Tuesday, May 8, 2012


( I must say that Dad did not always wear a beard.  This was grown for a contest he entered)

Memories that I have of my Dad:  Dick as he was called by most of the adults who knew him, was 5'7" tall. He had dark brown hair and hazel eyes.  He was a soft spoken man and slow to anger.  He loved hillbilly music or mountain music as it was sometimes called.  His musical ability came from what he was able to teach himself.  He could play the piano, mouth harp (harmonica) and "jaws" harp.  These he played by "ear".  I sometimes think that he knew the words to all the old songs and the new ones as well.  I remember his favorite hymn as being Rock of Ages.  After we got a radio he enjoyed listening to broadcasts of "Fibber Magee and Mollie", "The Bell Telephone Hour", and the "Grand Ole Opry".  When these programs came on, the kids were instructed to "sit down and shut up or leave the room."  He also told us funny Mother Goose rhymes such as Mary had a little lamb, her father shot him dead, now Mary takes that lamb to school, between 2 slabs of bread or Mary had a little lamb, his foot was black as soot, and everywhere that Mary went, he put his sooty foot and Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get her daughter a dress but when she got there the cupboard was bare and so was her daughter---I guess.
   Dad had many occupations during his life time including farming, road construction and as a laborer for the WPA.  His road construction started with building roads and railroads using horse drawn equipment and progressed to the hugh road machines that one sees today.  During the Depression years, Dad would find work where ever he could.  I recall hearing that he was picking potatoes in Scottsbluff, NE.  and other times he would be helping in the hay fields around Lexington, NE.  He always tried his best to provide for his family.  Looking back I can realize how difficult it was for him and Mom during the Depression days but, as a kid living through it, it didn't seem so bad.  I always had food and clothes and all the other kids had the same so I didn't know we were poor.  I know that for me it seemed that he was not around much but whenever we were quarteened with some disease or another; he was always there to help out.      

This was the Ellis Family in the early 1940's
Starting at left was me, my sister Virginia Lou (Peg), James Merlin, My Mother seated (Doris), My Dad (Dick), and Leland Ward (Bill) 

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