Grandmother's Roses


Leslie Soule


Copyright 2017 by Leslie Soule


Photo of Leslie's grandmother.

When I think about my childhood, what I remember most fondly, is playing in my grandmother’s backyard, along with my cousins. We’d play around the rose bushes, and dig up insects. We’d catch frogs, run around and play tag, or use the old wagon and pull each other around. We had video games, but this was the age of regular Nintendo, and when the weather got cold, we’d play Mario Bros. for most of the day. My grandmother was an extraordinary woman, who’d raised four kids, and knew all their tricks. I remember having a cold, and trying to sneak out and play. And there she was, sitting in an armchair at the end of the hall, not letting me get away with it. She was an avid reader, and a devout Catholic. As I grew older, I remember her being very sweet and very lonely, and yet, she was also quite a funny woman, when she wanted to be.

When I remember my grandmother, it’s like when my sisters and my cousins remember her, and the thing we remember most, is playing around the rose bushes. Everyone mentions my grandmother’s roses, because they’re what brought us together.

Mary Margaret Hughes was born on May 21, 1923 in Pardeeville, Wisconsin. But at the time when I was a child, she lived in Chico, California. My father would take us to visit her, on weekends and sometimes in the summer. Her house became a treasure trove of mysteries, a place to play hide-and-seek, with an infinite number of places to hide, a place of learning and entertainment, and a place where the family often gathered.

Mary graduated from Mercy School of Nursing in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1946. She had open heart surgery in 1980. But these are cold facts, like you’d read on someone’s resume’. The truth is better understood through memories, and the lessons that we learn from people like my grandmother.

From my grandmother, I learned that it’s okay to be a bookworm, and to write letters. I learned the importance of being interested in the lives of others, and that kindness sometimes shows itself in odd ways – and the importance of having a good sense of humor, at any age.

Mary had four children – Beverly Kay Soule, Valerie Ann Soule, David Merritt Soule (my father), and Hugh Edward Soule. Her parents were Roy William Hughes and Alma Lucinda Payne – both from Pardeeville, Wisconsin. Her brother, Hilary W. Hughes, died February 22, 1985.

In keeping with her sense of humor, her email address was

Throughout her emails, she refers to “Crybaby” and this was a gray cat who adopted my grandmother and decided to stay at her home, as an indoor/outdoor cat. I’m unsure of what breed she was, but she was very fluffy and quite the little sweetheart – though she did meow a lot, hence the name.

As a writer, I like to use primary sources whenever possible, in the course of doing biographies. In this way, Grandma Mary made things pretty easy for me, as she wrote a lot of information for me. This is helpful, because readers can get a fairly good understanding of her nature, from the words that came directly from her. Many of these documents are ones I’ve kept for years.

About Food

As a kid, we never ate the food at grandma’s house, because she kept so much food, and for so long, that the ingredients she used, were questionable. I remember secretly disposing of food that she’d made. When my father took us to grandma’s house, he always did the cooking, and bought fresh ingredients to work with. Nevertheless, she did give me one recipe, and I’ve kept it and used it, and it’s great:

Soule Cake

-1 cup sugar
-1/2 cup shortening
-1/8 tsp. nutmeg
-1/8 tsp. ground cloves
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-2 eggs
-1 cup buttermilk OR cup vanilla yogurt & cup water
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1 cup chopped raisins
-1 cups flour
Optional: chopped walnuts

Directions: Mix sugar and shortening. Then add eggs and mix well.
Add buttermilk, spices and raisins, along with flour and baking soda.
Can be baked in a large loaf pan, bundt pan, or cupcake pan.
Bake until toothpick comes out clean, at 350 degrees, for about 30 mins.
Can be served w/ cream cheese frosting.

Now then, having said what I did, about my grandmother’s atrocious cooking, due to her hoarding and possession of expired foods, I must say that despite her strange habits, I loved my grandmother dearly. And as a writer, I must be fair to those that I write about – particularly, as these habits did not appear from nowhere.

