FIVE: ACH DU LIEBER LUDEKE
"ALLS" stands for Ada Louise Ludeke Smith: Ada Ick in childhood, Ick at college, Icky to her husband, Mom to her daughters, Louise to her in-laws, Momine or Grandma or Goppy to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and Smitty as a senior citizen. Her informal memoirs were written 1983-96, and several of them (purloined from Chapter L-7) appear below. Many redundant commas have been weeded out and paragraph breaks reduced to better suit hypertext format; but the original capitalization is largely preserved. Some of the late essays required a degree of editing for coherence.
Internet sources are indicated by tildes (e.g. ~internet). A complete list can be found on the Sources page. Due to the transient nature of Internet entries, only a few hyperlinks will be provided to outside webpages; such as ~a (www.ancestry.com), ~f (www.familysearch.org), ~g (www.findagrave.com), and ~w (www.worldvitalrecords.com). The United States Federal Census records for 1850 through 1940 cited below are available at ~a (except for 1890's, which was badly damaged in a 1921 fire and later quietly destroyed).
● Unravel the Knots of Daily Life
ALLS: "Yes! I definitely planned to make a career of Social Work and thoroughly enjoyed the work (even though it was a hectic time)... I worked part time during my Senior Year with the Bureau of Social Work in Hamilton, O. (no pay)—and after graduation was hired by them—for full time employment. (Interviewed clients—investigated cases and administered necessary service.)"
Butler County's Bureau of Social Work was located at 314 S. Front Street, according to the Service Directory of Child-Caring Agencies published in Jan. 1928 by the Ohio Department of Public Welfare (and viewable at Google Books):
LOCAL RESOURCES IN OHIO COMMUNITIES FOR SOCIAL SERVICE (PARTICULARLY FOR DEPENDENT, NEGLECTED OR DELINQUENT CHILDREN). Local agencies may serve other Ohio Children's Institutions and Child-Caring Agencies located at a distance in the following ways, if request is made: Making preliminary visits of inquiry to families applying for service; sending subsequent reports on the progress made by families after children have been accepted by institutions; making inquiry before children are returned or released; visiting a child living in a foster home in the community; and similar service. Because of the frequent change in personnel, individual names are omitted; letters may be addressed to the agency itself, thus reaching the person directly in charge.
In 1930 The Rotarian magazine took an approving overview of social work:
Sometimes you hear the question: "Why do you need trained paid social workers to help people out of trouble? What does their training give them that any sensible, kind hearted person hasn't already? All you would need to do is to collect a few such leisure folk together and let them do this work without pay." One wonders how such an inexperienced volunteer would have gone about helping Anne Smith.
The telephone rang. A man's voice asked if the social worker would go to see a woman, a former employee of his, whom he heard was penniless and about to be evicted onto the street for non-payment of rent. The social worker hurried over to the address given. It was raining—a cold March rain—and the small attic room tucked under the eaves was chilly. Seated on the bed with her precious belongings at her feet, Anne Smith told her story... "Yes, I'm all alone and so ashamed of this beastly habit of mine," she said, "but—I can't seem to stop. My life is a failure." For thirty years she had worked for one firm and yet, when her employer retired from business, she alone of his many employees could not be placed. For years he had known about her drinking; his efforts to help her seemed useless... Her drinking grew more frequent. Her church friends, who had meant much to her, told how disappointed they were in her, so she stayed away. Now it had brought her to the attic room, more miserably alone than ever—penniless, and the last shred of her self-respect gone...
What was it this trained social worker did that a friendly neighbor could not have done? Probably the social worker and friendly neighbor would have agreed absolutely on their goal for Anne Smith—that they wanted her to learn self-mastery and find somewhere a full and satisfactory life for herself. The place where the untrained person would have felt at a loss would have been on method. How was all this to be accomplished? Let's see what the social worker did.
First of all she tried to get at all the facts that had caused this shipwreck. A lonely and emotionally deprived life, a job that offered no creative outlets, a leisure that also failed to offer an escape from the harsh realities of life, high ideals and a paralyzing sense of guilt and failure over her drinking, an overwhelming conviction that nobody in this world had need for her. With this as a background picture, the social worker took the first step. Instead of treating the drinking as the prime issue, she paid little heed to it except to say that probably most people up against the same difficulties would have done the same, or worse. Immediately something happened to Anne Smith. The weight of ages—her burden of guilt—began to be lifted. Life came back into the dead, hopeless eyes that had looked out on an impossible world.
"No," said the social worker, "the important thing was what would she like to do and be, if she could? The prime issue wasn't what not to do, but what to do... Anne Smith began to get a perspective on things and to understand herself. She decided she'd like to be with people more, people she could do something for... So the social worker talked with the head of the School for Delinquent Girls. Would they just try her? Give her lots to do out of which she'd get that precious sense of importance everybody needs. She'd work for very little plus her board and room. Would they try her?...
They did, and Anne became "one of the most valuable people at the School for Delinquent Girls. She's so patient with these young people who have been through soul shattering, sordid experiences. She has no word of blame for them, only assurance that no matter what mistakes they may have made, the world can still hold beauty and a new life for them."
The Rotarian remarked that "modern social work, differing as it does from the old relief dole idea, is just beginning to be understood and valued"; and that social workers ("bright, alert young people they are with college backgrounds, broad interests and a serious concern for the hurts and troubles of others") were "employed and trained to unravel the knots of daily life for many people in trouble."†
All of which exemplified ALLS. In a late Memoir she summed up her feelings about social work:
"My Decision Filled With Hope"
As a Junior in High School I took Sociology, and fortunately had a very dedicated teacher [Marjorie Grafft]. Her description of Hull-House in Chicago, founded by Jane Addams, our country's first sociologist, really emphasized my interest, and soon after I decided that I too wanted to be a social worker. After graduation I enrolled in Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I took every sociology and psychology course offered, enjoying each one. After graduation from Miami, I was fortunate to be hired by the Bureau of Social Work in Hamilton, Ohio.
Being the last hired, I naturally was given the worst cases [so as] to obtain experience, but that did not dull my youthful enthusiasm. However, I must confess the first two weeks were nightmares. I dreamed of rats, bedbugs, body and head lice, venereal diseases, filth and stinks! None of which I had had contact with in my textbooks. Later however was much better, and each day made me realize that these poor unfortunate people were all human beings, and their miseries were due to many problems. I was hopefully trained to help them improve their lives. This challenge carried me through each day, and in most cases I think I succeeded in helping them.
When I resigned to get married, I had a feeling of satisfaction that just maybe I had helped the less fortunate to ease their pains. But here I am many years later, realizing that our country is the least family-oriented society in the civilized world, and there is also rising poverty. There is a feeling now that families should be self-sufficient, and if not, they deserve to suffer. That outlook appears to dominate political and private decisions. Only for the group of desperate families willing to label themselves hopeless (unwed, unemployed, and homeless) do we have "handouts," for instance A.D.C. (Aid to the Dependent Children). To qualify for help, a family must first identify itself as a failure. Labels stick, and so treated people will feel and act like failures. Despite huge amounts of money spent on welfare, the efforts are generally counterproductive—offering money without real support. The anger and addictions of the impoverished, and harm done to their children, are national crises. If we want poor children, and all children to have a future in this country, we have no choice but to make families our top priority.
The recent United Nations World's Conference [actually World Summit] for Children held in New York City revealed that 40,000 children in our country die each year from malnutrition alone! This is worse than in some Third World countries. If two and a half million dollars each year can be spent on cigarette advertising, why can't an equal amount be spent to save our children, the future of our Country?
