Ruth Clock was a couple of years older than her brother (my dad) Charles. Although Jeff & Ruth Elmer lived just 180 miles away from our home in Oregon …up in Seattle, I don’t recall seeing her very often throughout the years. But I do recall thinking she had a great sense of humor, at least around my dad …and us kids. So I have the fondest memories of her. She and Uncle Jeff had two girls, Ann and Jane. I have seen quite a bit of my cousin Jane and her husband, Bob.
YOUNG RUTH & YOUNGER CHARLES CLOCK:
RUTH AT CHURCH CAMP
RUTH (in front) and MARY with friend …back porch of home, W Tulsa.
1997 LETTER FROM AUNT RITA ….TO HER NIECE, JANE, Ruth’s daughter) ….HER RECOLLECTIONS ON THE PHOTO ABOVE:
RUTH CLOCK AT 20 (1931):
RUTH and JEFF WITH BABY ANN:
(Both photos are from Karon Clock Lemming’s booklet, “Our Ancestors”, 2012).
RUTH, ANN and GRANDMOTHER CLOCK (Margaret)
A STORY ABOUT MY AUNT RUTH:
This story is from the booklet …”Mom and Dad: Charles & Ellen Clock”, by Barry M. Clock (1998)
JANE ELMER & PITCH: My Aunt Ruth’s youngest daughter with Chas & Ellen Clock’s dog (1979).
(L to R) ELLEN CLOCK, JANE ELMER, ROAVENE CLOCK, JULIE CLOCK, 1970’s at Ladd Hill, OR.
JANE’S RECOLLECTIONS OF HER PARENTS (Ruth Clock Elmer & Jeff Elmer)
My memories and memories told to me by my father.
I was brought into this world by a midwife, probably because my father was a Christian Scientist and did not believe in going to the hospital. I understand that my mother used a few choice words, as I was being born. I was a 9# baby.
Mom soon became depressed and must have been over whelmed with the responsibility of having my sister, Ann and a new baby to take care of. She took us on a ferry boat ride and tried to toss me overboard. I learned about this event when I was in my 40’s, after mom had past on. As a note of interest, we never talked about mom’s mental illness, while we were growing up.
Mom was taken to Western State Hospital, in Tacoma, to get well. She remained there for a few years. Uncle George Clock and Aunt Roavene lived in Tacoma and were kind enough to care for us. Dad paid them and he was able to continue working at Boeing in Seattle and visited mom and us every weekend. When I was grown, I saw the movie about Francis Farmer, the actress. She was there the same time mom was. They both received shock treatments to get them out of their depressions or for what might be ailing them.
During these years Roavene and George became very attached to Ann and I and told dad that they wanted to adopt us. Dad told mom about the adoption and mom got well very quickly and we moved back to Seattle. Mom promised Roavene that Ann and I would share all the holidays with them in Tacoma and we did. Dad would drive us to Tacoma or the folks would put us on a bus, when we were old enough and Roavene would pick us up in Tacoma. Mom stopped leaving Seattle and would not go to Tacoma with us. Maybe it was bad memories about Western State.
We grew up in a West Seattle neighborhood in a house that dad had purchased right after World War 11, site unseen. There was such a housing shortage, he put money down on the first available house and we moved out of the housing project.
To me, it was a wonderful neighborhood, because everyone knew everyone else. Many families had children our age and many fathers worked for Boeing and the mothers stayed at home and raised the kids. Mom was very outgoing and started a coffee klatch with the neighbors during the day.
Mom gave us wonderful birthday parties and invited the neighbor kids and our school friends. She played the piano and was very good at it. She made us homemade clothes, that we never appreciated and did beautiful work. She also made the drapes for the house. I remember her sitting at the sewing machine, with an old beat up cigarette, that had never been lit. Also, I remember the straight pins that she stepped on and the yard sticks that she broke over our butts, when we were misbehaving. Mom wanted us to try new activities, piano lessons, hula lessons, ballet and lots of other classes offered at the YWCA. We were Girl Scouts for a while. We biked and roller skated in the neighborhood. We had a homemade ping pong table out in shed in the back yard. Also Ann and I formed a girls club for a while.
