Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Morning. Dara Knots..

I was out early today walking my red dogs around the neighborhood. Once again I had Kris Kristopherson's evocative song running through my mind. However it was Johnny Cash's cover of the tune that I 'heard'; it is perfect for his smoky low tone, the velvet-rough scrape of a cat's tongue in your ears. It was quiet, almost as if we were all alone in the world except for a few other dogs that barked as we passed by. I've never really been high or wished to be--my 'drug' of choice is something else, topic for another essay--but the loneliness surely resonates.

Which segues neatly into sharing some verses from this season, the main part of the little bit of writing I 've been able to do. They seem rather bleak or dark, I expect, and in some ways they are, but there is always a fine sliver of brightness shining through somewhere just as I feel in the deepest part of my depressions. Without further ado, here they are:

          I
Loneliness designed this gown
That has come to fit me well,
Buttoned tight with solitude
For no one is left to tell.
Long gone dreams of yesteryear
Now a quilt of memories make.
Some nights I draw it over me,
Nights when sleep does me forsake.
Familiar faces, fading
Yet precious still and dear
Are the company I seek.
Though distant, they seem near.
So it may be I am not alone,
For shades and ghosts yet keep
Counsel and give comfort
When the silence grows too deep.

          II
Words are still my playthings
After all these years.
Shape and color may intrigue
But words absorb my tears,
Capture all my joy and pain,
And shape it into rhyme.
I pour my soul out into words
As I have for all my time.
Painting pictures, singing songs
And capturing the taste
Of all that passes near me
That none of it may waste.
Still, words are my tools and toys,
The boards and bricks to make
My feeble try at a legacy
Before my leave I take.
         
          Erosion
A sandstone hoodoo standing yet
In wind and rain that will not let
Its primal lines remain for long.
Though scarred and scored, standing strong
For awhile yet, an eon or two!
What else is there for it to do?

And like that stone, I wear away
As time erodes me, day by day,
As wind and rain of troubled times
Scour me until only the rhymes
Within the core of me remain.
Foundation and frame withstand the pain.


            Anticipated Deja Vu
Looking ahead to a life-to-be
That waits beyond the veil for me.
Thinking of loose ends and broken ties,
Too late hellos and too soon goodbyes.
            With which one will the hand of fate
            Renew our bonds? I anticipate
            A reunion. At first we  do not recognize
            Kindred souls in a new disguise.
Still, strangers we can never be
For the Dara* knot of you and me
Will always entwine and reconnect
With the timeless bonds we both respect.
            I look forward to that bright someday
            And sense it is not too far away.
            You have already gone across
            To prepare and wait. My sense of loss
Diminishes as my days unwind
I’m alone yet I’m not and do not mind
As I look ahead to that life-to-be,
To another chance for you and me.

All poems (c) GMW Aug 2017

*A Dara knot is the main familiar Celtic interwoven pattern, inspired by the tangled roots of the Druid's sacred oak tree. "Dara" is also the use-name of my guardian angel, given to me in a powerful dream a number of years ago.  Here are a few examples. They can be very simple or extremely elaborate but I have a theory the ancient Celts came up with this and the many interlocking/interwoven patterns they used as a way to graphically portray the turns and twists of life and lives, the coincidences and connections, those jade vu moments and the soul mates and soul group we belong with.



Saturday, September 16, 2017

Creative Energies


As I said yesterday, the word-well really ran dry for me for awhile. As I have done before when this happened, I turned to creating with colors and shapes instead of words while it recharged for me. Here are a few things I have done this summer.

Most of you who read this blog know I am an avid sewist, a skill and love inherited from both my grandmothers. I used to make most of my own clothes and many for my daughter but now as a retiree and mostly stay home gal, I have turned to quilts and fabric art. I'd had several beautiful and evocative southwestern/Native American themed pieces for quite awhile, most acquired from my favorite source eQuilter.com. I had wanted to put them to use but the ideas did not want to gell for awhile. Finally I added a few new yards to my stash and voila, I could "see" at least a vision of what I wanted to do.

So many yards of thread, much cutting and tearing to create the right sized pieces and a few rip-out-and-redo sessions later, I ended up with two very unique and colorful double-faced quilts. I always try to make my quilts and wall hangings so they can be used with either side forward and really did it this time. I am not sure if they will finally end up as gifts, sold or kept 'cause I can't bear to part with them. We'll see. Below you can see the two sides of Arizona and Desert.