Though ALLS left the Bureau of Social Work after barely seven months, she remained at heart "an old social worker" till the end of her life. (A trait shared with her future son-in-law's father Joseph Ehrlich, who always thought of himself as a teacher though he was only able to earn a living as one briefly, in his youth.) She planned to resume her career after her husband's retirement in 1964, and obtained a reference from the Butler County Welfare Department's Casework Supervisor, Ruth H. Burns:
To Whom It May Concern: The undersigned has been associated with private and public social agencies for over thirty years in the City of Hamilton and County of Butler, Ohio. It is recalled one Ada Louise Ludeke (now Mrs. Francis Smith) fulfilled field training, as required for her Sociology major at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, with the Bureau of Social Work of Hamilton during the school year 1928 and 1929. She was employed as a social case worker with this same agency upon her graduation from Miami University and remained until her marriage in 1930. Having been a co-worker and having continued friendly relations, I know Mrs. Smith as a person with stability and integrity; one who can meet and converse easily with others; and one with a real sense of humor. As near as can be recalled she established good relationships with the clientele and showed keen interest in people and their problems.
Regrettably, illness intervened and ALLS was unable to follow up on an opportunity to again unravel knots of daily life for the hurt and troubled. At least not professionally: she never ceased to do so for those around her, whether family, friends or acquaintances. Even in Ada Louise's final years, she tried to keep a helpful eye out for fellow residents of her nursing home.
ALLS gave two accounts of her first day on the job:
I had recently graduated from Miami University in 1929, and was fortunate to have been hired by the Bureau of Social Work in Hamilton, Ohio. I was eager and more than enthusiastic to begin my first day of work. Given a name and an address, I rode off to victory. My first surprise was finding no street by the name given to me, but I soon discovered by wading through a muddy field, there was a house in the distance which turned out to be a three-room shack. Reaching my destination, or so I hoped, I called through an open door for verification. The first to greet me were two mangy dogs, loudly barking my arrival. Soon a voice called, "Come on in, we ain't got no door." So I did but immediately gasped for fresh air. No one had warned me about the possibilities of expecting an odor indescribable. I soon discovered the cause: rotting food, and used diapers flung into corners of the room. We were taught in Sociology never to sit on covered anything in these homes. If there were no bare surfaces, then by all means just stand. I was overjoyed to remember this, because I saw roaches, bedbugs, mice and many flies living in this shack also.
After my first shock, I was soon joined by a woman and seven children, all with unwashed bodies and clothing, who insisted on getting very close to their guest. The husband and father (at least to several of the children) had abandoned the family for greener pastures, leaving eight humans with little or nothing. No money for rent, food, utilities or clothing. I found myself overwhelmed just where to start. Certain information must be gained, and from this you have to determine which is the first emergency and deal with it quickly. Money is never given, so an order for groceries was left at the nearest store, with an emphasis from me that soap was most necessary. With groceries they could be fed soon, but they did have only one huge iron pot to use for cooking. I found out later this same pot was used as a bathtub for the kids. Next the utilities and back rent were paid by an organization. Later on, clothing was supplied for all.
After an hour, I gladly stumbled away from the shack, wondering if I had gained that victory I was seeking earlier. I did appreciate the fresh air, and that helped me at least. This case required a weekly visit from me to this family, but I soon welcomed them as friends, and I even ignored the vermin and mice as the inevitable there, and also in most of the other homes that I later visited. It was a constant battle against the lack of everything that we the fortunate take for granted. I was always amazed that the poor usually accepted their fate, and were somewhat cheerful also. So I decided that if they had never lived any better, then they did not realize what they had missed.
Social Work is a constant battle against depression, but the longer I was involved, the more dedicated to the work I became. It taught me a lessons to be used for a lifetime, to be grateful for your blessings; there are always many people less fortunate than you.
I have had many traumatic experiences in my lifetime, but one that I shall never forget was in 1929. After graduating from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, I was hired as a social worker soon after in Hamilton, Ohio... On my first day of work, I was given what the director thought was the easiest case: just to deliver a rent check to a client.
I left at 8 a.m. full of confidence, and drove to the address given me, in a very shoddy part of the city. I found the old house, and taking the check I knocked on the front door. It was opened by a woman who had obviously seen better days. She smiled, showing one gold tooth in the front of her mouth: the rest of her teeth left were decayed. She had dyed red hair in a marcel arrangement, badly in need of washing. Cheap perfume and alcohol were quite noticeable. She wore a jade green kimono and was in her bare feet. She invited me to come inside and I declined. Then I took a deep breath as I noticed her arms were completely covered with open running sores, oozing with yellow abscesses, a most nauseating sight. I gave her the check, careful not to touch her, and quickly left.
When I reached the office, I asked the secretary what it was all about. She laughed and said, "The last case worker hired here is always given Goldie, to initiate her." She explained that Goldie had been a prostitute for most of her life (over fifty years) and was now suffering from an incurable case of gonorrhea, causing the purulent sores over her body. Her working days now were few: men who were desperate, with little money and no fear of death, used what little she had left. Hence the needed money from the city to pay her rent.
A month later I was asked to take Goldie's thirteen-year-old daughter to a hospital to have her blood checked. I did, and our office received the results a week later, showing positive. A tragedy to me, since living with her Mother would mean assuming her life style, earning money from being a prostitute, with a horrible death in the future: a hopeless case for two women. I was fortunate to have most of my case load full of happier people, only temporarily in need of the necessities of life, and social work was a most rewarding position for me to pursue.
Initiation past, ALLS took more rewarding steps in pursuit of her position. The Sep. 23, 1929 Evening Journal reported:
HAMILTON TO SEND DELEGATES TO STATE WELFARE MEETING. Governor Myers Y. Cooper will address the Ohio Welfare conference at the opening session of its thirty-ninth annual meeting which is to be held in Dayton this year, from October 7 to 11. All types of social work done in Butler county will be discussed at the various sessions, which in all probability will be attended by City Manager Russell P. Price, Judge Gideon Palmer, Miss Isabel Beardsley, Miss Jane Dowty and Miss Ada Ludeke of the bureau of social service and Mr. and Mrs. R.C. Brone of the Children's home. In addition to the regular meetings, there will be eight courses of study conducted by leaders who are outstanding in their respective lines of social work. Problems connected with the administration of children's homes will be discussed, the administration of mothers' pension funds will be perused and a course dealing with behavior problems of children is also being planned. Child placing, delinquent boys and girls, adult dependents, health and family case work will also [illegible] a place on the program. Speakers of national note have been secured and the meetings will be open to the public and everyone interested.
Some cases later written up as Memoirs were rewarding in different ways:
"A Unique Experience"
I opened the peeling painted front door of the rambling three story old house, hunting for a client to deliver a rent check to. His room was on the second floor, and I stumbled up broken steps through the rushing heat and littered hall, similar to staggering through a dense rancid fog. Locating Number 21, I knocked on the door and was told to come in. An odor that seemed visible met me, but I only saw a heavily bearded white man in bed, covered to his chin. I identified myself and put his check on a nearby table. He winked at me, smiled showing rotten teeth, and invited me to join him. I picked up the check and in a loud voice told him that his filthy suggestion would be reported to my office immediately, and if he wanted his rent check he would have to come to our office personally and get it. I slammed his door, and left hurriedly.
I carried out my threat and reported the incident to my superior in the office of the Bureau of Social Work that day. Very soon afterwards, I had the pleasure of being told that the lewd man had been forcibly evicted from his room three days later and taken to our local jail. After a trial, he was found guilty and sent to a County Work Farm for six months. This experience is still vivid in my memory, because of the challenge it served me. At the time I had no fear, only contempt for the "animal" in the filthy room. Also I was very young, 22 years old, and able to run fast if necessary. It gave me the satisfaction of meeting a new experience in Social Work, and eventually winning out in every aspect of it.
