Today, I’m going to skip over to the Richey/Shirley side of my family. I want to talk about my maternal grandmother, Myrtle Shirley Richey, who passed away on this day in 1995.
Myrtle Shirley was born on April 20, 1906 to Franklin Harrison Shirley and Sarah R. D. Hall Shirley. She married Hiram Thomas Richey on September 12, 1931 at the age of 25. The couple had three children; 2 girls and 1 boy, all still living.
My mother is the youngest.
I have written a lot about my maternal grandmother on my blog, so forgive me if I repeat something in this post.
My maternal grandmother was a grand lady. She tried very hard to keep up with the fashion of the day; every hair had to be in place and she wore beautiful jewelry, not rings so much, but she had to have her necklaces and earrings. She wore those clip-on earrings that hurt so bad, your ears would become numb. Even when ear piercing came along, she stuck with her clip-ons.
Notice the gloves.
Taken in 1956
She was soft, warm, and kindly. I loved nothing better than cuddling with her. She didn’t have much educational training, but self-taught herself. She was an avid reader and her dictionary was never far from her reach.
My maternal grandfather was a Reverend and pastored several churches during his life. Being a preacher’s wife, my grandmother conducted herself as such. She usually sat on the second bench and kept her head turned forward. She thought it was the greatest sin for people to turn around and look every time the church door opened admitting someone new.
She sang beautifully, but other than that, she didn’t show much emotion in church, or anywhere in public. Our church was one of the few that still participated in hosting the old-time music lessons for a week or two during the summer. I can’t remember exactly what they were called, but I got to attend several of them with my grandmother. She knew her music, she could read music, and beat time to music right along with the best of them.
My grandmother could cook too. My favorites were her chicken and dumplings, pound cake, and a no-bake fruit cake that she would make every Christmas. I carried on that tradition for a long time, but my daughters and granddaughters never took to it like I did, so when I became a diabetic I just stopped making it. It makes me sad to know that no one in the family will carry on that tradition.
However, my oldest daughter inherited my grandmother’s obsession with words, pronunciations, and their meanings. I have to smile every time she corrects my pronunciation of a word.
I remember spending a lot of time with my grandmother’s brothers and sisters and all their children, as I was growing-up. She didn’t speak much about her mama, who was a Hall, and I don’t remember spending much time with that side of the family, although most of them lived close-by.
My great-grandmother, Delilah Hall, passed away in 1944 at the age of 72. I haven’t been able to find much on her side of the family. My great-grandfather, Franklin Harrison Shirley passed away shortly after my birth. I have found a lot on the Shirley side of the family, but I’m not sure that it is 100% accurate. If what I do have is correct, I have the Shirley’s traced back to my 11th great-grandfather, Thomas Shurley, born: 1516 in Sussex, England, died: 1579 in Sussex, England. I have a lot of work to do to confirm this.
My grandmother is in the middle of the front row.
The loss of my maternal grandmother was devastating. I had been lucky enough to have grown-up with all four of my grandparents and Myrtle Shirley Richey was the first loss of a grandparent for me. I was 36-years-old.