Mom had a cousin, Gladys Gray Stearns, with whom she exchanged Christmas cards and letters every year. I last heard from Gladys seven years ago when she wrote me after I had sent her a copy of Mom's obituary and funeral program.
Each year since I have thought, "I should write to Gladys and see how she is doing." I also wanted to ask her about her grandmother, Josie Mauderly Gray - how did she end up in Plainville, IL? So a couple days ago I googled 'Gladys Stearns, Dayton, OH' to see if her address was still the same. And what I found was her obituary. Gladys died August 16.
But with the names and city of her children and the aide of the world wide web, I am in touch with her daughter, Debbie. She said she has nine boxes of her Mom's things to go through and that somewhere in there she is sure there is some Gray family history. So maybe I will learn more about Aunt Josie after all.
Pictured here are Eva and Joe Mauderly, Rufus and Kate (Mauderly) Ridnour and Josie (Mauderly) Gray. Great Aunt Josie was back from Illinois visiting her Iowa kin. The photo was taken at Great Grandpa and Grandma Ridnour's home NE of Nodaway.
Josie's son, Roy Gray, and my grandpa, Joe Ridnour were first cousins. One of my earliest memories is of a trip to Plainville to visit the Grays when I was four years old. We also spent time with Roy's sister, Nellie Anderson, and family in Quincy, IL.
One of the places we went during our time in Illinois was out to the Gray family farm. If my memory is correct, that is where this picture was taken "at the spring east of Plainville, Ill." Ron and I are in back with Dad who had just filled our water jug with cold, clear, spring water. Betty and Mom are in the foreground.
So many times I have wondered if this spring is still there and how to get there from Plainville. I don't think we ever went back after the Gray's sold their farm even though we went to Illinois to visit several more times over the years - including once when my children were little.
As I blogged in my September 18, 2009 "Illinois Connection", I still wonder how that branch of the family ended up back in Illinois. What I didn't ask Gladys about in time, I may still be able to learn from her daughter. And Gladys's obituary poses another question: "Why was she born in Yellowstone Park?"