We always had neighbor kids in the yard. They all seemed to like mom. She would give them treats and often took some of us to Alki beach. Dad car pooled it to work or took the bus and left mom the 1949 Chevy. We played all afternoon in cold Puget Sound and got to ride in the trunk of the car, as we were wet and full of sand. We propped the trunk open and peered out and giggled a lot. Sometimes we got an ice cream cone on the way home for a nickel.
Another reason that the kids may have gathered at our place were all the pets we had. We had a white rabbit, that was supposed to be house trained, 2 ducks won at the Hi Yu Carnival, a dog, a cat with fleas, a bird and a goldfish. Mom let us have any pet that we wanted. Dad did not feel the same about our Wild Kingdome.
Ann and I found the goldfish floundering at the top of the bowl one evening and mom said, “to wait until dad gets home and have him pray for the fish.” So he came home and did pray for the fish and gave it a shot of salt and it came back to life for a while and then was flushed out to sea. The 2 ducks followed mom around the yard like she was their mother. One day she stepped back and broke one of the ducks necks in front of a few neighbor kids and felt just awful about it. Our dogs and cats were never neutered and had the run of the neighborhood. One time, Skippy the dog, smelled a dog in heat and broke down the neighbors door to get at her. Then came the pups that looked like him. There was the hollowing of our tomcat, Frisky, on the fence outside at night. I remember a litter of kittens, so we must have had a female cat at one time also.
Mom decided that she wanted to work part time as a legal secretary and got a job at the Smith Tower in Pioneer Square, downtown Seattle. Our neighbor Rosemary Kyle took care of us and we played with her daughter, Diane, who was two years younger than me. Mom worked there until the earthquake of 1949, which closed down the Smith Tower for sometime.
Mom became more and more involved with neighborhood activities. She walked us part way to school each morning. She joined the PTA at school and volunteered in the office at school.
I want to stress the importance of the examples that mom set for us. Ever since I can remember, mom reached out to neighbors in trouble. She was the first one to knock on their door and ask if she could help them out. Examples: A death of a spouse. There was our next door neighbor, who came down with polio. He had two small children and mom took care of the kids and did her dishes and some housework, while his wife visited her husband at the VA Hospital. Another neighbor had a badly broken arm, after a car accident, and she did the same for her family. A nice man across the street from us, sold us our shoes at the West Seattle Junction. His family was out one night and he committed suicide, which was a tragedy for our neighborhood. Everyone wished that they could have helped him. When Ann and I heard about it, we cried ourselves to sleep. Mom was there the next morning with a plant for the neighbors family. Mom was especially kind to old ladies, who lived by themselves. She would visit them and see if they needed anything from the store. When new people moved into the neighborhood she would greet them with flowers from our yard. She always asked for her vases back though. She also asked us to go to weddings and funerals with her and we did.
As a family, we went out to Chinese dinner at the New Luck Toy every two weeks on
payday. We went to 25 cent movies every weekend, sometimes with the folks and sometimes we popped corn and Ann and I would walk to the movies with bags of popcorn on our own. We went to free events, art museums, concerts, parades, etc. We walked from our house to our favorite park, Lincoln Park. There is a saltwater pool in the park that we enjoyed. At other times we drove to the park with a 12′ aluminum boat on top of the car and put the boat in the Puget Sound and rowed around in the shallow water looking for sealife. We often cooked breakfast at a shelter on the beach. These were simple outings that didn’t cost much, but were lots of fun. As a note of interest to some, my mom and dad’s ashes are scattered in Lincoln Park.
Our family and religion.
Mom was a Methodist Ministers daughter and played the piano for the church services at one time. So dad was a Christian Scientist. When dad became a Reader for the church, which was a 3 year commitment, mom would not go to his first service. Ann went with Dad and I went to the Methodist church with mom. Mom cried quietly through the whole service. Eventually we all started to support dad and went to the Christian Science church, but mom’s heart was not in it. She did, however, keep a beat up Science and Health by her bedside. She was always striving for a deeper understanding of the religion, I think.
On many Sunday nights she took Ann and I to any church in the neighborhood that had music and singing go on. We usually stayed until they passed the offering plate and then left before the preaching started. I came away with a real love of gospel songs, that I know by heart and a respect for other religions and beliefs.
Back to the neighborhood.
