Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Richard Duane Thomas, 3rd husband of Yvonne Mary Genson-Robison-Still

When I was almost nine, my mother married for the third time, to a wonderful man, she had grown up with, in the Snoqualmie Valley. In fact, she was best friends with his younger sister, Donna, and as Dad told me years later, he had, had a crush on my mother, from before he was in high school, but that she wouldn't give him the time of day.

Well at least one persons dreams, came true in this photo, that is for sure.

They were married September 5, 1968. She wore a lovely blue satin dress, which she made herself, with the help of her mother, if I remember correctly. They were married out at his folks, near Moon Valley, in Snoqualmie, at the foot of Mt. Si. It was a nice ceremony, and what I remember of it, was that we children were ordered, to stay out from under foot. That and Rich had a white station wagon, that somebody nearly ruined by writing, just married in red lipstick all over it, which later, wouldn't come completely out of the paint. This really made dad pretty steamed, tho he was outwardly calm about it.
I could write volumes about Richard, for he was the first father I ever knew, and was the gentlest of souls. Tho, I thought he must have really loved my mother, because you would have to be half mad, to marry a woman with six kids. He had never been married before, yet he loved us kids, and was the best father you could ask for.

This is all I have as a reminder, of their first born child. Andrew Richard Thomas. I was not quite eleven years old, when he was born I remember that sweet babies birth, and I remember when mom brought him home, to the house on the upper Cedar Falls Rd. known as the old, "Sample's", place, because Richard had bought it for his new bride and her large brood.

I remember helping to bath this darling boy, and I also remember doing diaper duty, and that nasty bucket that held his cloth diapers, beside the sink in the bathroom.

He was a happy little baby, with the cutest little dimple in his chin, just like his father, as well as his blue eyes.
Trouble came, whenever he attempted to cry. He turned blue and passed out. Sadly it was found by the doctors, that he had a defect, that was obstructing one of his lungs ,and prohibiting its inflation. He was taken to a hospital in Seattle, and operated on. He did not survive this ordeal and passed away in the hospital. He was just a few days shy of three months old.

Update: The above three pictures, were sent to me, by the kind auspices of a relative, who had saved them from destruction, by our mother. These pictures were taken at the Snoqualmie Valley Funeral Chapel, North Bend, Washington. They were taken by his father, Richard.

I shall never forget, the day my baby brother died. We children had been sent to school, as if everything was normal. We were called into the Principal's office, and baldly told the news, that our baby brother was dead. My siblings burst into tears, and were immediately comforted by the teachers, that had come in with us. I was so stunned, I couldn't shed a tear, and I stood in the center of the room, thinking, why doesn't someone hug me?! Instead, the Principal said, we could be taken home, or we could stay there at school, until family came and got us. I told him we would stay, because all I could think of, was our empty house, and how our brother wouldn't be there, and I just couldn't face it. So we stayed, and I do not remember how we ever got through the rest of that school day?! Andy had been such, the delight of us all.

I was never to see my baby brother again. We children, were not allowed to get out of the car, at the funeral parlor, and were not even allowed to attend his funeral, a fact which I carried, as a sore spot in my heart, for many a year.  He was buried at the feet of his grandmother, Gladys Shinn-Thomas, Richards mother, who had tragically passed away, just four short months, after their marriage.

Update: I came across this picture that Donna, Richards sister, gave to me, of Richard when he was a small boy. Andrew looked very much like him, with his blue eyes, and even the dimple in his chin.

This unfortunately is the only baby picture I have, of my youngest 1/2 brother, Philip Andrew Thomas.
He was born to Richard and Yvonne, March 16, 1971, just the day before St. Patricks Day. What a bundle of joy, ray of sunshine, and burst of energy, he was. It was like he was born with inner springs, and just wanted to get up and get with it, as quickly as possible. Here he is, working on his oldest brothers go cart, a rather rustic affair, that could scream all over our property, when it was running. I remember driving it, with the greatest of glee.

Blaine had made it, and it was a testament to his creativity, and mechanical abilities, that's for sure. I don't recall if Richard helped him or not, but I have no doubt he could have.

I only wish that Philip would have looked up for a moment, for he had the most cherubic face, but unfortunately he did not, at least in this shot.

I love this picture, for what else is in it. Number one, the old go cart, which saw some rough usage, but was a real blast. The other, is the back of dads Ford F-10 pickup, with the canopy attached. Who can not remember those long trips he took us on, with our whole gang piled in the back?! How he modified the back, with a sheet of plywood, for making into a bed, and how we traveled from Ocean Shores, in Northern Washington, all the way down the coastal highway, in Washington, and Oregon, all the way to California. Then on to Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and back home again. First in 1970, and again in 1971. Rich was never one to sit still, and he loved to camp and fish, and ride bikes with us kids, as well as mountain climbing, and hiking up Mt.Si, all the way to the top of the haystack, on its highest spot.

The very happiest days of my childhood were spent on this place. It was in those tree's in the background, that I first began to play with my little people, and began to believe in what wonderful things my imagination could think up. Dad never sneered at such things, he encouraged it. He loved kids, and knew the things that most delighted them. He bought us horses, and a cow, and delighted in teaching us all kinds of skills, from chicken house, to barn building, and beyond. He was truly a delight!!!

In the far background, are a couple of more objects, which I wish I could say, were another delight. They were not. The airstream trailer, was the home of my maternal grandparents, who to be honest, I did not like at all. Suffice to say, they made my childhood miserable, and it seemed to me that Granny Grippo, as we called her, spent far too much time, trying to get us kids into trouble with our mother, so we would get a whipping. Her name was Edna Emogene Larson-Genson, but woe betide the child, stupid enough, to call her by her first name. Apparently she didn't like it, and always went by Emogene. I tried it on her once, and lived to rue it, believe me. She had a rapid hard slap, and that's a fact.

Grandpa spent far too much time in the tavern, and when he was home, he drove my grandmother to distraction, and when she got angry, he would laugh and be pleased, and say he got the ol barracuda going.
He thought it was funny, I thought he was the biggest reason she was mean. If ever a couple lived to make each other miserable, it was those two. They were both alcoholics for years, and she finally got religion, but he did not, after which, they spent the remainder of their lives together, driving each other crazy, and stirring the wicked stick.

I don't know what the deal was with that Cadillac of hers, which you can also see. I remember one hairy ride home from school, up that twisting, winding, Cedar Falls road, leading to our house. Grandma was going lickity split one minute, and the car just died the next. The entire thing had power steering, power windows, and power brakes. Suddenly she couldn't steer it, and nothing else worked either, we were heading for the ditch, at breakneck speed. Just when I thought we were dead for sure, it coughed back to life, and grandma steered like the dickens, and just missed crashing us to bits. The pig was built like a Sherman tank, and just as heavy. Those were back in the days of no seat belts, and I hate to think what we kids would have looked like, if we had crashed. After that, I hated that car, and never wanted to get into it again, that and the fact I always got car sick.

Grandpa Genson did not drive, so grandma drove him everywhere. It's not that he couldn't, he just wouldn't. He had started driving, before Washington State decided everyone had to be licensed. Well grandpa refused to get a license, and refused to drive after that. At least that's the story he told me. Grandpa's name was, George Elroy Genson, and believe me, the invective Grandma could give his first name, when she was angry, was somethin' else.

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