The other effort I made was to resume taking my jewelry to the local Farmer's and Crafter's  Market every Saturday morning from June through the end of the growing season. This has not been a good year for the local gardeners and small scale truck farmers but there are still a dozen or more folks with their produce displayed and a few other crafters as well. Alameda Park in the middle of Alamogordo is a nice place and pleasant most days this time of year. I'll include a photo of my set-up, when it is windy as my displays are light and can be tossed around if there is a brisk breeze. Earrings are my biggest seller and most plentiful but I also have necklaces, bracelets, matched sets, key rings and a few belt buckles and bolo ties. I enjoy talking to the folks who come by and have made enough so far this season to give me spending money for my upcoming road trip to Arizona!

Windy Day Display



Desert Sunset






Desert Storm



Arizona Native Beauty
Arizona Scenery

Friday, September 15, 2017

Finally Back Again

Summer this year was weird. I have taken a very long sabbatical, much longer than I had originally intended, but it's time to come back and carry on! Those of you who also follow me on Facebook have seen things I posted there including my almost-weekly Flashback Friday pictures. Yes, I am still busily scanning the ginormous collection of Walton/Morgan and even earlier past family members photos. They just go on and on like the Energizer Bunny. The end is still not in sight!

Nostalgia is a funny thing. It seems to kick in more as one gets older. I dare not say "old" as I refuse to accept that label even if it might be getting more true as the time rolls past. Anyway, the last few weeks I have done most of the photos I myself took in the years from 1966 through 1970 when I went to college and then began my first real adult job. Those were years of huge transition for me as I went from a social and partly emotional age of about sixteen going on the actual twenty three or even older in some ways  to a fully independent and self-sufficient life. There were bumps and detours and a very steep learning curve for me in many ways but a lot of fun and memorable times as well. Those photos brought them all back, the good, the bad and a few uglies.

I'll be throwing a few of them at you in the next several posts but today I just wanted to get going again and apologize for being absent an unconscionably long time.  A lot of it was the result of one of my off and on bouts with depression, a need to let the well of words and thoughts recharge for it had gone quite dry, and my usual summer spell of bad eyes with the allergies and my ongoing dry eye condition fighting over my abused eyeballs. I'm coming out of that now and pretty well past the other. It feels good to be back. I did write some verses off and on and I do plan to share some if not most o them before long too.

I still have my dear canine companions and still walk most mornings, watching the seasons change and noting the subtle cues of what is going on in this small segment of the world. I figured I had covered the main flora and fauna pretty well in the past so I have not added much to the pix along that line.

It is almost time for another road trip, not quite the pilgrimage I made in 2015 but similar in some ways. I have a high school reunion to attend on September 23 as the "On The Hill" gang gathers one more time--that is all of us who attended/graduated at the old Jerome High complex before the current Mingus Campus was built in Cottonwood. These are always fun and I am eager and excited. I will also make the trip on the Verde Canyon Scenic Railroad again and after that probably go south to visit family and friends in Tucson and Cochise County. So expect trip reports starting around the first of next month.

Meanwhile go in peace and harmony, one and all!

Here are two shots from my college days, just for spits and giggles!
Morton Hall, my first dorm

Winter festival, Jan 1967

Monday, May 15, 2017

Listening to the desert

We often do not pay much attention to sounds except for the irritating ones like noisy cars with blasting stereos, construction machinery close to our homes, or whining kids and the neighbor's barking dogs. That is a mistake. Reading a book about writing memoirs ,I found some reminders abut how much of a trigger some sounds can be.  So I began to think about listening to the desert--the places I have lived and loved for the greater parts of my life and what I heard and filed away, almost without thought.

The wind--it can whisper or howl, sigh through pine trees up in the mountains or whine in the wires as a clue bad weather is probably coming. There can be a few days when the high desert sits becalmed and heat lies heavy over all like a down cover on your winter bed, but that is rare. Much more often, you can feel a breeze and if you listen you can hear it. The gentlest rustle of mesquite leaves, the flutter of cottonwood leaves above, perhaps some twigs sliding against each other. Here it is more often windy--to me anything over 10 MPH is a wind and not a breeze, to heck with what the official designation is! But breeze or wind, it still talks. Fortunately this is not a really noisy place so I can often hear it and other natural sounds.