"A Mysterious Development"
In Social Work, aid is asked for in two ways. Either by the needy themselves coming to the office, or through phone calls from a neighbor, friend, schoolteacher or church. Of all the many cases I had while working as an investigator in Social Work, this particular one presented the most mystery. I received a call from a Minister telling me that one of his church members was in need of help in paying her rent. He attempted to talk to her, but she refused to even acknowledge the fact. He then called the owner of her house and was told she owed four months rent, and he was planning to make her move. So I promised to call on her and see what I could do.
The sketchy information I had did not sound too difficult, so I went to the given address the next morning. After I knocked, the door was opened a crack, and I identified myself. She promptly slammed the door in my face. I pounded some more, but only silence resulted. The next door neighbor came over and offered to help me. She called very loudly, explaining that I was there for a friendly visit only. Finally after about five minutes, I was permitted inside. I noticed the home was clean and furnished nicely, an unusual setting given most of the homes I visited. I explained that her Minister had called me about her rent problem, and she showed immediate anger that he had revealed her secret. I assured her that anything she would tell me would be kept confidential, and she in turn informed me that she had no intention of telling me anything. I asked if she was aware that her landlord was planning to make her move, and this seemed to break the ice a bit. I suggested that our organization could pay the back rent on a loan basis, and she reluctantly agreed to this arrangement. Trying to get any further information was impossible, go gaining her name (Mary Roberts) and address, I realized our visit was finished. On leaving, I noticed a picture on a table of a girl and I seemed to recognize her, but I left at that time.
The Bureau of Social Work paid her rent, but somehow I did not feel everything was settled. So with the memory of the girl's picture in my mind, I went to the High School Principal's office and asked permission to check some past yearbooks. My request was granted, and I spent the next hour in the Library looking through them. Finally I saw a familiar face in a class group, and the name Susan Roberts was the same as my client's. Part of the mystery was solved, but the worst was yet to come.
I returned to see Mrs. Roberts later, giving an excuse to ask if everything was alright. Then before leaving leaving I said, "I recognized Susan's picture, how is she?" To my surprise, Mrs. Roberts burst into tears. She sobbed out a very sad story that she and Susan had not spoken in two years previous because of the mother's objection to her daughter's marriage. I comforted her and asked if I could help, but once more she refused. With some doubts on my part, I called her daughter later and told her about her Mother's present condition. The girl was amazed, and told me she had tried many times to contact her Mother, but her stubborn pride prevented it happening.
Not long after this, Mrs. Roberts called me and asked if I could come see her. I did so, not knowing what to expect, but when I knocked the door was opened by a smiling different woman. She put her arms around me and thanked me for bringing about the reunion. Her daughter had visited her, insisted on giving her financial aid each month, and everything seemed to have a happy ending. This case was one of the many rewards I gained from my work.
"A Very Special Child"
This pitiful child entered my life while I was working in Social Welfare. I was asked to call at a certain house to investigate a rumor of a woman receiving help for ten family members, but neighbors had reported to our office that the husband and four older sons had moved away. After the questioning was over, I discovered that it was true and there were five less in her present family, so she was denied the help for the extra assistance. Making a hasty retreat before the irate woman threw something at me, I noticed a small child huddled in the corner of the filthy room. Barefoot and dressed in tattered overalls, she was clutching a bundle of filthy rags tied with a rope. Her large brown eyes looked up at me through greasy strands of hair. I knelt down in front of her and said, "Hi, what is your name?" She replied, "Frankie, but I don't like it." Her Mother snarled, "She was 'sposed to be Frank, 'cause I always has boys, so I jist calls her Frankie." I let the question of names drop, but then asked, "What do you have in your arms?" The child said, "This here is my baby doll, and I calls her Queenie 'cause I loves that name real good."
The woman was holding the door open, so I took the hint and hastily retreated. But the memory of that pitiful child haunted me, and on the following day I found an old rag doll in our office stockroom, where clothing, shoes, toys, and many other donations were kept. I made a trip to her home hoping I could give the doll to her. I was in luck, she was playing in her muddy front yard, still cuddling her bundle of rags. I called to her and she came running to me, saying, "Oh Miz Ludie" (she couldn't pronounce my last name) "I shore hoped you would come back." I showed her the doll, she gave one look, hugged her new Queenie and said, "This here is jist about the happiest day in my life." I took the filthy bundle of rags from the ground, and deposited it in the nearest trash can after I left.
This should have ended our relationship, but I couldn't get that little dirty unhappy child out of my mind. I recognized she was unwanted and unloved, just another mouth to feed as far as her uncaring Mother was concerned. I made myself stay away until the time to check on the family again, the usual supplying of food, rent, and utilities. Reporting to the Mother that all was taken care of for another month was sufficient, but again I was drawn to our stockroom. This time I found a dress, underwear, socks and slippers that I hoped would fit little Frankie.
I was met by her this time in the street calling, "Hi Miz Ludie, I'se glad you didn't fergit me." I fought back tears and hugged her, filth, stench and all. She clung to me, walking to her house, clutching Queenie under one arm. After my report to her Mother, I asked if she could wash the child so I could put on the clean clothing. She informed me that she had more important things to do. My next question was, could I please take Frankie with me and do it myself, and she assured me I could keep forever as far as she was concerned. Motherly love? I doubted it.
So I loaded up little Frankie in my car and headed for my home. Luckily no one was there at that time, so we had the bathroom for our use. I filled the tub with warm water and plenty of soap suds, and put my little waif into this to soak off layers of dirt. Frankie was overcome with happiness. This was her first experience in a bathtub, and she squealed with joy. It took more than one soaking to remove the accumulation of filth, but an hour later a new clean very happy little girl emerged. We even discovered she had light curly hair. We put on her new clothing, and she begged to stay with me.
I explained to her that would be impossible, but promised to go and see her as often as I could. I wrapped her filthy clothes in newspaper to return, knowing her Mother would accuse me of stealing them. On our way home Frankie said, "Would you call me by a different name, 'cause I hates Frankie." I promised to do so, telling her it could be our secret. By the time we reached her house, she said, "I decided Anna Bell will be my new name, it sounds so purdy." So new little Anna Bell said goodbye to me that day, carrying Queenie and her bundle of dirty clothes. She hugged me closely and thanked me for everything. For many months I made lame excuses to visit the home, always managing to bring more clothing for my special child. There was a deep bond of love between us, always hampered however by an uncaring Mother figure, but we had our secret meetings as often as possible, and exchanged our love in many ways.
When I moved from Ohio in 1930, I wasn't brave enough to say the final goodbye to Anna Bell, but I have never forgotten her, and I sincerely hope she had the courage to permit her to blossom and grow out of her fragile beginnings to a happier, successful future life.
● Cupid's Darts
Mellie Morris Smith "tried valiantly to interest me in dates," ALLS would say. One was "an uninteresting character" employed in the Miami University Library; another was Mellie's cousin Lester Smith, son of her Uncle M.L. "To keep peace, I did go with him one evening to Columbus, Ohio—an extremely boring time for me. But, bless her, she finally accomplished her goal by introducing me to her brother one summer."
This was Francis See (F.S. or Frank) Smith (born Apr. 17, 1896) of Chapter S-6. He lived in Kansas City, Missouri, but returned to Ohio as often as possible to see his family—particularly his two young daughters, whom he'd sent to Ohio when their mother fell hopelessly ill in 1926. "Little" Mellie Agnes Smith (born June 19, 1918) was in Springfield with her grandfather, Herbert Gustavus (H.G.) Smith and his third wife, "Grandma Cora" Kirchwehm Smith. Corinne Doris "Connie" Smith (born Dec. 19, 1924) was in Dayton with F.S.'s older half-brother Ora Callison and his wife Mary Belle "Mame" Callison.
ALLS met Frank Smith in Aug. 1928, "and enjoyed his company as a friend only. Six months later, we again met in Urbana, and I realized this was more than a friendship. So after three dates and much correspondence, we were married."