My grandmother was born in 1923, and the Great Depression hit, in 1929. So she would have been six years old, or so, at the beginning of it, and about sixteen, toward the end of it. She was young, but would have been influenced by the things she saw, like the rationing of foods. The website,, features an article titled, “Did Clutter and Hoarding Start With The Depression Generation?” From what I have seen, I would say yes. The article states that food was particularly scarce, in the Great Depression, because “[…] the Great Depression happened simultaneously with the Dust Bowl. The Dust Bowl was a gigantic drought in America’s farm region that resulted in a food shortage. So food was in vanishing supply, meaning that it became more expensive. And most people were poor, which meant that it was even harder to afford food.” To me, this sounds like an oversimplification, but I still feel like it helps to explain the situation.


My grandmother married a man named Howard Merritt Soule. I never met Howard, as he died so many years ago, when my father was only eight years old. Howard died of a heart attack, and my father became the man of the house, at such a young age. What I remember about my grandmother is that she had a photo of Howard, and it remained on the nightstand by her bedside, until the day she died. I have a record of my grandmother and grandfather’s wedding, though I am not sure who originally wrote it:

St. Mary’s Church in Pardeeville was the scene of a very pretty double ring ceremony at 9 am Saturday morning, when Miss Mary Margaret Hughes exchanged nuptial vows with Howard Merritt Soule. The pastor, Rev. Austin Henry, celebrated the mass and pronounced the marriage vows. The altars were beautifully decorated with white and pink gladiolas.

The bridal party entered the church to the strains of the wedding march played by Miss Beverly Eggleston. The bride who was given in marriage by her father, Mr. Roy W. Hughes, was attired in white embroidered satin gown, with finger tip overall veil with large medallions, gathered into a dutch tiara. She carried a white prayer book, a gift from the groom, on which was attached a corsage of pastel sweet peas and streamers of white ribbon.

She was preceded to the altar by Miss Rosemunda Hardy who was attired in pale pink net with satin bodice. Mrs. Hilary Hughes attended her sister in law as matron of honor, wearing a matching dress of pale blue. They carried colonial bouquets of pink pand blue asters, respectively. Little Marilea Hughes attended her aunt and was in a matching blue floor length dress. Master Richard Case carried the rings on a white satin pillow.

The groom was attended by Hilary Hughes as best man and Eugene Farrow as groomsman. Ushers were Francis Ratazak and James Westegard.

The mother of the bride attired in aqua crepe, wore a corsage of white gladiolas. The groom’s mother, residing in California, was unable to attend.

Following the ceremony, the wedding breakfast was served to the immediate family and bridal party at the Hotel Raulf in Portage. A reception was held in the Ivory Room of the Raulf from 2 to 4pm. Mrs. Roger Allen, Mrs. John Shober, Miss Margaret Reuhl and Miss Audrey Sherman served.

When the couple left for the honeymoon in Northern Wisconsin, the bride wore a suit of Nile green with black accessories. They will make their home in Winnebago, where the bride and groom are employed.

Miss Hughes is a graduate of Pardeeville High School of 1941 and graduated from Mercy School of Nursing, Oshkosh. The groom was recently discharged from the army, after serving for three years in the South Pacific.

Guests from away included Miss Winifred McMahon, Mrs. Eleanor Donahue and daughters Colleen and Mary of Milwaukee, Dr. J A Mudrock of Columbus, Dr. and Mrs. Byron Hughes and daughter, Alice Ann, Mr. & Mrs. John Shober and Neil Levitt of Winnebago, Mr. & Mrs. Rolland Colburn and Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Cotter of Oshkosh.


We used to write letters back and forth to each other. I still have some of them.

December 27, 1999

Dear Leslie,

Thank you for being at your dad’s and Linda’s. I enjoy seeing you and hearing about what you have been doing or are going to be doing. Thank you for my little building & home or an inn – I couldn’t tell but it’s pretty. Thank you.

Are you enjoying your Christmas break?

