Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Small Friddle Family


My grandmother was the middle child in a family of five which included her parents and older and younger brother.    When my great grandparents came out from Tennessee in 1910 with their small son – only Pop Friddle’s brother and sister lived nearby  and provided much needed support when they moved west – however, by the time my grandmother was in high school there were only a few cousins left and all they had was their small family.

Grandma Cappy’s family moved to Pomeroy, WA in the early 1920’s so Cappy’s older brother, Jack could go to high school.  After he graduated, the family moved to Lewiston and later bought a good sized chunk of land in the Lewiston Orchards on the corner of Thain and Stewart. Grandma Cappy was in the first class that went through and graduated at the new high school.  This is the same high school that my mother graduated from, as well as all of my siblings and myself.

Jack was Grandma’s older brother.  He was a typical older brother.  He was a terrible tease and very protective.  Knowing my grandmother, she probably resisted most of his protective instincts.  She might have been small, but she could take care of herself.  When Jack and Grandma Cappy’s younger brother was born in 1924 – Jack was initially horrified that his parents could have another child.  When Claude was born, Jack became the most adoring of big brothers.  On the other hand, Grandma Cappy became a strict older sister.  Claude once told me that “Sis, paddled him more often than his mother did.”  She took her responsibility towards her younger brother seriously and doled out as much affection as discipline.  The two brothers and their parents all shared the love a good story and wonderful sense of humor.  I’m not sure my grandmother really got their jokes and I suspect that she was a target of many of Jack’s schemes.

Cappy & Claude
As they grew older – Jack married and moved away but the close ties remained.  When Grandma Cappy married in 1934, it was Vancouver, WA where they got married near where her brother lived.  Since it was the 1930’s and she was teacher, it was frowned upon for her to be married, so they kept it secret.  So when Grandma married – her brother and mother road to Portland, OR on a bus – Grandma Cappy married Richard Tannahill – they had a short honeymoon at Multnomah Falls and Mom Friddle and Claude road home with them to Lewiston, ID.

Their small family was torn apart with World War II.  Jack was parachuting out of planes and fighting in the Pacific with the airborne and Claude was driving a tank towards Germany in the European theater.  Mom Friddle and Grandma Cappy agonized over every news report and letter and tried to keep track of their soldier sons and brothers.  There was a lot of celebration when they both arrived home safe.  Mom remembers Jack and Claude calling her and her sister their “Blonde Bomber” and their “Geisha Girl!” 
Their small family spent a vacation together each year somewhere between Portland and Lewiston where they enjoyed and maintained their close family ties.  Mom remembered those vacations as wonderful including food, laughter, probably a bit of drinking and a lot of stories.  When Pop Friddle died in 1955, the family while very close was starting to lose its members.
Claude, Mom Friddle, Pop Friddle, Jack, Cappy - Joan and Betty in the front.

Mom Friddle passed away in 1979 and only the three siblings remained.  Grandma Cappy died on 24 Aug 1985.  I remember sitting next to Jack at my Grandmother’s funeral.  I found myself wanting to comfort him and held his hand throughout the service.  I could tell that part of his heart was broken…a few years later, he died on 2 Aug 1987.  My mother’s sister wasn’t around so the only person that my uncle Claude could talk to who remember so many of the same stories as he was my mother.

Claude, Cappy & Jack
Mom died of lung cancer on the day after Christmas in 2005. Claude seemed to be the only one left and must have felt that his entire family had left him behind.  Last year, Claude died on 16 Aug 2011.  He had lived a successful life was married over 50 years and three daughters and several grandchildren – but towards the end of his life, I think he was lonely for his siblings and his parents and was ready to go.  I find it interesting that all three of Friddle siblings died in August.  I don’t know that there is any meaning to it except coincidence.  I rather hope that they are joined together again and telling stories and jokes and making every one laugh.