In her Memoir "Happy Memories," she weighed the causes and impact of this momentous change:
When I resigned my position with the Bureau of Social Work in Hamilton, Ohio and left my family and home in late January of 1930, I did so with some reluctance, but also I was confident I had made the right decision. For the first time in my life I had met a man, and had fallen in love with him, and I was sure I was ready for marriage. It was not love at first sight, and even though two Aries are usually not compatible, our marriage lasted forty-three years. From the beginning I realized I could not be possessive or jealous, and also I knew I would share a husband six months later with his two daughters. We all grew together, naturally having some problems, but family conferences worked them out. Through the years we shared the same visions and ambitions, such as educating the children, providing a good home life, and being strict but not overpowering. We were happy doing things together that we liked to do, but always saved time to strengthen the family life. We were truly blessed in all of our endeavors. Living during the Depression was another large challenge to cope with, and eventually to conquer.
The abbreviated recap: "F.S.S.'s charm won out—ha! and I left!"
They became engaged circa Aug. 25, 1929, when the photo above was taken; and an honest-to-God elopement took place the following January. It was far and away the most uncharacteristic event of F.S. Smith's life—but at least he did not have to maneuver a ladder by moonlight under his bride-to-be's bedroom window. As she would recount:
Mellie Smith met me at the Hotel in Hamilton, Ohio on Jan. 23, 1930, and we drove in her car to the Cincinnati Railroad Station. We said our tearful goodbye, and her last words were, "I wonder if I should have introduced my brother to you in August of 1928." I assured her it was for the best, and thanked her for being so wise. I boarded the train, full of confidence that I was about to start a new and happy life. At twenty-two years of age, not even knowing how to cook or do any kind of housework, I had no fear of the future. I changed trains in St. Louis, rode all night and the next day also, arriving in Kansas City much later than had been scheduled. There had been high water someplace in Illinois which slowed down the train for hours. I shall never forget walking into that huge lobby of the Kansas City Union Station, into a large crowd of total strangers, but soon seeing one smiling face, and after his warm embrace, I felt positive that I was home, happy, and safe.
In Jan. 1930 Kansas City MO experienced one of its more memorable blizzards. "Remember it?!" ALLS would exclaim, "I ARRIVED in it!!"
My first impressions of K.C. when I arrived?—came in by train of course, and was overwhelmed with the huge size of the Union Station—'twas love at first sight also—and from then on, always my favorite place in K.C. to visit (to eat in Fred Harvey's Restaurant or the Westport Room—to prowl through the shops—or just to sit and watch the steady stream of humanity going to and from trains). Leaving the Station that first night, I remember seeing 'Signboard Hill'—looming up high above the street and filled with various kind of billboards—my favorite was: "Sherwin Williams Paint Covers the World," a huge round world, with colored lights simulating paint running down and covering the entire globe! Was impressed with the wide boulevards such as Armour and Linwood—and the many, many huge apartment hotels lining both sides of these boulevards!...
I was not told where we were going, since it was to be a surprise, but I was informed about the blizzard that had struck Kansas City just before my arrival. Fortunately most of the main streets were cleared off, but when we started down Linwood Boulevard we were in deep icy ruts all the way. Finally we parked in front of a lovely apartment building, and I was told it was the Emerson Hotel and Apartment Complex (2017 Linwood, corner of Linwood Blvd. and Garfield) and had just been recently built in 1929 [sic]... The elevator soon took us to the fourth floor, to #414 our new little home, costing $75.00 per month. Later we left to get dinner and went to George's Restaurant on Troost Avenue, just south of Armour Boulevard. The owner was Greek, but served American food only, and we both enjoyed a delicious steak dinner.
The following morning, Jan. 25, 1930, we went to another place for our breakfast. This was Pete's, also a Greek, and his restaurant was on Prospect Avenue near 31st Street. After breakfast we took the "ice rut journey" down Linwood Blvd. to Highway 40, and headed for Liberty MO. We arrived there about 10:30 a.m., and rode around, not knowing just where to go. We finally saw a sign in a front yard announcing the Manse for the Methodist Church. We decided to ask here if the minister could marry us. Knocking on the front door, it was soon opened by a smiling young man, and after hearing out request he invited us inside. This was Rev. W. Henry Lutzow [sic], and in his living room, with his wife as the witness, we were married. Coming out of their home, I was so excited I tried to get into the wrong tan car. My husband explained even though it was the same color as our car, he never would drive around with a large milk can in the back seat.
The ceremony was in fact conducted by Herman Henry Luetzow, an ordained elder (according to the Clay County marriage license) and "Minister—Methodist Church" (according to the wedding certificate and also the 1930 census, which showed he lived at 431 E. Franklin, Liberty MO, with wife "Julius," son Herman H. Jr., and mother-in-law Inez Hunt).
We returned to Kansas City and stopped at the Piggly Wiggly grocery, located on Indiana Avenue near 32nd Street, to buy groceries. Reality had begun! Returning to our apartment, we ate a cold luncheon in our small eating area. That night we celebrated our marriage at the Union Station restaurant, toasting the event with a rum collins and enjoying a delicious steak dinner. After dinner we went to a movie, on the east side of Main Street (I have forgotten the name of the theatre) and saw The Love Parade with Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier. How appropriate. The next morning we ate a late breakfast and attended an early matinee at the Uptown Theatre. Later, another dinner at the Union Station was enjoyed.
(Given that Prohibition was still in force, the mention of a Rum Collins toast is subject to query.)
Monday morning, the honeymoon over, the bridegroom left early for work at the American Radiator Company on East 12th Street, and the bride inspected the apartment more thoroughly. The in-a-door bed fascinated me, pushing it up and down just for fun. Our apartment was furnished completely, and an older married couple was in charge. Rose would deliver towels, wash clothes, sheets and pillow slips each week, and took away the soiled ones. Tom took care of all the maintenance work. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Grant were the owners of the "Emerson."
The 1930 census (taken on Apr. 12th) confirms that Frank H. and Louise L. Grant were proprietors of the hotel. "Francis F." and Ada L. Smith are listed among its "guests," and F.S.'s occupation is "purchasing agent, heating equipment."
I decided to cook a surprise dinner that first Monday, but unfortunately it was a complete disaster. Round steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, creamed style corn, and celery was the planned menu. But it turned out to be overcooked meat, watery potatoes, and a lumpy gravy. The only edible things were corn and celery. My new husband was very sympathetic and managed to eat the "so called" food. I usually learn most things doing it wrong first, then gradually I advanced and did it a bit better. Slowly the meals improved, and our healthy appetites and good digestive systems did help, so in time I managed to prepare appetizing meals.
After the weather improved, I took many walks to familiarize myself with the neighborhood. I discovered a huge hospital nearby, St. Joseph's at Linwood and Prospect, and three large churches in Linwood Blvd. not far from us also: the Baptist, the Methodist, and Presbyterian. We later chose to attend services at the Presbyterian Church, and Henry [sic] Clayton Rogers was the minister. A beautiful, large old church, and we soon felt very comfortable going there.
In a less formal coda, ALLS remarked:
Such a thrill to live in the 'Emerson Apartment Hotel,' only one year old [sic] then and I thought it quite 'swanky'! A few days later, attending the Midland Theatre—I had never seen a theatre that large and decorated so beautifully (every Saturday night we went to the Midland—sat in first row, Loge Section—Ha!). Oh yes! was fascinated with the Uptown Theater also—the sky above with clouds that actually moved—and how about the nude statues on each side of the Main section! Ha ha—loved the huge CAT on top of the drugstores, lit up at night, and my first comment being 'Oh, look at the KAWTZ drugstore'—I was corrected and told it was pronounced KATZ (CATS) in K.C.—well! it wasn't that way in German Hamilton, Ohio—Tee! Hee!