Hope your Christmas was great.

Aunt Val and I went to Los Angeles before Christmas – her roundtrip got us back to Sacramento at 3am Christmas Day.

Came home Sunday afternoon as the Monday morning mass was to have been said for Grandpa Howard.

Love, Grandma Mary

P.S. Glad to share in your 16th birthday, also.

January 8th, 2004

Dear Leslie,

Thank you for your beautiful Christmas card.

Where are you living?

Glad you like your job – Are you working now that the holidays are over?

There, I have most of the old Christmas cards sorted through and ready to take to a Christian Book store that does something with them. Do you girls still collect old stamps? I have several. Guess I should say used stamps.

Every time I call Hugh – Howard decides he has to talk. He & Michelle’s youngest, Braelynn – goes to the same pre-school. She calls him “Powered”.

When do you go back to school? Butte and Chico State starts the 20th. I had been taking water aerobics through Butte, but they are changing places. The new one is mostly outside. No thanks – when the weather is nice, maybe – but not until then.

Jared and Madison are getting cute. Jared walks or runs. Madison I think turns over by herself.

“Crybaby” wanted out a couple hours ago and now she wants back in.

Tomorrow evening a group of friends usually go out for supper and then we go play Pincochle.

Where are Melissa and Jennifer?

Aunt Teri sent me a picture of her husband, Bill, and your cousin, David.

Did I tell you when I was in Crescent City – David, Robert & friends brought me back and he had to practically turn right around and go back to work the next morning.

Do you still have E-mail?

I’d better close and get back to bed. It was great hearing from you. Keep it up.

Love, Grandma Mary

July 3rd, 2003

Dear Leslie –

What happened to your Email? I tried sending a scary message but one I thought important for each of you & it was returned.

This note paper a friend and I made. The whales turned out good – the ones we copied. Someone outlined the material with a black marking pen.

Melissa was looking for craft ideas.

We made the towel angels but the 3 piece towel, dish cloth and pot holders are about $2.99 a set.

We have taken cardboard, a lid off a cottage cheese carton and made scalloped edges & then taken birthday cards, Christmas or whatever made circles using the cottage cheese lid as the circle to draw. Then placed them on the cardboard. Covered them with clear contact paper over – to make placemats.

How was your trip to Oregon?

Did you find a job?

I have been watering like mad. The ground gets to dried out.

Michelle has lots of craft ideas – for the day-care. Melissa might get ideas from her.

Oh with those angels she would also need narrow ribbon – probably 3 different colors.

Have you practiced your guitar?

Something I ate is giving me Montezuma’s Revenge.

I thought I would have this in the mail before this BUT I had company Saturday afternoon, yesterday.

Lorene and I were going to a Pancake Breakfast out @ 1 mile – when we saw the line – we opted to go to Cozy Diner – they were having an anniversary special. Then after, I went to Lorene’s for a picnic. Several people from church went also.

We ate chicken, hotdogs, corn on the cob, potato salad, chips & dip & salsa & cheese hunks, choices of fresh fruit & watermelon and homemade ice cream – of there was iced tea, lemonade, various pops, beer and water.

The holiday being on Friday, I’m all mixed up.

Crybaby is out sunning herself.

I usually hear several times a day from your Aunt Bev – per Email.

Take care.

I love you –

Grandma Mary

March 23, 2001

Dear Leslie,

Thank you for your lovely letter.

Amber used to use contact lens – but the last couple years she’s gone back to her glasses. I don’t know why.

Congratulations on your contacts. Hope you enjoy them.

Justin had a birthday yesterday.

Uncle Hugh is to be here this weekend – to enjoy his birthday. His birthday is Monday.

There were some great shots of the Space Station Mir – going to Earth. It was interesting to see it coming apart & falling.

A friend Marsha Hudson and I went with a group called SIRS – We went to Laughlin, Nevada. Marsha caught a cold and I caught one. It is so difficult to get rid of.

When is your Spring Break?

