Saturday, June 9, 2012

I Remember Dad and Many Others by Edna Ruth Mitchem (my aunt)

Today is the Bday of my Dad Floyd Farley. He was born in 1905. Dad would've been 107 yrs old had he lived. He died of a massive heart attack 9-11-69 @ the age of 64. May he R.I.P. When growing up this day, was always a big ocassion. It meant a big dinner for family & friends, outside with all of Dad's friends from down-town Logan invited up on the farm, 15 miles south of Logan. Mom would have tables set up out in under the huge maple tree in our front yard. The farm was located @ the foot of Mountain View Inn, on the Logan side on route 119 then, Rt 44 now. We moved there the summer that I went into the 4th grade @ Omar. One yr, I remember Mom bought dresses for her & us 3 girls alike for the event. They were a small black & white check with red trim. We all wore aprons, & helped carry the food outside to the tables. I remember some of the guest were Carson Browning, his wife, & secretary. The reason they stood out in my memories was they would bring big trucks with their horses. I'd watch them saddle up. Their clothing was different. They wore riding clothing like in the old-time movies. The riding pants fit real loose in the thigh area & tight on the lower leg. They would eat, & ride horses up Bannister Holler that went up by our house. Dad had a lease that was 365 acres that he leased from US Steel for $15.00/yr. Other guest was Carson's brother, John R. Browning. He was a preacher & a politician. My Dad's job was political. He was a police officer for 16yrs under Ray Watts, Okey Justice, & Grover Combs to mention 3 of the Sheriff's. Dad was a Deputy Sheriff. All of the officers & their families were invited. I also remember Mr & Mrs Harris that owned the funeral home in Logan, now known as Honaker. It used to be the Harris Funeral Home. The McCormick's of The McCormick's Store that is still in Logan. Nick from the Greek Resturant that we had in Logan by the same name, Nick's. I know there was a Afro American preacher that lived up Crystal Block holler that always said the Blessing's @ the dinners, a friend of ours. We called him colored. That was the proper term to call people of color in those days. We have always had friends of color even before segregation. They lived in their coal camps, had their own schools, & churches. They sat in the balconey in the movie theatre, went to the back part of the Omar Y to eat, but @ lunch time the school kids ate in the back of the "Y" also.

Another strange occurance I remember. When my Dad was a police officer he would take prisoners to Moundsville. When he took males, he would take my Uncle Bernie Saunders, my Mom's 1/2 brother, & Mom's sister Edna when he took female prisoners. His car wasn't equipped to transport prisoners like they are now. Infact, they drove their own personal cars. The only way you could tell it was a police car was the large antenna on the backs of their cars. There was not a light or any markings. Dad did have a siren & a CB. Dad's call letters were: KA6967. I was told his car was souped up, that I'm not sure, but it sure did move when I'd provoked people into racing me, when I was driving. LOL Back to my story. Dad was on his way back from Moundville where he had taken male prisoners & therefore had Bernie with him. Bernie spotted Mom's Dad sitting on a porch. He told my Dad, "Floyd that's Mike back there sitting on that porch." Dad ask, "Are you sure Bernie?" Bernie assured Dad by saying, "I'm positive." Bernie was 12yrs old when Mom's Dad disappeared. Mom was 3yrs old & was always told he was killed in the coal mines. Edna Mom's sister was 1yr old. Dad went back to the house. My dad was 6ft 4 inches tall, a big man in a uniform. He approached the short man asking, "are you Mike Mondah?" The man shook his head No. Dad ask, "Do you have a daughter named Ann?" He shook his head No again. Bernie spoke up saying, "Mike I know that's you, I'm Bernie & I know that's you." Dad had gotten Mom's photograph out of his billfold & handed it to him, & ask again, "are you sure you don't know her, this is Ann?" He took the pic & placed it on his chest & began to cry, saying over & over "My Anna, My Anna." He didn't pronounce Anna the way we do. Mom always went by her Mothers maiden name Saunders, as did Bernie. Mom went by Ann instead of Anna. Seems my Grandpa had come to the US in 1919 from Yugoslavia & worked in the coal mines during the mining wars in WV. He got scared in a new country & ran off, leaving people to think he had been killed in the mines. Mom was born in 1920 just 1yr after he come to this country. Dad called Mom & told her what happened. Mom called Edna & told her & they began to make plans right away to go see their Dad, in Rivesville Wv up near the Pennsylvania line. Mom & Edna's Mom died durng child-birth when Mom was 7 & Edna was 5. They were raised as orphans. Mom was a Mother figure to Edna. The Big Day finally came, Mom & Edna went to see their Dad for the 1st time. Little did they know, there was another surprise yet in store for them. Mike Mondah they thought was Mike Mandish. He told them he was NOT Edna's father. You know the 2 brothers I told you abt that came to my Dad's Bday party, Carson & John R. Browning, well..........seems they have another brother called Dewey Browning, that is Edna's Dad. To make a long story short, Edna re-united with Dewey & they added many yrs of joy to both of their lives. He used to come to the Mtchem/Farley Reunions I had on Thanksgiving Day for yrs, up @ the Scout Hall @ Omar, till it burned down. Dewey & Don loved playing checkers together. They were both very good players. Mike Mom's Dad, had married a woman with 5 children, but my Mom was his 1 & only child. He continued to live up near his step children, but did come to visit us for a wk @ a time. We visited him a few times. Mom was 32yrs old when Dad & Bernie found Grandpa. He bought me & Don the 1st electric skillet , I'd ever seen for a wedding gift when we got married in 1957. He died in the mid 60's.

My Aunt Edna

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