And in a late Memoir, she recalled past experiences with "Cupid's Darts":
Valentine's Day, in my younger years, was happy and simple. A week before, a box was brought to class, and the pupils could decorate it. As the children made their valentines to give to others, they put them in the box. The afternoon of the special day, the teacher took out each valentine and read the name of the receiver. Sometimes a cookie was given to us, to eat on the way home. All was appreciated by us.
In my High School years a young Italian, twenty years old, arrived from New York to help his Uncle Tony in the fresh fruit store in my city. This man started walking with me, and invited me to the movies. I told him I did not date and went alone to movies. This routine went on until one Feb. 14th when he handed me a sack, and opening it at home, I found a box of twenty-four Hershey bars! I did appreciate his thoughtfulness, and my entire family enjoyed the candy also.
A bride of one month, I was surprised the morning of Feb. 14th to receive fourteen beautiful roses from my husband. I was also taken to the Union Station to enjoy a delicious dinner and later to the Midland Theater for a movie. I have enjoyed many other Valentine days, but these three will always be in my memory.
● Devoted to Her Family
Back in Hamilton, the Ludekes were aghast at the elopement. Their precious darling Little Ada, not yet 23, running off with a man eleven years her senior! already the father of two girls, one of whom was going on twelve!! and moving almost 600 miles away from hearth and home!!! It was the bobbed-hair incident all over again, when ALLS came home with a sack full of severed braids. Just as then, no one in the Ludeke clan would speak to her except for Uncle Bob and Aunt Annie Koeppendoerfer—who, after the hair-bobbing, had whispered: "Don't you worry—they'll come around." They had then, and they did again—eventually.
Announced on the "Social and Personal" page of the Feb. 10, 1930 Daily News:
MISS ADA LOUISE LUDEKE MARRIED. Mr. Robert Ludeke has received the interesting announcement of the marriage of his niece Ada Louise, who made her home with Mr. Ludeke and his mother, to Mr. Francis Smith of Kansas City, Mo. The marriage took place on January 25 in Kansas City. Miss Ludeke graduated last June from Miami University and is a member of Theta Pi Alpha. Mr. Smith is connected with the office of the American Radiator Company, and they will make their home in Kansas City where they have gone to housekeeping in a charming little apartment.
Housekeeping continued much as ever on Hamilton's North Front Street, though its households had dwindled. The 1930 census, taken on Apr. 2nd, found only three living at #124:
Ludeke, Robert W. (41, single) son [scored through] head of household,
owner of a house valued at $8,300, occupation "secretary, foundry co."
* Ludeke, Louise E. (75, widowed) mother, Ohio born, parents from Germany, occupation "retired"
* Koeppenderfer, Anna (79, single) great aunt, Ohio born, parents from Germany, occupation "retired"
And next door at #120:
* Falkenstein, Ed (57, married) head
owner of a house valued at $6,000, occupation "solicitor, laundry co."
* Falkenstein, Freda [sic] (49, married) wife, occupation "none"
ALLS: "Over the Memorial Day weekend we drove to St. Louis on Friday night, and went to the horse races the following afternoon. On Sunday we left for Ohio, going to Urbana first to visit with Mellie, Aunt Alice and Uncle Ed [Earsom], and Aunt Mamie [Hedges]. F.S.S. had a week's vacation only, so we returned to Kansas City after plans had been made to return to Ohio in August for more visiting, and to collect the two children" (of whom more below). Actually ALLS was in Hamilton between May and August, according to the July 1, 1930 Daily News:
PRESBYTERIANS ENJOY MYSTERY DINNER. More than 100 enjoyed the "Mystery Dinner" of the Presbyterian church held [yesterday] evening for members of the congregation and members of the church. At 6 p.m. individuals assembled in front of the church on Front street and in automobiles followed R. O. Warder, who was driving the leading car. The trip led through Bethany, Monroe, Blue Ball and finally arrived at the destination, the Floratine Tea room in Middletown. Frederick Tilley played selections on the guitar as the guests were gathering. Then all formed in a line led by Rev. and Mrs. G. H. Simonson and marched into the dining room while Mayor R. H. Burke played a spirited march on the piano. The long, graceful table was decorated in bright red and white and after all had been seated a delicious chicken dinner was served. During the program which followed, clever impromptu speeches were made... Old fashioned songs were sung by the entire group, accompanied by Mayor Burke later in the evening and George Alexander Mann, blackfaced entertainer, staged an attractive performance, singing a number of songs...
Among those present were Ada Ludeke Smith and her sociology mentor, Marjorie E. Grafft.
"We went to Hamilton next, a rather awkward visit, with no one showing enthusiasm for the new arrangement except Uncle Bob, so we made the visit brief. At last on a beastly hot day we headed west, in a car bursting with too many possessions." It would be the only encounter between F.S.S. and Grandma Ludeke. On Sep. 14, 1930, a Western Union telegram was sent to Mrs. Francis Smith at the Emerson Hotel: "MOTHER PASSED AWAY AT NOON TODAY. BOB LUDEKE."
MRS. LOUISE LUDEKE PASSES AWAY. Hamilton friends were saddened to learn of the death of Mrs. Louise E. Ludeke, widow of August H. Ludeke, which occurred at the Ludeke family home, 124 North Front street, at noon Sunday. She was born in Hamilton on February 14, 1855, having reached the age of 75 years. Mrs. Ludeke was the daughter of Michael and Elizabeth Wuechner, and when she was but ten years of age they built the home on North Front street where she continued to live after she was married. The old landmark was the scene of her life's activities, and Hamilton was her home during the span of life. She is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Walter Charles and Mrs. Ed Falkenstein; three sons, Robert W., Will and Edward, all of Hamilton; and several [sic] grandchildren. Two sisters, Mrs. Marie Martin and Mrs. Ed Stepp, of Nebraska, and an aunt, Mrs. Frances Smith [sic], are numbered among the sorrowing relatives. Funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock at the home, with Rev. H. A. Dickman, pastor of the Bethel church, officiating. Burial will be in Greenwood cemetery.
So reported the Sep. 15th Evening Journal, economically merging ALLS with Aunt Annie Koeppendoerfer. The Sep. 15th Daily News presented a fuller, truer picture:
MRS. LOUISE LUDEKE, 75, widow of August H. Ludeke, died Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at the Ludeke home, 124 North Front street. Mrs. Ludeke was born in Hamilton and spent her entire life here. She attended the local public schools and in 1875 was united in marriage to August H. Ludeke, whose death occurred 37 years ago in 1893. Mrs. Ludeke was devoted to her family. She was a member of the Bethel church and in addition to her interest in her home, she devoted her spare time to church work. Surviving are the following children, three sons, Robert Ludeke, with whom she made her home, William Ludeke, Edward Ludeke, two daughters, Mrs. Edward Falkenstein and Mrs. W. B. Charles, all of Hamilton, an aunt, Miss Anna Koeppenderfer, of Hamilton, two granddaughters, Mrs. Francis Smith of Kansas City and Miss Betty Jane Ludeke. Funeral services will take place at the resident Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. with Rev. H. A. Dickman officiating. Burial will be in Greenwood cemetery. Friends may call after Tuesday noon.
On Sep. 17th the Evening Journal had the last word:
MRS. LUDEKE IS LAID TO REST. Mrs. Louise Ludeke, who had been a highly respected and beloved resident of Hamilton for the entire 75 years of her life, was laid to rest this afternoon in Greenwood cemetery while countless sorrowing friends stood by. Bearers of the pall were William Ludeke, Edward Ludeke, Walter Charles, Edward Falkenstein, Louis Peterson and Stanley Latterner. Mrs. Ludeke passed away Sunday noon at her home, 124 North Front street, in the house where she had spent her entire [sic] life. Rev. H. A. Dickman, pastor of the Bethel church, conducted the services.