We were growing up and even when I was in my senior year, mom would head out the door with me and walk me to the bus stop, and then continue to the nearest coffee shop to catch up on the gossip. The neighborhood was changing and friends moved away. Ann and I moved out and mom was left with an “empty nest”.
About that time Dad was offered a 2 year transfer with Boeing to Huntsville, Alabama. We missed them and visited them one time. They lived in an apartment with lots of other Boeing folks and really enjoyed themselves. Mom had two cocker spaniels to care for.
Ann and I met our future husbands, while the folks were away. The folks came home and Ann got married and moved to Colorado and Houston. I eventually married also. Then both Ann and I eventually got divorced. It’s a long painful story.
Dad retired, a thing that my mom dreaded. I think that she felt like they were getting old and that life was over. At one time Ann and mom were both mentally ill at the same time and placed in different hospitals. They both got well enough and on the proper medication, but Ann wanted to make it on her own, without the help of her family and she did. She found a good job and life on lower Queen Anne, by the Seattle Center. She was in her same apartment for 28 years. Ann stayed mentally healthy, but physically had many health issues. She had the same psychologist for years and was very fond on him. Ann told me that she finally found that she was Bipolar. We became friends again during the last two years of her life and we had time to laugh and cry together, before she passed on.
My mom eventually gave up on life. She stopped eating and taking her medication and did not want to go back to the hospital. One neighbor wrote, in a sympathy card, that she wished she could have helped her, but did not know how.
I look back on mom’s life and know that the good years out weighed the bad ones. She had a generous heart and a wonderful sense of humor. I know that my father loved her and was loyal to the end.
I could not talk about my mother’s death for years. Finally, I can look back and write about my family experiences and remember the good times.
Written by Jane Elmer Hollingsworth, March 2012.
STAYING IN TOUCH
I am writing to stress the importance of getting to know your cousins.
Because of cousin Mary Clock-Clarke, a few of us 1st cousins have been able to meet in Broken Arrow, Ok. in February for the last few years. Mary and her husband, Lindsay, come to the 160 acre farm that her folks left to Mary and her brother, Dr.Raymond Clock and stay for a month The rest of the time they live on a sheep station in South Australia. The Broken Arrow farm is a beautiful setting with a view of cattle and new calves grazing in the field.
Quentin Clock, Mary’s father lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma near his mother, Margaret Clock. I think that my Grandmother must have saved every photo and letter that was sent to her by her children. All of this good information about our family was saved and taken eventually to the farm. One year were cousins sorted out the letters and photos and took them to our various homes. There is a lot of interesting stuff in the letters about our ancestors.
Now that the letters are scattered I think that it would be fun to post a letter or two with a photo of the person that wrote it on the Clock Blog, so that we could all know more about our ancestors. Many of the letters were written to our Grandparents Wilkie and Margaret Clock.
Another thing happened while I was visiting Broken Arrow one year. We cousins walked over to Raymond’s house across the pasture for some exercise. It was kind of muddy in places and we had to step around cow pies. When we got back to Mary’s house there was only one of us that had no mud on them and it was cousin Robert Clock from Winfield, Ks. Go figure! Ha!
We get to know each other just a little bit better each time we visit. We talk about our aches and pains and families and the fact that we are the seniors now.
This last visit I saw my 1st Armadillo going under Mary’s house. Then there was theChicken Story. Mary bought a roasted chicken at Sams for dinner, but the refrigeratorwas full and we were not going to eat for a couple of hours. I was kind of fussy about leaving chicken out on the counter in the warm kitchen. Mary said, “put it out on the table on the deck”. We had a nice happy hour or two out in Mary’s den, art studio and I came in the house to make a salad and then remembered the chicken. By that time Ray had come to join me. I let out a howl when I saw the chicken on the floor of the deck. Some animal had been enjoying our dinner and had eaten about half of the chicken. I said, “Ray what should we do, you know how Mary hates to waste food”? Ray said, “I’m not eating that chicken” and it went in the garbage. Later Ray took it out of the garbage to give to his dogs, as he was out of dog food. Just a funny thing that happened down on the farm.
Anyway, it is so important to reach out to cousins and try to visit them when you can.
Written by Jane Elmer Hollingsworth, March, 2013