Do you like those small bandanas? Aunt Bev made some cute ones and then she made some fleece hats for boys or girls.

We have been having some beautiful weather. Yesterday was really warm.

Some of Crybaby’s friends decide they have to play in the patio chairs and wait for Crybaby at times like now – she’s sleeping in the garage or in the attic.

Have you gotten any of my Emails? Do you have a printer on your set? I don’t – there’s some real good hints I’d like to send but you’d have to copy them so you could refer back to them.

Oh, in a cookbook similar to Dad’s – I found a recipe for chocolate chip banana bars. The chocolate chips covered raisins – Oh it’s that famous foods etc. cookbook. The bars are good.

A friend Mary Valine gave me a recipe for coconut cookies. You need potato flakes, beignet mix, and coconut extract – mix them by hand as you might have to add more beignet mix – I mixed by spoon and they spread out too much.

Saw two cute movies – “Sweet November” and “Chocolat”.

The lilacs are about ready to break out in bloom. The camellias are in bloom.

I enjoyed your letter. Do it again.

Love, Grandma Mary

Finally, there is a letter in my possession, that is not one that she wrote to me, but a copy of one that she wrote to my dad, David Soule, and my stepmother, Linda:

David – your dad was 5 feet, 6 inches tall. When we were married, his pants – W 32 L 29. He was pigeon-toed. He was left-handed. At Business College, they got him so he didn’t turn into a pretzel to write (so he told me). Our 1st Christmas, I bought him new slacks and goofed up the size – He’d only been out of the service for 10 or 11 months and hadn’t replenished his wardrobe.

What did Linda ask – about how dad felt when we found out we were going to have kids. You never know exactly how another person feels – but he seemed to be happy and he was as pleased with daughters as he was with his sons. One of the most difficult things about becoming a Catholic was the church’s position on Mother and Fetus and possibly the Mother giving her life so the baby could live.

He enjoyed High Mass. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen High Mass. We belonged to St. Peter’s in Oshkosh.

In some of Val’s baby pictures, Dad is attempting to grow a beard for a Pioneer celebration in Crescent City. If he didn’t, he’d have been fined.

He built the baby bed before Bev was born and designed the area under the bed to store baby clothes. Do you remember it? The sides were soft screen.

He put the 9 drawer dresser (in my room) together. He designed and made my sewing machine cabinet (a TV is sitting on top of it).

He’d closed in the garage and made our bedroom.

He’d made a stool for you kids to reach the bathroom sink – it was shaped like those pig cutting boards. Dad had gotten you signed up for Cub Scouts. He’d been a scout. Think you went to a few meetings in Smith River.

Several of the fellows who’d been assigned to Klamath at the same time as Dad – had come back to make their home there. Don Yale had a partnership in a Motel; one was manager of Briggard’s Dept. Store; one was a cook – later drink got the best of him; one was in logging. Elsie Larson had gone with one of the fellows in his outfit.

Your dad liked long sleeved shirts. Then he unbuttoned the cuffs and rolled them up 2 widths of the cuff. My father (Roy) needed back steps from the back porch out of doors. Well Dad (Howard) made one, one week when we were down. My dad tried to make the next step – your dad had to go down and do it for him.

Your dad re-roofed the house in Smith River. He told me how long and what angle to cut shingles or roofing material. That way, it gave him more time to work on the roof after he got home from work.

He liked to play Bridge. He said they played a lot of it while in the Army. He also liked Cribbage.

As a boy, he played Coronet. Hope I spelled it right.

We took all of you to Fields Museum and Shedd’s Aquarium in Chicago. I’m sure you remember it – Hugh was probably about 2 and you would have been about 4. Ha! Ha!

He and his folks had been with the Carnival so he didn’t like to gamble – he might play cards (with friends) for chicken feed.

One of his friends died about a year after we were married. He said of all the friends Neal (the hump back – very short person in our wedding pictures) would be the most missed.