ALLS paid continual tribute to her grandmother throughout her Memoirs. Among its Sketches of Family Members (SFM) was the following:
"Louisa Wuechner Ludeke (1855-1930)"
I am certain that she was born for the sole purpose to serve as an excellent wife and mother. In much later life, as a good Grandmother. Receiving proper training in her own home (Wuechner) she married August Ludeke in 1875, and gave birth to the first child a year later. The marriage was a happy one, and six more children were born later. Louisa assumed her many household duties, and gradually became a perfect hausfrau. There was never doubt in her mind that this role meant to be for her, and she met each challenge with courage, without any complaint, and solved the many problems as best she could. After her young husband's death, she accepted it, and raised the large family alone in a remarkable manner. After the many years of mothering and raising her own children, a five year old Granddaughter (Ada Louise) was brought into her home (not very fair) but she accepted her without any hesitation, and started the childraising program all over again.
Her one recreation was attending church services (German Lutheran) every Sunday, dressed up in her best clothing. She rested most of each Sunday, even taking an afternoon nap. But before bedtime, the huge washing was gathered, sorted, and part of it put to soak in a large vessel, to get ready for the Monday washday routine. Tuesday was for ironing, and so on and on, each day designated for many necessary duties. Years later, I asked her what she thought about when she went to bed. Her answer, "I say my prayers." My next question, "What next?" She said, "Then I plan the next day's menu."
I have learned these valuable lessons from her: Cleanliness should be used, not only of body, but also their mind. Old can be as good as new. The latest is not always the best. Today can be worse than yesterday. Progress can be made by looking back as much as ahead. Assume responsibilities while young, because eventually you may have to do it yourself, such as: free yourself, educate yourself, and support yourself. I am truly blessed to have had the privilege of being raised with her wisdom, but I wish I had realized it all earlier in my life, and tried more often to show my appreciation to her.
A very late memorial was titled "A Person Who Inspired Me":
The person who inspired me the most was my Grandmother, She had white hair worn high on her head, and always was dressed nearly in grey calico long dresses, with an apron also for weekdays. On Sunday her outfit was a long black skirt and matching long sleeved blouse with a white lace collar, fastened with a gold pin: her only jewelry, except her wedding ring. The clothes were made by her, naturally. She wore rimless glasses for reading and close work, and when not in use they perched on top of her head. She was about five feet two inches tall, slender, and was quiet and soft spoken, and seldom smiled. But her lovely blue eyes were usually smiling, making me realize I was loved and protected by her.
She had no recreation except to go to church once a week (German Lutheran) and to the farmer's market downtown on Thursdays and Saturdays. After working hard each day, cleaning, washing, ironing, and preparing three meals each day, her evenings were used for mending, darning sox, tatting to use for borders on pillow slips and guest towels. Somehow she managed to learn the news from the conversation heard from members of the family, seated around the dining room table each evening. She had experienced a hard life, marrying very young, having seven children to provide for their many needs. She was widowed when the youngest child was only two years old. She buried two of her children also. Without any family help, and with only a small pension from the government (Civil War) she somehow managed without any complaints. She could have written a book on economy, which she called the MAKE DO System. She seemed to enjoy being the "German hausfrau," providing delicious food always, and a lovely comfortable home for all to enjoy.
She and I had friction many times, but now I know she was always right, and I am sorry at that time in my life I was not wise enough to realize it, and to thank her properly.
● Motherhood Times Three
"From the beginning I realized I could not be possessive or jealous, and also I knew I would share a husband six months later with his two daughters." Another young bride might have coaxed her new husband to leave his girls exactly where they were—suggesting, perhaps, that Cora needed little Mellie's help to care for the post-stroke Herbert Gustavus, while Connie (just turned five years old) might be better off staying with Ora and Mame in the home she'd occupied since infancy. But even if F.S. weren't determined to have his girls back with him, Ada Louise was clearly intent on avoiding a rerun of her own relationship with Drucilla—this time with herself cast as the Wicked One.
She first met the girls at Christmas 1929, when their Aunt Mellie brought her to visit. Nothing was said at the time, but the adults were "testing the waters," and Aunt Mellie dropped further hints the following Easter. Yet it wasn't till school let out in June that young Mellie was told a new home and stepmother awaited her in KCMO, so she should pack her bags.
ALLS: "After a visit in Urbana, we went to Springfield to see Dad Smith and Cora and 'little' Mellie. She was more than ready to leave there and be with her Daddy once again." Mellie readily accepted ALLS, and would call her "Mom" for the next eight decades; but she was very lonely that first summer at the Emerson, where only two "guests" in 1930 were aged under twenty. She actually looked forward to school starting, and was delighted when Ethel Glazer and her brothers moved across the street. (Mellie says the Glazers came to America from Belgium; the 1930 census adds that Ethel, her older brothers Jack, Norman, and Sherman, and their mother Lena were originally Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Russia, Jack in 1923 and the others in 1927—a questionable date, since most immigration from Eastern Europe had been cut off before then.)
"The next stop in Dayton was more difficult," ALLS recalled. Little Connie was very upset at leaving the Callisons, and only agreed to do so in order to be with Mellie; her period of adjustment took much longer. "Realizing her great change in lifestyle made her rebellious," said ALLS, "we were patient and hoped for the best. Months later she accepted us as her new family, and seemed happy. Mellie made friends easily, and was happily adjusting to everything."
At the Emerson the Smiths took a different apartment, #203, large enough to accommodate four people:
The girls had the bedroom, we used the living room, sleeping in the in-a-door bed. We all shared the bathroom, a small dressing room, kitchen and eating area. Half of a large front porch helped our cramped living arrangements to expand. We sent the girls to Sunday School at the Presbyterian church, and they made some friends there. Later they were enrolled in Linwood Elementary School at Linwood and Woodland, Mellie in the sixth grade and Connie in kindergarten. Considering everything, our lives ran rather smoothly, naturally having problems from time to time...
My second challenge in preparing a special meal came that November, when I realized the traditional turkey and all the trimmings was expected for our Thanksgiving dinner. Not liking to eat any kind of fowl made my task even more difficult. So F.S.S. took charge, asking a friend of his who worked at the same place [American Radiator] to buy a large roaster, and also the turkey. Howard Williams (the friend) went to the City Market to buy the bird, and after choosing one waited while it was killed and dressed. He soon delivered it to our apartment, and attempted to tell me how to cook it. Later, I remember standing in our kitchen looking at the naked bird and the new roaster, and saying out loud, "Now what?" A recipe cut from the newspaper helped somewhat, so I accepted the challenge. All went well, but the sack of "innards" was removed just in time. Believe it our not, the meal was halfway edible, and at least three members of the family ate it. By the way, the entire meal cost $4.99: the first of many Thanksgiving feasts yet to come. We all went to the Plaza Theatre for the matinee, and enjoyed seeing Eddie Cantor in Whoopee. I felt like yelling "Whoopee" myself from sweet relief.
On May 12, 1932, a third child was added to the family. This one was supposed to be The Boy, Robert Burns Smith: Robert for Uncle Bob Ludeke and Burns for F.S.'s mother's maiden name. Only at the last minute, as they were getting in the car to go to the hospital, did "Mom" turn to "Daddy" and ask—what name if it's a girl? Which is what it (she) turned out to be: Mila Jean Smith, Mila for F.S.'s mother's first name and Jean for the name ALLS wished had been given to her instead of "Ada."
Despite her athletic background, Ada Louise had an arduous pregnancy complicated by severe anemia, followed by a traumatic touch-and-go delivery. There would be no repeat performance; yet F.S., vastly relieved by the successful outcome, assured the baby's mother and sisters that it was perfectly all right with him to have another daughter. "The girls were disappointed it was not a boy," said ALLS, "but I explained that she could not be exchanged."
