Judy Anderson's Mother and Father
Robert and Ellen McClaughry Jones, Part 4

February 16, 2010, from interviews, summer 2009

- Susan Freis Falknor

Contents

Over a Century...
Family Stories
School Days
Bob & Ellen Jones
Judy & Bud
From Judy's Attic

Judy. These portraits are my mom and dad-- not together, obviously -- but when they were little.

Left: Robert Jones as a toddler; right: Ellen McClaughry at 1 year.

And I was just kinda fascinated to see that they took him to D.C. to have his pictures made. Isn't that nice to have buttons on the side like that?

But Dad had polio as a child. He never talked about it. One leg was just about this big. And it was a very serious thing at the time. I don't know how old he was. My grandmother took him into DC all the time to have him treated.

But he farmed anyway. I mean, he suffered, he had pain, had his hip replaced later in life. Also he was pretty spoiled. He was the only child, he was sick. Everybody did everything for him. Then when he married my mom she did everything for him. Then she had her stroke and couldn't do for him and he just went completely downhill. He didn't last very long.

Pearl Jones saved some of her son Robert's report cards from second grade. Children seem to have participated in the ritual of getting mother to sign the report card monthly. The report forms are interesting for the advice to parents and to children. As a second-grade pupil, Robert Jones is given some rather grown-up advi ce:

1. "Be clean in person, dress, habits, thought and speech.
2. Be dutiful, polite, and respectful to parents, teacher and all whom you meet.
3. Strive to build up a good character and your reputation will take care of itself.
4. Be earnest in play in the time for play and equally earnest in work in the time for work.
5. Cultivate promptness energy and patient industry. They are worth more than money or influence in securing success in life.
6. Finally, be curteous, obedient, thoughtful, carnest, attentive, studious and industrious,if you would win the highest esteem of your teachers,parents, and the general public."

As part of the "boilerplate" on these monthly reports, parents putting down their signature are advised that "...the teacher and parent must co-operate with each other in securing the interest, regular attendance, excellent deportment, and proper efforts of the pupil."

The year end report for 1919 sees Robert with good grades, good deportment, no days absent, no half days absent, and promoted to the third grade.

About my mom and dad -- how do you describe them without sounding like you are bragging?

My mom was the oldest of 7 children and grew up in Pine Grove. She was perhaps the most generous person I have ever known. We always had a houseful and everyone was fed well. She could open her refrigerator and literally make a meal out of leftovers -- a little bit of this, a little of that -- and she was a great cook.

Our home was pretty much an "open house" all the time. We had people staying there from time-to-time from the 1940's. There was a Mr. Ellmore and J. B. Throckmorton that I remember. In the 1950s we had three of my cousins living with us and finishing school. After I was married and gone, there were 2 young men who found a home with her. We always were open to friends coming and staying as long as they wished. This was especially true of the 12 grandchildren who loved to come to Grandma & Grandad's where they could help cook, regardless of the mess, and they brought friends with them as well to spend weekends.

There wasn't a friend, neighbor or stranger who my parents wouldn't help in any way they could. "Granny" Jones was great too, and spent lots of time darning socks and making sure everyone had what they needed for their day at school and even at college.
Both my parents were hard-working with the Post Office jobs and the two farms to run. They had cattle and hogs and butchered hogs here on our farm.

My mom spent hours after working all day making lard, canning and making every kind of jelly and jam. Dad learned curing hams from his grandfather and his sugar-cured hams hung in the meathouse here at our place. They were delicious, as well as the sausage he made.

My dad retired in 1976, but my mom was still the postmaster in November, 1983 when she had a major stroke. She was paralyzed on the right side and had speech difficulties and was confined to a wheelchair for 15 years following the stroke. My dad had a stroke in December 1983 and we had 24-hour care provided in their home. I had just started my job at Farm Credit in November and had to juggle their care, a new job and my family. It was the busiest, most stressful time of my life. My dad passed away in 1986 and we sold the Bluemont home and moved my mom in with us. In 1987 we built an addition on our house for Mom. We also sold some farmland to provide for her expenses. A few years later we had to find a home providing more care.

But I would pick her up every weekend and as soon as we got close to the Shenandoah Bridge, she would say "Home, Home." She passed away in May 1998.

I used to ride with my Dad on the mail route sometimes on Saturday-which may have been illegal even then. But the mail route, you would not believe how different back it was then. I was probably 9 or 10 years old I guess, maybe a little bit older.

Back then, people waited at the mailbox for the mailman.

Susan. Really.

Judy. Remember, you didn't have any television, and they kind of waited there to catch up on things. We'd drive out through Bloomfield and we'd see them standing by the box. It would take my Dad a long time to get the mail delivered, believe me.

A couple interesting things that happened. There was one lady whose house we had to go by twice. I won't mention her name because she still probably has some family here. But Dad would just kind of moan, because we had to go by her mailbox twice, and some days she would stop him coming and going.

She couldn't read, and he would have to read the mail from her son to her. Sometimes she would bring pop bottles when we would go by. She'd stop us and ask him to take it to the store, because you got 2 cents a piece for 'em, and bring her the money the next day. And sometimes he'd pick up chicken feed for her and bring it by when he delivered the mail.

It was a whole different world.

At one time up on 601. (this was later, I wasn't with him. It was a story that he would tell at different times.) How things have changed. One day he stopped at a mailbox up there and heard a ticking sound. He opened it and there was a clock. Now in today's world you would think somebody put a bomb in there -- right -- But it was a clock. And a note: "Mr. Jones, our electricity has been out and we don't know what time it is. We've lost track. The clock ran down, so would you please set the time?" Can you imagine, you don't know what time it is?

With all this going on, Dad had been, I guess you would say, criticized by the Postal Department about how slowly he delivered the mail. He retired in 1976. Soon one of the patrons wrote a letter. "The mail is coming a lot faster now that Robert Jones isn't carrying it.

However, we're not getting our mail-we're getting other people's mail. At least when he got there we had our right mail." So he was very popular on his mail route.

Susan. That's funny.

Robert Jones later made the Loudoun Mirror July 31, 1980 when, walking around the farm with his grandsons, he killed a huge rattlesnake: "Bluemonter Kills Rattlesnake - "I Whopped it with my Cane" (story left).

Snapshot of Robert Jones showing off the skin of the rattler he killed(right).

Judy. I grew up in the post office, because my mom and dad worked there. Baby chicks would come in. And when people didn't pick 'em up we'd bring 'em to the house, next day take 'em back to the post office. Or maybe they'd pick 'em up at the house.

 

This is my Mom and Dad's marriage certificate, and a picture taken at their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1983.

My mother lived 15 years in a wheelchair. She was Ellen McClaughry Jones and she was the postmaster. My dad was a rural mail carrier.

 

Written on the back of
Golden Anniversary photo (center)
:

"Mr. & Mrs. Robert Jones
07-31-83
50th wedding anniversary

Parents of:
Carroll Allen Jones
Robert V. Jones, Jr.
Judy Jones Anderson"

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