Do you remember the swing set across from the front door and out in front of the shop at home? Dad built that.

We went down on the beach by Dunroven and also Kemp beach – enjoyed the Azalea Festival in Brookings.


Needless to say, the internet was new, back in the days that my grandmother used it. But that she learned how to use it, when she was born in the 1920’s, is incredible. Her life spanned so many incredible decades, and I knew that I had much to learn from her. At the time, she got internet through her TV, and used WebTV for all of her email communications. Many of her emails were irreverent, or silly. But I decided to email her and ask about family stories, or about the past, and she was happy to oblige. What followed was a series of her emails about such matters. They include the following:

10/19/2001 – Email One

Let’s see – my grandfather, William Hughes, was a school teacher. A bully was giving grandpa a bad time. It seems grandpa was not very big. So he wondered how he could control this guy. As school was dismissed, grandpa William stood by the woodbox and pushed the bully into it. After that he had no more trouble with that student. He and his wife, grandma Margaret, were both shown on Little House on the Prairie. I never knew my grandfather – he died 3 years before I was born. He also had a store, a warehouse – where he brought produce, grains, eggs, vegetables (like squashes), which he sold to markets in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Some were shipped by trains. Others were shipped by truck. Eggs were candelized (you put them up to a light to see that there weren’t any chicks growing in them). The one picture we did last weekend was a picture of their home. We did a picture of one of their stories. One store had burned prior to that one. I do not have a picture of the warehouse. Some place I have one of the office of the warehouse. Crybaby is outside, telling me she wants in, so bye for now.

Love, Grandma Mary

10/19/2001 – Email Two

Hi! Did you like that story? When your dad was about 3 or 4, he climbed up a large tree that was between our home in Smith River and Yahr’s. Thank goodness one of my aides, Donna, had come to visit. She had to climb up and get him out of the tree. One of his favorite expressions was, I will buy you that.

Love, Grandma Mary

10/20/2001 – Email Three

Hi Leslie!!! This is not something you asked about but hope you enjoy. You saw the picture of my grandma’s home. In the kitchen was a black iron stove trimmed with chrome. It burned chunks of wood. There was quite a space for cooking. It had a god sized oven. Above the cooking surface was a warm oven. Yes, to keep things warm. Other end away from the firebox of the stove was the reservoir to store and heat water. I think there were pipes in the back of the stove’s reservoir to supply hot water to the bathroom. The bathroom was behind the kitchen. The tub was on what they call claw feet. Behind the bathroom down a long hall was a 2 holer (what we usually called an outdoor toilet). Coming back into the kitchen, opposite side of the bathroom was a large room – called a wash room (laundry, nowadays). Behind it was a large woodshed. Through the kitchen, heading toward the dining room was a pantry. There was a small bedroom, another door led to a small room. I have no idea what the original use was. There was a large bedroom, besides the bedroom furniture there was a large armoire. Through large doors you could go into the living room. Off the living room was a short hallway going back to the dining room and also the stairway to the cellar. Another door of the living room you could go up a steep set of stairs to 3 large bedrooms. They could each have 2 complete bedroom sets in them. There was also an attic. There were no closets in any of the rooms. From the living room you could go through sliding double doors, which also had heavy red drapes to close the parlor off. You could go out another door and you were in a short hallway. Grandma let her irons for ironing on the woodstove. It also heated the house. In the living room was a glass and chrome potbellied stove to heat that part of the house. There were vents in the ceiling and into the bedrooms to help distribute heat. Foods were kept cool in the cellars. We also had ice boxes. The iceman came frequently to deliver hunks of ice. Below was a large pan to catch the water it had to be dumped daily. The ashes had to be dumped from the stoves daily. In the summer, grandma cooked on a kerosene heater. It had a portable oven, to set over 2 burners if she was baking. Enough for tonight.

