Friday, October 28, 2011

Pop Friddle - A Gentle Giant


My mother adored her grandfather.  Her Pop Friddle was the one who comforted her when her feelings  were hurt by gathering her in his arms to give her a big bear hug.  As a little girl, she told him her stories, her problems and her fears and he would patiently and lovingly listened to her and give her the attention that she craved.  Since he and Mom Friddle only lived a 100 feet or so away from my mother’s house – they spent a lot of time together.  I’m sure Pop Friddle would go about doing his chores with mother following him behind chattering away.  On some occasions, Mom Friddle would make her a fried egg sandwich to get her to go home.  Mom’s bond with both of her grandparents was strong…but it was especially strong with her grandfather, Pop Friddle.
Capitola, David Carl Friddle aka Pop, Jack Friddle, & Sophie Dollar Friddle aka Mom - Taken abt 1920

Pop Friddle (David Carl Friddle) was born in 1889 in Mountain City, Johnson Co., TN.  His father died when he was a year old and by the time of the 1900 census, he was recorded in another household as a servant.  I’m not sure he was able to ever go to school but he was taught to read and write and simple math by old Judge Vaught.  Most of his knowledge was self-taught.  Pop Friddle eloped with Mom Friddle when he was 19 and she was 14 and by late 1910 they had come west to settle at Grouse Flats, Wallowa Co., OR.  Mom and Pop Friddle had Uncle Jack back in Mountain City, TN in 1909, my grandmother Capitola in 1911, son Ronald in 1914 (he died at three months) and lastly Claude in 1924. By 1928, he and Mom Friddle were living in Lewiston, ID on land that was located on the block of Thain Rd and Stewart Ave today.  Pop Friddle worked for $1 a day for the Irrigation district, and half of his salary went to pay for that land and the rest to support his family.  Pop Friddle worked hard at his job but also at home where he and Mom Friddle raised huge gardens, berry bushes and orchards and farm animals – all to provide for his family as best he could.  During the depression, his family were able to eat, had a good home and loving parents.  He was even able to provide the resources so his daughter could go to college and all three of his children were able to graduate from high school.   Much more than many other families during the same period. He was a big man – over 6 feet and was stocky and extremely strong.  My mother could remember him going to the local circus and bending horse shoes by hand.  Pop Friddle never wanted to return to the home of his childhood – I don’t think there was anything there he wanted to remember.  Those early years of his life didn’t seem to impact the kindly and adoring father and grandfather that he was by all accounts
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Pop Friddle with Tauser (the dog) - Taken about 1945
Mom and Pop Friddle had given a parcel of land to each one of their children as they married.  Grandma Cappy and her first husband built a lumber lot and sold lumber from the mill that my step grandfather had on McCormack Ridge.  Therefore, my grandmother was busy running her business, and while she loved her children – it was Mom and Pop Friddle who took up the slack for the working mother.  My mother remembered being scolded by her mother and running to Pop Friddle for comfort.  When her mother came down to find her – Pop Friddle scolded Grandma Cappy for being too strict to my mother.  My mother could remember her grandparents having a very loving and affectionate relationship.  Humor and storytelling were a part of who they were and if they could be combined…all the better.  Mom said that she could remember Mom Friddle telling a story about Pop Friddle that she knew were lies and exaggerations and Pop Friddle would slightly smile and nod his head as if to say it was all true. 

In late 1954, Pop Friddle had had several strokes and wasn’t able to do too much.  According to my grandmother’s diary – during one afternoon in late November, Grandma Cappy and Pop Friddle went shopping.  He bought his daughter a new coat and bought an accordion for Joan (Mom’s sister) and a violin for my mother (Betty).  My mother thought those presents were from her parents – she never knew that Pop Friddle had bought them as special gifts.  Just after Christmas, Pop Friddle suffered his worst stroke yet.  He lay in his bed for almost 2 weeks unable to speak or move very much.  The only way he could communicate was with the squeeze of a hand and his eyes and slight smile.  On January 4th, mother was sitting by the bed holding Pop’s hand while her mother and grandmother were sitting in the corner talking.  Mom remembered Pop looking at her and then looking towards Mom Friddle and smiling and then he slipped away.

I never knew my great grandfather – most of my life I have seen pictures and heard numerous stories about him both from my mother and his children.  What a legacy to leave – when his children and grandchildren talked about him – a funny or loving story was usually told that made the listener smile or laugh.  From such humble beginnings and with no example to work from – he was wonderful husband, father, and grandfather – in short he lived a successful life by the most important standard of all – he was loved and respected by all those who knew him!