The birds. Very early on summer mornings almost everywhere I have lived, birds wake at the first blush of light. The sleepy twitters are soft and almost hesitant at first but grow in volume and frequency with the light. Then the doves start. My favorites are the mourning doves with their soft whoo-ooo-ooo, the middle 'syllable' rising a little, almost breathy and yes, melancholy. The white wings sound more like some of the pigeons--I am not a fan of feral pigeons but it is still a coo rather than the burble-barfy sound the pigeons make. Finally an invasive new species, the Chinese ring-necked doves make a coo that almost imitates a distant voice saying, "bravo six", over and over, like a radio call! I remember and especially like the mourning doves. I heard them so much out at some of the leased pastures and areas where we keep livestock which I visited daily for a number of years. The ones here have a subtly different sound but it is still familiar.

I love the quail too. The Gambel's have a very distinct call, mostly the males. In the spring they call a lot until they find a female to bond with, at least for the season. Both parents care for the babies and watch over them closely until they are close to half grown. Sometimes there seem not to be enough hens to go around and the bachelors get hoarse and begin to look a bit derelict in their lonely state for the coveys break up and each pair goes off alone until the chicks are near-grown late in the summer. For a time, the solitary males are very lonely! I expect some fall prey to hawks or other predators due to carelessness. Nature's way, perhaps, of balancing things again.

And there are the Road Runners. They are New Mexico's state bird but also prevalent in Arizona. The male's spring mating call is an odd burbly sound somewhat like strumming a heavy rubber band, stretched tight. I guess the girls get the message for after a bit you can see a male strutting past with a lizard in his beak, taking it back to the nest to feed his lady while she sits on the eggs. To call one another they have low coo similar to the dove but softer. They are in the Coo Coo family and it is a 'coo-coo' sort of sound.

The song birds have various calls, some I know and some I do not. The thrashers have a slightly lispy whistle. The Finches may sing like a canary (which is actually a kind of Gold Finch) and the sparrows just chirp and twitter. The grackles do 'grackle' in a cackly scratchy way, very talkative birds!

Hummingbirds make a shrill little chatter when they are contesting over a feeder or perch plus the buzz of their wings in fight-flight and in the male's display while courting. The Black Chinned males especially fly in huge looping arcs and their wings almost scream as they descend, a very high pitched whistle. I have not heard it here but in Arizona they had a distinct little song for late fall as they prepared to go south, a squeaky, ratchety little tune repeated two or three times.

Several places I have lived, I have to add the sound of trains. While not exclusive to or part of the desert, they are familiar and comforting to me. In the Verde Valley my brother and I looked forward to the arrival of "The Local", a mixed freight out of Prescott that came for one to three times a week. In Flagstaff I lived a short block from the Santa Fe mainline for two years and grew very used to the sounds. Then there was a long time without that sound. I discovered it again in Hurley, NM with another local coming on from Deming, not quite daily but often. My second sojourn in Colorado, we lived about a mile from the main line shared at that time by BNSF and UP. That sound followed us down to Alamogordo where we hear trains day and night, again a familiar and comfortable sound. We are probably a long half mile from the track here, a connecting one between the BNSF route across northern NM and the UP tracks across the southern edge. One grade crossing is nearly due west and they all blow the familiar long,short,long,long warning whistle as they approach it. Then the steel wheels on the steel rails have a totally distinctive sound, not quite a whine or a whistle but unique.

So I suggest you listen--wherever you are, there will be distinct sounds which will come to trigger certain memories and moods. If you can reconnect with those you knew while growing up or at other specific stages of your life it can be pleasant to reconnect with them or at least let them trigger happy memories. I do that often.

Monday, May 8, 2017

More family tree stuff

I missed last week. Sorry. A new friend I met while I was in Alaska in March --we were both Iditarod volunteers--is into genealogy. Over one of our shared meals, I heard about her Welsh great grandfather who was a minister and had written a book in Welsh (Cymric) that she wanted to have translated and then republished.  I mentioned that my paternal great grandfather was the only one of that generation on whom I had no information. She volunteered to do some detective work for me. And that is certainly what such research is. You have to be open minded, follow every faint lead and check the evidence!  All I had to start with was a picture of his gravestone in Missouri with his date of death and that of his wife. My thanks to Celia Schultz --who is a least a good part Welsh regardless of the last name --for her scholarship thus far. We are filling in some blanks!