Love, Grandma Mary

10/21/2001 – Email Four

Some of this you will have to sort out, as it is random thoughts. My mother, Alma, had gotten a pig’s tail from my father Roy’s slaughter house. He butchered cows, pigs, chickens, etc. We put the tail in the ashes in the kitchen stove and cooked it that way for several hours. In later years Grandma Margaret cooked on a 3 burner kerosene stove. If she wanted to bake, she had a small portable oven that she set over a 2-burner. I think each bedroom had an armoire. Each bedroom had a vent in the floor and the living room had vents to the bedrooms. Each Fall, the screen windows had to be taken down and storm windows had to be put up. These windows kept a lot of the cold out. Jack Frost usually painted pictures on the windows. During the summer, the iceman delivered ice – large hunks. The kids usually followed him, begging for pieces of ice. The iceman during the winter, chopped squares of ice from the ponds or lakes. Pardeeville had 2 good sized lakes. Then he put sawdust about the ice to keep it from melting. My parents got our first refrigerator about the time I went into Nurses Training. In the summer, my mother cooked on a gasoline 3 burner stove. She had a portable oven also. Do not know when electric lights were put into the houses. We had meters. Most were located upstairs. Our meter reader was named John Wright. A neighbor boy probably about 3 was learning about right and left. So he called him Mr Wright-Lefter. Everyone had kerosene lanterns and some were similar to the ones over my china hutch. My parents had a radio – a wire had to be attached. The wire went out the window and had to hook onto something similar to a coat hanger. One of grandma’s living room chairs is in my bedroom – covered with velvet. It used to be covered with black horsehair, which stuck when you sat on it and got worse if you moved about on it. Yes, I know a story about Grandpa Howard – he stuck a nail in a light socket and got knocked for a loop. Thank goodness it did not kill him. I know very little about his grandparents. Outside of the fact Henry was a doctor, I think Grandpa Howard went to live with Grandma Eva. At this time, his folks worked at Winnebago State. They worked 12 or 14 hour days with one day a week off. With cars and roads what they were, they hardly got the 40 miles or so miles to see Howard. Then in summers, he would be boarded out at places near the hospital. After Uncle Lauren and Aunt Ileth moved to Winnebago, he spent the summers with them. His Aunt Mabel Christenson used to see that he had lunches for school picnics or pop, etc. Her son was several years older. I think it was 1936 Herman and Sadie bought the home in Winnebago. His father died in 1939. Well that’s another long one. Send it on to dad, ok?

Love, Grandma Mary

10/21/2001 – Email Five

Yes, Leslie, I do not talk much about my Grandfather William. He died about 3 years and 4 months before I was born. Grandpa George’s 1st wife died in childbirth. He married Mary Cuddy, who was my grandmother. She broke her hip awhile before I was born. Therefore I was born in the hospital. Grandma Mary died about 2 or 3 weeks after I was born.

Love, Grandma Mary

P.S. Grandpa George’s home burned after Grandma Mary had gotten divorced.

10/21/2001 – Email Six

Hi again! When Grandpa Herman was a young man, he killed a friend in a hunting accident. Go Grandpa Howard was not allowed a gun or to go hunting. Being in The Medical Corp, he did not carry a gun. I forgot what out of make car Grandpa Howard drove from Winnebago to Oshkosh to attend High School. He had started Business College after High School Graduation and I do not know if that’s when his health had a plunge. He had a kidney disorder. About that time, his father died. When he got better, he was a collection agent for the Buick Garage in Oshkosh. Sometime in there, he was working for an ice cream delivery service. That and he would have to deliver alcohol and he was not 21 yet. So he went to work at Winnebago State. He said 4 days after, war was declared and he enlisted in the Army- attached to The Air Force Medical Dispensary. He went to Camp Grant near Chicago, Illinois. Then I think he told me they went to Tennessee. I forgot that one year he moved a lot. Then he was stationed at Hamilton Field, near San Rafael for about a year. Uncle Lauren’s sister lived in San Francisco. So Ethel showed Howard quite a bit of the city. Her daughter lived in the area, who also showed him about. Ethel and Howard persuaded Lauren and Ileth and their 3 daughters and Howard’s mother to come to California. Lauren worked in shipyards and delivered ice in a town called Marin. Grandma Sadie brought a patient from Winnebago to the San Francisco area. Then she worked at Glen Ellen. It was more mental disabilities – I do not know how to explain the difference in the 2 nursing positions. She was listed as a LVN.

