promised he would always take care of her and the children if she would just get him out of jail. I don't know how much later it was, but he disappeared and she never heard from him again until about thirty years later when he tried to cut off her army pension by divorcing her. This tracked him to the Denver area and she went out there on the train and put a stop to that. Whether she saw him then or not, I don't know. But she always referred to him as that "devil Al" and tried to pay me a quarter a week if I would ditch Bill when we were dating since both he and Al were born in November.
She lived in the other side of the house on High Street and became a hermit in the winter time. She had a cat and once in a while we would hear it screeching and howling on the other side of the house. I thought she was mean to it because she had a temper (which she did), but we found out that Uncle Jim and Windy Davis were bringing her a bottle of booze, and when she had too many hot toddies, she would take it out on the poor cat. I don't pretend to judge her, but many people have a lot of adversities. She just didn't handle hers too well. Clarence Scott said the devil himself couldn't live with Dee Goodspeed, and I am inclined to agree with him.! Although she was a hermit from the first cold day of fall, she came out with the spring flowers. She was a walker. I remember that she used to take her basket of Watkins products (like lemon flavoring, vanilla, & misc. small articles to sell) and walk all over town.
She knew everyone in town since she had lived there all her life.! Her friends said she could give the most beautiful prayers you ever heard. I know she attended the Christian Church when she was younger, but I don't remember her going as I was growing up. It was said that she attended every church in town and I believe it. She took me down the hill from our house to a revival meeting when I growing up and it was a memorable experience. The Apostolic Church was a little wooden building. It had a long zinc tub in the front corner of the building for baptisms. After some preaching, a goodly number of people jumped up and began to speak in tongues. As they progressed they rolled on the floor and screamed while the rest of the congregation sang songs. The whole building shook and I was terrified the floor would buckle with us in there, so she took me home. On hot summer nights as I got older we kids would go down there and watch in the windows. I feel ashamed of it now, because they were mostly poor people who were trying to find comfort and peace in their religion. She had some friends named Scott who lived up near the Catholic Church that she visited regularly. She used to attend séances at their house. I don't know whether she was trying to communicate with her dead son, Edwin, or whether she was trying to get in touch with Al. Maybe a bit of both. Their son, Sheldon Scott, was the best friend of Edwin. They grew up together and shared many hair raising adventures.
She was a staunch Republican. She electioneered for a U.S. Congressman named Thomas Jenkins. He used to come and sit on our front porch swing and talk to her and one time, as I remember, he gave each of us a quarter. When our family took their first trip to Washington, we had our pictures taken with him on the Capitol steps. She used to have us come over before Christmas and go through the Sears catalog and tell her what we wanted from her for Christmas. As I recall we never received anything from her, but it was exciting to shop in the expectation of getting something that year. During the depression, no one got much for Christmas because no one had much money. She and Mom never got along while I was growing up. She never came over to our side of the house, and Mom never went over to her side. I don't know what happened. When I was married to Bill, Mom worked at the Library and she told me never to let Grandma Dee in while she wasn't there. One day Grandma Dee came over and wanted in and I told her I couldn't let her in. She went back to her house and got a broom and beat on the door and shouted to me to let her in. She obviously had been drinking and her face was red. It scared me and I called Bill at work and he came home and made her go away.
So you see a lot of my memories of her are not too charitable. But who knows, if I had lived her life, I might have kicked my cat too. She taught school up above Nelsonville. Walked every day. Mom remembers that she used to substitute for her when Grandma Dee was sick. She really didn't have an easy life. I think one reason she and Mom were estranged was that Dee thought that the house at 510 High St. was her house. It had been her home all her life, and now she was relegated to three rooms. After Henry died, Almyra moved up to her daughter, Hyla's, house on Poplar St. When Almyra died she willed her house on High Street to Aunt Hyla. Mom and Dad later bought the house from Aunt Hyla for the princely sum of $1200 at about $12 dollars a month. I think they finally paid it off when Dad got his WWI pension. These are some of my remembrances of my Grandma Dee. There were many times when she was very good to me, and there were times she wasn't. However, the good times outweigh the bad ones; I probably just don't remember them as well.