John King Lawrence Morgan
As it turns out, we now think John King Lawrence Morgan was born in Pennsylvania in 1831 and at age 29 was married to a woman named Sara or Sarah with whom he had probably more than one child. This comes from the 1860 census. Then somehow between then and 1878 when my paternal grandfather was born, he moved to Missouri and met and married a woman named Martha Martin. They had one stillborn baby, a girl, and my grandfather. It is unlikely to impossible that there were two men with the same name and birthdate so I assume now that Sara died and he left those children, perhaps grown or nearly so with relatives or living on their own and moved west. More information may emerge in time but I do have a photo now and my friend, my brother and I all see some family resemblance. It has not been confirmed yet but perhaps he was the son of a Rev. Jesse Morgan who resided in the same area. I'm waiting for more data to emerge there.

On the other side of the family, I can now definitely share photos of my maternal grandparents and their parents, whose names I already knew, when they were young. The first picture is James Weedin Witt with his wife Millie King Witt and several of their dozen or so children. Grandpa may be the little guy on his dad's knee. The other photo is Allen Wilcox and his wife Ann Eliza Stacy Witt with their two youngest daughters. The taller girl is my grandmother for sure. She was always one to stand erect until she was aged and never quite recovered from a broken hip and that stern and determined expression was a feature too.
James Witt family 

Allen Wilcox family 
It does feel good to explore where you came from and get at least some knowledge of the ancestors without whom one would not exist. Oh, your soul or spirit would have come to another infant but that person would not be the "you" who exists in those reality. While nurture and life experience are powerful forces in shaping each individual, those genes are very important as well! I'll also note that as she grew older, my grandmother Witt looked a great deal like her mother in this picture. And that her father died not too many years later of blood poisoning due to a farm accident that caused a wound which became infected.Tetanus may be a possibility also. I never heard so much as a hint of it, but Ann Eliza could have had some Native American blood--the very dark hair and eyes and rather strong features which Grandma inherited.



Monday, April 24, 2017

Memoir Monday--Family Tree II

Now for the other side of the family! I was blessed to get to know my maternal grandparents quite well. Although we were in Arizona and they were in Kentucky, they did come to visit several times and I wrote letters almost weekly for many years—and got letters, too!  Not to mention birthday cards and many, many parcels of gifts and goodies.

Robert Witt was the son of James Weedin Witt and Millie King Witt. One of the younger children of the large family he was born June 13, 1897 in Estill County, KY. He always said he was not large and strong like his older brothers so he was more studious and got a high school education which was not really common at that time in the rural area. He even taught school for a short while before he went to work for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in the clerical or administrative side. He ended up working there for a long career, mostly in the local area (Irvine, Ky. which the locals pronounce “Irvin”). He usually went by Bob and was very well liked and respected in his community, a quiet but ethical and kind, Christian man.

Lula Belle Wilcox was the next-to youngest child of Alan Wilcox and Ann Eliza Stacy Wilcox. She Estill County. Her father died when she was young, --in 1905-- from blood poisoning due to a wound, probably a farm accident. I am sure she received schooling at least through grade school but probably not beyond that.  She was far from illiterate but her spelling was original at times and she used a lot of “Kentuckyisms” in her speech and writing. I found that charming but my mom was always embarrassed when she slipped and said one! Of course dad would tease her for them; his joking could be quite sharp, too.
Grandma with her
two kids-c: 1925
was born on March 13, 1897, also in

I am not sure how long their courtship was, but Bob and Lula were married December 13, 1918. For awhile they lived on the Wilcox family farm but built a house on “The Pike” as everyone called it when mom was perhaps four or so. She was born on February 19, 1920 and was followed sixteen months later by her only sibling, Robert Jr. who joined the family in June of 1921.

This grandma was also a life-long homemaker and excelled in cooking and sewing. I still have and cherish several fine quilts she made and have fond memories of all the pretty clothes she made for me so I could go to school well dressed. If not for her, I am not sure what I would have worn since blue jeans were not allowed for girls once I was in the middle school age. After I started sewing, pieces of fabric began to come my way as the clothes tapered off.  I also recall her wonderful made-from scratch desserts and fabulous midday Sunday dinners when I finally started to visit once I was grown.  That I did not as a child was mostly due to my dad; long story I shall not go into here!

Witts--summer 1955
My Mom very much favored her dad in looks and in personality. Mama Witt had dark hair and very dark eyes that snapped, almost black, when she was angry or upset. I do not think she was but she could have had Native American blood from her coloring and her strong features.  I suppose she would have been called handsome rather than pretty by most people’s standards but I just loved the warm, kind, giving woman she was and that shown out for me bright a day.