Love, Grandma Mary

10/21/2001 – Email Seven

Hi! Just as I was sending that message, I saw a sentence. I am not sure of the wording but Ethel and Howard got them moved. Let’s see, Henry was your Grandpa Howard’s grandfather. Henry served in the Civil War. One picture in the book Bury Me At Wounded Knee had a H. J. Soule, but I thought being a doctor, he would be an officer, but that could have been taken before that. The books lately have not had that picture. He was captured and imprisoned at Andersonville. After the war, he was a doctor in Wautoma, Wisconsin. One patient tried to give him all the land around Silver Lake and because of taxes, he would not accept it in payment for his doctoring. Even 53 or 54 years ago, that was valuable land. Grandpa Herman started studying to be a lawyer. Another time, he was a conductor on the railroad. His health broke down. A doctor told him that if he wanted to live, he had to live out of doors. So Herman, Sadie, Ileith, and Howard joined a carnival. Ileith walked over broken glass. Herman had animals and animal acts. I do not know what Grandma Sadie did. They were in Tennessee when the manager absconded with the money. Grandpa Herman hitchhiked to Stevens Point and mortgaged or sold their two homes so he could get his family back home and to feed the animals. I am not sure when Herman and Sadie worked in the mental hospitals. I think they worked at Moses Lake, Washington, before they were married. They had a blue baby (heart condition) Leland – he lived to be 7 or 8 years old. Then Ileith and they did not think they would have any more children. They started adopting a boy and Sadie found out she was pregnant, so they did not complete the adoption.

Love, Grandma Mary.

10/21/2001 – Email Eight

Hi Leslie!!! You saw pictures of Grandpa William’s store – people brought things in to sell and also to buy. People made their own butter. They had groceries, clothes (ready made), material for making clothes, notions (buttons, ribbons, thread, needles). Dill pickles came in barrels. They were sold individually. Grandpa William was also Postmaster of Pardeeville, Wisconsin. After his strokes and death, his younger son Charles became Postmaster. I do not know when Charles decided to go back to The Wisconsin State College at Madison, Wisconsin. Grandpa William Roy worked in the store, in the warehouse, and he dug potatoes. I do not know how that worked, if Grandpa William had an agreement with the farmer. The warehouse bought and sold grains, potatoes, eggs and poultry. They also bought and sold coal. One day, Grandpa Roy and a friend were digging potatoes for a German farmer. When they went in to lunch, Rob told Roy that they did not know or understand German. The lady questioned her husband – were they good workers, of if all they talked about was their girlfriends. Finally Rob said, we’ve got to get outside. He understood everything the couple talked about. And he was ready to laugh. Enough for this weekend.

Love, Grandma Mary


I remember the day that my grandmother died. I had come home from a dental appointment, my lips still numb from the Novocain, and my dad gave me the news, and we cried. I felt numb, in body and mind, and curled up and went to sleep.

The following is her obituary, as per

A rosary will be held at 9:30am, followed by a Memorial Mass at 10am, on Monday, March 1, 2004 at Our Divine Savior Catholic Church for Mary Margaret Soule, 80, of Chico. She died Thursday, February 26, 2004 in Chico. She was born May 21, 1923 to Roy and Alma Hughes in Pardeeville, Wisconsin. She was a Registered Nurse for 50 years. She is survived by two daughters, Beverly Carter & Valerie Philbrook, two sons, David & Hugh, 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Private inurnment will take place at Del Norte County Veterans Cemetery in Crescent City, California.

My grandmother’s inurnment took place, and her ashes were buried in a spot just under the tombstone of my grandfather, so they could be together again at last. 

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