Mila Jean would always be called "Jeanie" by her family; she would not fully realize her first name was "Mila" till her late teens, when she saw her birth certificate for the first time. Back in Hamilton the May 16, 1932 Evening Journal reported: "MR. AND MRS. FRANCIS SMITH PROUD PARENTS OF DAUGHTER. Mr. and Mrs. Francis Smith, of Kansas City, Mo., are announcing the arrival of a baby daughter, May 12th. Mrs. Smith was formerly Ada Ludeke of this city." On May 14th the baby's grandfather H. G. Smith wrote a note (with his left hand, the right having been rendered useless by his stroke) congratulating "Roberta" on having chosen such "a delightful time of the year for your debut." They would meet for the only time that summer, with H.G. insisting on holding the baby for photographs.
She was a healthy, happy baby, so we left in June to go to Ohio for an extended visit. We packed a trunk to be sent ahead by rail, and later we left in our car driving to St. Louis. We boarded a train there, but F.S.S. had to return to Kansas City for his job, and also to hunt a house for later occupancy. Fortunately we had no problems on the train, and [Aunt] Mellie met us in Richmond, Indiana with her car. Later in the day we drove to Hamilton, Ohio and visited there for a short time. We had plenty of room there, the girls in one bedroom and the baby and myself in another. She used the old cradle that my Grandma had used for her children.
As soon as the trunk arrived, I distributed clothing and possessions to Connie, Mellie and myself. Ora and Mame drove down from Dayton for an extended visit. Later, I drove Uncle Bob's car to Springfield to leave Mellie with Dad Smith and Cora, for her visit with them. Aunt Frieda and Jeanie went along also. For the rest of that summer I rested, ate too much good German food, and was proud to introduce the new baby to my relatives and friends. F.S.S. returned to Ohio in August, and after two weeks' visit with all of the relatives, we collected Mellie, Connie, Jeanie, more possessions, and on a beastly hot day headed west to acquire our new home, which F.S. had rented and partially furnished at 3908 College Avenue.
● Home on College
Our first home in Kansas City gave us all a feeling of permanency, a great relief. Even before we had the car unpacked, a young girl appeared on our front porch announcing that she lived two houses from us, and she was so happy to see a little girl moving into the vacant house. Her name was Katherine Boyle, two years older than Connie, so quickly a new friendship was established. Mellie soon found a girl her age, Martha White, living across the street. It seemed the ice was broken, with clear sailing straight ahead. The rest of the summer passed quickly and happily getting settled in our new home, and making acquaintances in our neighborhood. Fortunately we lived one block from a convenient group of stores at 39th and Indiana. The Crown Drugstore, Carrol's Grocery store, Heine's butcher shop, a shoe repair shop, hardware, general store, cleaners, barber shop, beauty salon, and last but not least Joe's Hamburgers: what more to ask for?
In September Connie was enrolled in Sanford B. Ladd elementary school at 37th and Benton Blvd., and Mellie went to Central High School at Linwood Blvd. and Indiana Ave. They both made friends, and seemed happy in our new surroundings. I sent Mellie scouting for a grocery that would deliver, and she found Goldberg's on Agnes Ave. near 39th Street. I phoned in the grocery order each morning, and they delivered it promptly. This gave me more time to get established in our home and do the necessary baby care, cooking, and all the housework.
More conversationally, ALLS would say "the old 3908 neighborhood was heavenly—typically
'middle life America' at that particular time—everyone about on the same
financial level—Protestant kids all went to Ladd Elementary School, later to
Central Junior—then Central Senior High! In our block everybody knew
everybody else—majority were Protestants—Jews, Catholics, all together—no
frictions whatever. We had our own little 'Town' at 39th and Indiana:
'Crown Drug Store'—cleaners and barber shop and beauty shop in back—a grocery
and butcher shop—'dry goods store' (owned by a darling Jewish man, Mr. Morris Feder, selling a
world of things), hardware store (with a plumber's
office, so he could be contacted anytime)—shoe patcher—and last, but
certainly not least—Joe's Hamburger Shop—Ha! Churches close by and Oak
Park Theatre—39th and Prospect!! Transportation from three public service
lines. As a family, we had no problems during the Depression since F.S.S.
had a steady job—he was a good manager and I had learned to 'MAKE DO' from
Grandma—so the paycheck stretched to pay all bills."
† "Salaries vs. Relief" by Clare M. Tousley, The Rotarian,
Vol. XXXVII, Number 5, November 1930, pp. 23-52: viewable at Google Books.
● Toward the end of a draft version of Ich Liebe Dich, ALLS asked: "In a similar situation in our modern world, could a widow raise five children with no government, city, or family help of any kind, and produce five self-supporting children with no personal problems? Granted, they must have been confronted with problems equally as serious as ours today, but they escaped all monumental consequences. Does this give one an impression that true family life no longer exists, or that children now are coddled to a degree of doing more harm than good?"
● The United Nations World Summit for Children took place in New York City on Sep. 29-30, 1990.
● ALLS gave "Sep. 1930" as the date of "A Unique Experience," but it must have been 1929.
● KCMO's Signboard Hill gave way to Hallmark's Crown Center in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
● The Emerson Apartment Hotel (built in 1926 rather than 1929) was designed by architect Phillip T. Drotts, who also designed KCMO's Blackstone and Aladdin Hotels, plus "dozens of distinguished buildings throughout Kansas City, Missouri through the late 1940s." (As per ~drotts.)
● Herman Henry Luetzow, born Nov. 26, 1892, died in Ballwin MO aged 96 on May 13, 1989: as per the Social Security Death Index.
● The Rev. Harry Clayton Rogers DD, born Sep. 6, 1877 in Mt. Sterling KY (as per a 1918 passport application found at ~a) married fellow Kentuckian Fannie A. [surname? born 1878] c.1903 and came to KCMO's Linwood Boulevard Presbyterian Church no later than 1908. The Rogerses had two daughters, Elizabeth (born c.1905) and Sarah (1912-2007).
● "The Linwood Presbyterian church grew out of a Sunday school established in the southeastern part of [Kansas C]ity by the Second [Presbyterian] church [in 1890]... An excellent site was secured by the Men's League of the Second Presbyterian church and work begun at once on a frame chapel, at the southeast corner of Woodland avenue and Linwood boulevard. At present the Rev. Harry C. Rogers is in charge." (Kansas City, Missouri: Its History and Its People, 1808-1908, Vol. 1, by Whitney, Carrie Westlake. Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1908, pp 432-33: viewable at Google Books.)
● In 1918 The Hospital School Journal profiled Linwood Presbyterian's new Home and School for Crippled Children in "The Awakening of a Great Congregation" by Joe F. Sullivan (Vol. VI, No. X, pp. 8-9, including a photo of Dr. Rogers: viewable at Google Books). "Our work for crippled children is the outgrowth of a growing desire on my part and of my people to share the burdens of others. For some five years or more, we have maintained a home for convalescent poor women during the summer months... This church has for years held to its motto, 'whatever your problem, we promise to help'... Nothing that I have done in my whole ministry has afforded me greater happiness than this work. The Home is non-denominational but it is Christian and for children who cannot pay. Thanking you very much and praying for your success, I am, Your fellow worker, Harry C. Rogers, Minister."
● Dr. Rogers was the author of With the Cross and the Flag in France (privately printed in 1919), describing his experiences as a chaplain serving with the AEF during World War I. "He has addressed thousands of our soldiers in every part of France... Many of the services which he conducted there were held under shell fire," remarked B. V. Edworthy of the YMCA.
● The June 17, 1921 Kansas City Star had an illustrated article "about the plans for a large new Linwood Presbyterian Church covering an entire block between Linwood, 33rd, Woodland, and Michigan Avenues, [with a] portrait and description of Harry Rogers, the church's pastor, and other facilities of the church, including a swimming pool, expanded bible school, and adjacent 'home for crippled girls on Michigan avenue.'"
