Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Special Birthday # 102 - Happy Birthday Laurel Lyndon Evelyn

Meet Laurel Lyndon Evelyn, born April 24, 1913 in Minatare, Nebraska. This picture of him was when he was age 47.  It was taken in December 1950 when he married my mother, Dorothy Cary Craig.  I was age 15 and my brother was age 11.  Laurel came into our lives at a time that we needed a father, or perhaps even more, needed a friend.  

My mother, brother and I had been alone for about three or four years since our parents divorced.  At times things were pretty tough for us. Mom had a hard time supporting us, but she always managed somehow. When she met Laurel it was a wonderful change in our lives.  Mainly because our mother was happy, and that makes kids feel good as well.  I had never had the feeling that I was worth much prior to meeting Laurel. He loved me and David and kids bloom when they are in that type of environment. 

Shortly after their marriage, Laurel moved us to a two bedroom basement apartment on Avenue A in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  It was a nice home and I had my own bedroom for the first time in my life.  I couldn't believe it when Laurel told my mom to take me to DeMaranville Furniture and let me pick out the furniture for my bedroom.  We went to the store and I picked out my bed and dresser and various other pieces of furniture.  It was like a dream come true to have someone care that much about me.  To say Laurel was generous is the understatement of the year!  

He also insisted that David and I get our eyes and teeth checked.  Another new experience.  There never was money before for that kind of care.  Going to the doctor was a rare occasion, and usually only when the school insisted on a physical examination for entering school.  David and I both always knew we had to stay well.  There was no other option, maybe in the long run that was a good thing, psychologically.  

I remember the day Laurel handed me a twenty dollar bill. Twenty dollars in 1950/1951 was a lot of money.  Especially to a teenager.  He said I should go to town and buy an outfit.  What ever I wanted to spend it on was up to me.  Oh my goodness, I thought about that for quite awhile and I bought a Seventeen magazine to study all of the latest fashions.  I wanted to make the most of this chance of a lifetime.  Finally, I walked downtown and went in to Cheatum's. Cheatum's was the premiere dress shop in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  I finally settled on a dark green skirt and a pastel green angora sweater.  Angora sweaters were the new rage in teen clothes.  They were furry, cozy looking, and felt so good when worn.  I haven't seen an angora sweater for years!

The gift Laurel Evelyn gave to me and my family was love and caring.  I will be forever grateful for this, and the fact that he came into our lives.  Maybe the greatest gift to David and me, was that he loved our mother.  I believe this is the greatest gift to childen, then and now.  Children then are free of worry about their mother, and can grow. 

Laurel died on May 7, 1967 in Rapid City, South Dakota. During the seventeen years he was in my life, many things happened.  I met Richard Meier and we married.  Laurel gave us $100 for our expenses on our honeymoon.  Which, by the way, covered everything for a week in Denver and we had some left over.  I had my two daughters, and named my youngest one Laurel.  Jobs were found and jobs were lost, houses were bought and houses were sold.  David graduated from College and married, then moved to California. Ordinary family events and we were a family through it all.  

I can still remember when he wouldn't believe me when I said, "Oh I can't dance, I'll never learn to dance."  He said, "Come on, you are going to learn to dance."  We were at the Saddle Club having a family celebration dinner and he led me to the dance floor and told me, "Relax and close your eyes. Just follow me."  What a good feeling that was to have a strong person in charge and gliding so easily across the dance floor. It was like a miracle, and I will never forget that feeling of, "I can do it."

Laurel was always the one person I could count on, Right or wrong I knew he would back me in what ever I decided to do.  It is rare to have a person in our lives like that.  So today I say "Happy Birthday Laurel Evelyn. Thank you for coming into my life at exactly the right time. I wouldn't have missed it for anything."  Patj April 2015

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