“Papa” Witt, as I always called him, was a slender man of medium height with brown hair and pale blue-gray eyes which Mom inherited and it seems I did as well. He was always neat and almost dapper, not untidy even in chore clothes.  Uncle Bob Jr grew to be quite tall (6’2” or so) and had his mother’s coloring, darker hair and eyes. I sadly did not get to know him well nor his two daughters with whom I am now in touch through Facebook. (Bless and curse the wonders of modern social media!)

Both the older Witts lived long, full lives. Grandma fell on the stairs to the basement and broke a hip when she was about ninety. She never fully recovered from the accident and always used a walker, gradually declining with loss of hearing and sight until I think she just lost the will to go on. She passed away on July 9, 1990. Grandpa lived on and even survived both of his children who were stricken by cancer. I am sure that was hard and sad for him but he had a goal to live to be a hundred and he did so. My husband and I attended his hundredth birthday celebration in June 1997. At that time one would have thought he was seventy five, still very sharp mentally and reasonably active. However, he went downhill quickly after that and went to join his family on April 17, 1998 at a hundred years and ten months of age. He was a very remarkable man and I feel so honored to claim
Robert Witt--100
him as an ancestor.

Well, the Morgan grandparents were fine folks also. Although they never met, Grandpa Witt and Grandpa Morgan knew of each other by reputation through the railroads where both were deeply respected and admired by all who worked with them. The two grandmas were not without some flaws but both were admirable women, totally loyal to and supportive of their men and did their best to raise their children to be good citizens and decent folks.

The Witts were said to have come to the Colonies well before the establishment of the nation, Huguenots fleeing persecution in France. Likely the name had been DeWitt. Anyway, two brothers Peter and John settled first in Virginia and later their descendants moved on to Kentucky. They both had sons named Peter and John. Coupled with a fire that destroyed many of the records in the area where they initially lived, it is hard to follow the lineage exactly but a Silas Witt, probably a grandson of one of them, was granted land near Boonesborough for his role in the Revolutionary War.  From there the family tree is fairly clear.


The Wilcoxes apparently came from Wales where they were called Willcockson and associated with the lord of Powys Castle. They intermarried with some Irish settlers and had been in Kentucky for a very long time. All the female lines are much harder to trace. Like most northern Europeans who settled in America, the old Celtic matrilineal customs were long gone and women were just the “brood mares” to help men perpetuate their lines! This offends modern me but I know the history and accept that what was, is and cannot be changed.  I do know I am a good bit Irish and some Welsh on both sides with a bit of English, Scots and perhaps French scattered through the mix. Not a bad stew but it doesn’t matter greatly to me. I am more concerned with the closer part of my family tree and respect those ancestors and appreciate the gifts they passed to me. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Memoir--Family Tree I

Family Trees--The Morgan/McCormack side

As a child I gave very little thought to ancestors. I suppose most don’t. We are much too concerned with where we are going, what we will become and the whole process of becoming a “grown up” to care much about our roots. For many, ancestry hardly emerges as a concern until middle age or even later. Possibly when the older members of the family began to die off, I suddenly got interested in and concerned about saving for posterity whatever information I could. I started to fall heir to family photographs, bits and pieces of genealogical research and then tried to dredge up old stories I had subconsciously recorded when I was young.

Now I find myself the unlikely matriarch of the clan, both of my cousins’ generation which included both family lines and even somewhat of my step children and grandchildren.  It is too late now for regrets that I did not ask more questions, get names written on the backs of old photographs and become more organized in my archival tasks. But here I am, and I’m the best there is in this particular situation—sad though that may be!

I really do not remember my paternal grandparents because they died when I was very small. I have some photos and family stories and maybe a very dim vignette or two that might be memory and might be just what I have been told or imagination.

My paternal grandfather was an only child although there had been a girl born either before or after him who was either stillborn or died very young. His mother had been a widow, Martha Jane Martin, with older children but she and his father only had him. I know his father’s name was John King Lawrence Morgan. The story was he was a riverboat captain on the Missouri, fell ill with something like typhoid and was nursed back to health by a widow who ran a boarding house and later they were married. He just appears as if born full grown! The pair was buried in Missouri, in a Pisgah Cemetery in Saline County. I do have a photo of the stone with dates.   Grandpa was born on June 4, 1978 in Elmwood, Missouri.