● The Linwood Presbyterian Home and School for Crippled Children was called "the only orthopedic institution in the United States operated and maintained by a religious organization. Linwood was founded by the Rev. Dr. Harry Clayton Rogers. The Kansas City school board furnishes a teacher for the instruction of a special class of indigent pupils, and provides funds made available by Missouri legislation for this purpose." (As per The Care, Cure, and Education of the Crippled Child, by Henry Edward Abt. Elyria OH: The International Society for Crippled Children, 1924, p.109: viewable at Google Books.)
● In 1941 "the Rev. Dr. Harry Clayton Rogers was nearing retirement age and was a much loved pastor of Linwood Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, when he was approached at the General Assembly by the Rev. Dr. W. Clyde Smith and asked to consider coming to San Francisco and establishing a new church... Dr. Rogers had declined many invitations to leave his current church, but starting a new church intrigued him. Year-round golfing and all those beautiful mountain streams to fish in—now that was something to think about. So Dr. Rogers, with Mrs. Rogers (his beloved Fannie), his golf clubs, and fishing pole, set out in his trusty Buick for San Francisco... They opened the doors and windows, and Dr. Rogers stood in the window and preached so that they all might hear. It was different, but then it was Dr. Rogers's belief that a 'preacher,' as he liked to be called, required a bit of the dramatic, and that it required a good jazz player to play the hymns. He had both requirements at hand—he preached and the piano player taught jazz during the week." After founding San Francisco's Church by the Side of the Road (now called Lakeside Presbyterian), the Rogerses moved on to Carmel CA and there founded the Carmel Presbyterian Church in 1954. (As per ~lakeside.) ALLS herself noted: "Dr. Rogers died 1958—wife Fannie 1971." They were buried at El Carmelo Cemetery in Pacific Grove CA.
● The Midland Theatre was designed by Thomas W. Lamb and built by Marcus Loew in 1927. "The exterior of the theatre was constructed in a Renaissance Revival style in cream glazed terra cotta brick, adorned with engaged plasters, winged figures, leaves, flowers, swags, volutes, urns, and arches. A four-story arched window rose above a copper and gold marquee that contained 3,600 light bulbs." The theatre was also renowned "for its over 500,000 feet of gold leaf, five giant Czechoslovakian hand-cut crystal chandeliers, irreplaceable art objects and precious antiques, and spectacular wood and plaster work." Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, the Midland reopened in 2008 after extensive renovation, with all changes meeting historic preservation guidelines: as per Wikipedia.
● Other than Bob Ludeke's "interesting announcement" in the Hamilton Daily News, the only public reference to the Smith-Ludeke wedding was in the Liberty (MO) Tribune's "Marriage Licenses" column for Jan. 30, 1930. (F.S. had deliberately chosen Clay County, north of the Missouri River, in hopes of keeping it out of the Kansas City papers.)
● A list of wedding gifts included a luncheon set, Rockwood cream pitcher and sugar bowl from "Sis" (Mellie Morris Smith); another luncheon set from Aunts Alice Earsom and Mamie Hedges; silverware from Lida Belle Charles; and (written in different ink, at the bottom of the list) more silverware from Grandma Ludeke and Aunt Frieda Falkenstein.
● No explanation has been found regarding ALLS's reported membership in Theta Pi Alpha; at Miami she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha.
● Grandma Ludeke's death certificate said her cause of death was "carcinoma of stomach," with an indefinite date of onset; and "senility" as a contributory factor. (As per Corliss R. Keller MD.) Either ALLS was not aware of these conditions, or chose not to mention them; either way, they could certainly have added to the awkwardness of newlywed ALLS's 1930 visit back home.
● Ethel Glazer (aged 19) was married by a rabbi to Oklahoma-born Louis Pack (aged 22) in Jackson County MO on Feb. 10, 1937. In the 1930 census, Ethel was said to be aged 14.
● ALLS avoided eating chicken and turkey her entire adult life, claiming she'd eaten too much of it as a child. Nevertheless she had to prepare traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners most years of her marriage (with the drumstick reserved for F.S.'s exclusive consumption).
● Eventually Mila Jean would alternate between her first and middle names—much as her great-great-grandmother Elizabeth/Catherine Wuechner had done four generations earlier, though that alternation was not discovered until 2007. "Mila" would be the name she'd be most often called by her husband George Ehrlich.
● The July 15, 1932 Daily News and Evening Journal both mentioned a dinner party thrown by Charles and Doretta Eisel McClung, attended by "Mrs. Francis Smith and daughters Nellie [sic] and Mila Jean, of Kansas City; Bob Ludeke; Mr. and Mrs. Walter B. Charles and Mr. and Mrs. Ed Volkenstein [sic]."
● In Aug. 1932 "Ada Ludeke Smith and daughter" attended a reunion of the Hamilton High School Class of 1925, held at a camp in Woodsdale OH. Katherine Flenner co-chaired the reunion and Helen Stevenson Burnett assisted with its organization. (As per the Aug. 15, 1932 Evening Journal.)
● The Summer 1932 trip was the last time the Smiths saw Ora Callison, who died of cancer on Sep. 2nd. Connie would be "always sorry I never could remember 'Eo' hardly. Was just too young." Circa 1941 she would return to Dayton to be a companion to the widowed Mame, and there produced the Frisby branch of the family.
● In the 1930 census, eight-year-old Catherine (with a "C") Boyle lived at 3902 College with her brother Vincent Boyle (aged 21). They are listed as "roomers" with the Burns sisters, Margaret, Mary, and "Ellan," and their mother Mary. All are from Northern Ireland; as were Vincent and Catherine's parents. In the 1925 census of Kansas City KS, Catherine (aged 3) and Vincent (aged 16) lived with their father John C. Boyle, and siblings Frances (21), Mary Margaret (9), and James (6).
● In the 1930 census, Martha L. White (aged 13) lived at 3915 College with her aunt Mary V. Ware and another niece, Ruth E. Garrison. Ten years earlier, two-year-old Martha lived in Topeka KS with her parents Kenneth G. and Grace White.
● Morris D. Feder was born c.1890; he and wife Dora Lerner Feder (born c.1898) emigrated from Russia in 1907. In KCMO they lived at 5541 Holmes, on the same block where Mila Jean and the Ehrlichs would move in 1962. The Feder Dry Goods Store was operating at 3851 Indiana as late as 1959. Morris died Nov. 30, 1963 and Dora Jan. 28, 1985; they were buried at Kehilath Israel Blue Ridge Cemetery in Independence MO.
● "After moving to Kansas City, I had my [church] membership transferred to Linwood Presbyterian... just a few blocks from the Emerson Apartment Hotel—very convenient! Once more, choir etc. Mellie, Connie, and little Jeanie all attended Linwood Presbyterian. When Mellie got to High School age, she wanted to go with her friends to Agnes Avenue Methodist—permission granted. Same thing happened with Jeanie—she too went to Agnes Ave. Methodist with friends!" (Till being offended as a teen by instructions that she take a no-smoke/no-drink pledge.) "The Smiths were all Methodists!—F.S.S. included. But when I went to Linwood Presbyterian, he very graciously joined with me—wouldn't transfer his letter—but was quite contented with the 'switch.' Much later when we moved to Blue Springs [in 1971], we 'shopped around' for awhile and he instantly liked the Methodist minister—so I felt it was high time for me to go where he wanted to go, for a change. To tell the truth—I never felt completely satisfied (though I joined with him)... Never really felt at home in the Methodist Church... Guess I was a Presbyterian much too long to switch channels... But—what the heck? What difference does it make what route we take?"
● On Sep. 30, 1934, two-year-old "Jeanie went to Sunday School for first time. Refused to give up her penny & insisted on taking a chair home." On Nov. 17, 1946 she made her "one and only venture into violin solo-ing in public" at Agnes Avenue Methodist Church.
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