Friday, April 20, 2012

Pop Friddle

Mom’s Pop Friddle was possibly the most important person in her small world as a child.  There is no doubt that her parents and grandmother were of great import…but Pop Friddle was special.  He was the one who gave her a bear hug and made her feel safe and loved…Pop was patient,kind, and loving.  During her early life, Pop, was her anchor when everything else was in chaos.  He was there to give her comfort when her father died or when the family home burned down.  When she got in trouble with her mother, he was the one she ran too.  When she was 14 and he was trapped under the effects of a stroke, she was holding his hand when he died.

Lower Right - Martha Brown Friddles - Upper right - Callie Friddles and James B. Friddles next to her.
David Carl Friddle or “Pop” as he was called by nearly everyone didn’t have an easy start to life.  His parents married in 1878 when his father was 52 years old and his mother was 16.  When Pop was born in 1889, he was the 10th child for Moses Friddle.  (He’d had at least three wives who mothered the 10 children) Within a year after Pop’s birth, Moses Friddle died.  Pop’s mother was Martha “Mattie” Brown.  She was the daughter of John and Margaret Brown and has been very difficult to trace.  When she married Moses Friddles in 1878, she was 16 years old.  I’m sure there wasn’t much choice in husbands after the devastation of the Civil War.  I know that she worked in old Judge Vaught’s house after Moses Friddles death and her children were with her at that point.  However, by the 1900 census, her chidlren were living in other households as servants, including Pop Friddle at 11 years old.  She married again after her second husband and died in 1908.

I think that Pop Friddle was essentially on his own as a young child.  The old Judge that he lived with and worked for taught him how to read and write and that was probably the only schooling that he really had.  By the time he was an adult, Pop was 6 feet tall with a barrell chest and was incredibly strong.  I’m sure he worked as a handyman and farm worker and worked across the county.  That’s the only way I can think of how he met Sophia Dollar aka “Mom Friddle”.  She lived on the other side of the county and not in the local town but rather out of the small town of Shingletown.  Pop Friddle lived out closer to Trade growing up…but I am fairly sure he never really had a home.  Pop Friddle didn’t have the normal childhood that most of us had – his father had died, his mother remarried and was living her own life away from her children.  For most of his childhood, he had been alone.  At the end of 1908, he and Mom Friddle eloped.  He was 19 years old and she was 14.  They lived near her step grandmother’s home in near Shingletown, but very quickly they had a child on the way.  Pop Friddle’s oldest brother wrote them and encouraged them to come out west.  After all, there was nothing that was keeping them in Johnson Co., TN – there was likely little opportunity for work or for a home of their own.  By late 1910, Pop Friddle was on out west and working for the railroad.  Mom Friddle joined him in November with their young son, Jack in tow. 
Pop Friddle teaching Mom Friddle how to shoot...Jack in front of Pop.

Mom and Pop Friddle lived up on Grouse Flats, Wallowa Co., OR until the early 1920’s when they moved to Pomeroy,  WA so Jack could go to High School and then they moved to Lewiston, ID in the late 1920’s.  Mom and Pop Friddle bought a large chunk of land at the top of Thain Grade in Lewiston and Pop worked for the irrigation department for a dollar a day.  Half of the money went to support his family and the other half went to pay for the land.  By the time my mother was born in 1941, Pop Friddle was starting to feel the effects of ill health.  For the rest of his life, he experienced the effects of small strokes.  He wasn’t able to be as active as he liked…but he still puttered around the place doing what he could.  I think he especially loved having his daughter’s family live so close so he could enjoy her children.  Mom Friddle traveled back to Tennessee and North Carolina several times to visit her family but Pop never went back.  By the time 1930 had rolled around, he didn’t have any living siblings to go back and visit.  His brother that had stayed back in Tennessee died of either suicide or was murdered in 1928.  There was nothing left for him there, and he never wanted to go back.
Pop Friddle in his chair with his dog Tauser.

As Pop got older, the strokes started to inhibit his life even further, and he wasn’t able to do much more than sit in his chair.  My mother remembered seeing her grandmparents sit and hold hands and tell stories about each other.  They were made up stories that were ridiculous but each would nod as if they were true.  Both of them were great story tellers.  According to my Grandma Cappy’s diary, during the last part of November in 1954, she and Pop went shopping.  He was more generous than normal and bought her a brand new coat and special gifts for his granddaughters.  Perhaps he knew that his time was short…because just after Christmas he had another stroke that completely incapacitated him.  For two weeks he laid in that bed and could speak or move.  All he could do was communicate with his eyes and smile with his lips.  Mom sat with her grandfather and read to him stories and out of the Bible.  Mom Friddle and Grandma Cappy stayed with him most days.  On the morning of January 4th, Mom was holding his hand and knowing at 14 years old that she was going to lose her beloved “Pop”.  She saw him smile and look at her and then look towards Mom Friddle with a loving glance and then he closed his eyes and slipped away.

I never knew my great grandfather, he died 12 years before I was even born.  But for most of my life, I have heard storeis about him from his children but most especially from his granddaughter, my mother.  Now, all of them have passed on and all that is left are the stories that I grew up hearing.  I’ve always thought that he had a tragic young life – but most of that didn’t come out until long after he died.  He didn’t like to complain about what had passed but lived completely for his beloved wife, children, and grandchildren.  The love he showed to his family lived far past his death and made a lasting impact on his family and friends.