Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

Early Family Years


Grandmother and Grandad Spess’s first house was in the basin outside of The ‘Ford. I’ve always been disappointed that it wasn’t made of logs, like the house where Grandad grew up.

Instead of this


They had this

which was probably better building material, easier to build, and I’m sure it was easier to get and haul the materials.

These are my dad’s parents and his two oldest brothers. Uncle Paul (the baby in Grandmother’s arms) was born when Frank was two, after G & G had been married two years, so counting on my fingers and toes, I’m thinking this picture was taken in the summer of 1926. 

That makes Grandad twenty six and Grandmother twenty one. 

Aren’t they cute? I’m sure Grandmother was never a flapper, but her dress, shoes and hair all tell what era it is. Men aren’t as easy to date by their clothes.

Very near this house is a spring. I don’t know if they carried their water from there or if they had a way to pump it. Below the spring today is the catfish pond. I loved fishing there as a kid. The house had fallen down by the time I was big enough to notice, but I remember seeing the old wood lying in the dirt.

The little boy is Uncle Frank.

Isn’t it cute the way his socks bag on top of his shoes? 😉 I didn’t realize how much his grandchildren look like him until I saw this pictures. Today this little boy is a great-grandfather and lives just a little way from where this picture was taken.

By the time they passed away, G & G had four children (Frank, Paul, Phyllis and Carol) and nineteen grandchildren. I don’t know if anyone has ever calculate the number of great-grandchildren.

Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

10 thoughts on “Early Family Years

  1. They were a gorgeous couple!

  2. Hi Terri!
    They were so cute. Having known them only in the last part of their lives, I had to be told who these people were.
    I wonder if Grandmother could Charleston? (Doubtful!)

  3. Aw, come on, count up the great- and great-great-grandchildren. You can borrow fingers and toes if you need them.

    • Man, you’re asking a lot, M. Okay, let’s see.
      Okay, I had to make an excel sheet to do this, M. LOL. Here we go–direct offspring.
      Counting children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren–AT LEAST 102, and I know I’m leaving some out.
      That is one full quiver!

      • Isn’t it sad how families have shrunk? I had a TON of first and second cousins on both sides of my family. (Mom was one of twelve kids, Daddy one of seven.) Then we had just one kid who married another only child, and they’ve had an only child. He doesn’t have near the extended family we did.

  4. Susan, Love seeing these old pics–such a great looking family–Didn’t realize how much Aunt Ruby & my Mamma looked alike. VERY doubtful that Ruby or any of the Mitchell girls knew how to Charleston or got to dance at all. G&G Mitchell were so very strict!! Maybe after she got married she went dancing??

    • I don’t think Grandmother ever danced, Sharon. (When I learned to Charleston, she didn’t get up and boogey with me, that’s for sure.) But the styles are from the era when they did that dance.
      We have some interesting family stories about G & G’s wedding day. Have you ever heard them?

      • Susan, I think you are right about the dancing. I always loved to dance, but that certainly wasn’t allowed by G&G Mitchell. Living right across the street from them, we had to be extra good ~ LOL ~ I can only imagine the high standards you were held to by living next door to your grandparents. I haven’t heard the stories of their wedding day, but would love to know them. When Momma died so young, there was a wealth of information that went with her to Heaven. There are so very many questions I would love to have answered about her early life. I didn’t have the wisdom to ask her questions about that at the age of 15. We need to have a lunch date & share stories!

I'm so glad you dropped by my Small Town World! Hope you'll leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s