Grandma with me, spring '43


Grandma Morgan

Grandma came from an old Virginia family distant kin in one line to the Birds, Carters etc. Her family migrated to Missouri either before or after the Civil War. Her maternal grandparents were first cousins, offspring of two brothers named Haynie. Her father’s name was Daniel McCormack and he was born in Kentucky but came to Missouri.  Grandma, born Dec 28, 1879 was apparently the youngest of several children having one older sister and a least four or five brothers. My dad’s cousin, the son of Grandma’s sister, did a lot of genealogical research and compiled a book so that side of the family, if one trusts his research, is well documented back to the days of Charlemagne!.

At any rate, Charles Alva Morgan married Harriet Vernetta McCormack on April 3, 1905. They lived in Slater, Columbia and Kansas City, Missouri and produced five children, three girls and two boys. They were in order Grace Vernetta,  Ruth Alexandria, Charles McCormack, Roxie Lee and Daniel Lawrence. All but my dad, Charles, are buried in Missouri, in the same cemetery as their parents in Slater, the Slater City Cemetery. The two elder sisters had no children. Dad had three, Aunt Roxie had two sons and Uncle Dan had two girls and a boy plus four of his wife’s children that he adopted.

Sad to say I had little contact with those cousins while I was growing up and never did bond with them very much. Grandma had the huge obsession with family common among the Irish and her children were almost equally intense about it except for Dad. He always went his own way. Unfortunately, he usually only contacted his siblings when he wanted something and never lived close to them after he left home. I think the general consensus is that he was spoiled rotten and always willfully self-centered though very charming and charismatic when he chose to be The other four all stayed in proximity for most of their lives.

Grandma was never anything except a homemaker and I gather that was her choice and good fortune. She was a fine cook and an excellent seamstress and perhaps aided and abetted by her daughters, pushed to move up to larger and better homes and places where all her children could go to college.  I suppose she may have had a high school education. Grandpa did and a business college course as well.but all five of their kids got one or more degrees.  All three girls were teachers and Dad also taught a few years. Uncle became a surgeon. I’ve heard that Grandma was one to celebrate all the holidays with great gusto and try to make even ordinary days special and fun. As a child, I tended to idolize her memory and the many stories my dad told about her. I wanted nothing more than to be considered like her.

As a young woman, she had beautiful auburn hair and was quite pretty from one early photo I have. However, in later years she grew very heavy and I am sure that impacted her health. She was probably at least borderline diabetic and had heart and circulatory problems that caused her early death. She died on May 3, 1945 at the age of sixty five.  I would guess she was about 5’6” and I am sure weighed over two hundred pounds at her death.  

Grandpa was a large man, about 6’2” and he also became heavy. I found from an obituary that he served in the Spanish-American War though not as part of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. He had also gone out west as a youth perhaps with or to see a half brother or other relative on his mother’s side, where he worked awhile in Wyoming and then came back to Missouri to care for aged parents. There he met and fell in love with Grandma. She seems to have been the only woman for him and he was enamored by her vivacious nature, beauty and charm. 
Grandpa Morgan, Roxie, Dad, Grace, Ruth, Dan--
ready for their mother's funeral

His lifelong trade was railroading. I’m not sure where he started but he ended up a passenger conductor for the Chicago and Alton Railroad, a long-defunct Midwestern line. This meant he was gone a lot and it seems he gave his wife free rein and all the financial support her could, leaving the household and child-rearing in her hands almost completely. This was both good and bad! He was devastated when Grandma died and just existed for a few more years, moving to southern California to live with his youngest daughter for his final years. He died on November 1, 1947 at the age of sixty nine.

The five Morgan children died in the same order as their birth. All but Uncle Dan were diabetic the last years of their life and most had heart or arterial diseases that led to their deaths. Aunt Ruth also had cancer. She had a mastectomy in her early fifties and eventually got a brain tumor which was her immediate cause of death. Uncle Dan stayed leaner and more fit but finally got prostate cancer and declined rapidly in health after that. He was in his early 890s but the rest were in mid-seventies. Dad was just short of 77 at his death. Actually I suppose they all lived fairly normal or average life spans for their times. I just tend to contrast theirs to the long lives of my maternal grandparents. They seemed to come from some especially hardy and healthy Kentucky hill people and were survivors.