Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Thursday, January 10, 2013

American Gothic.......

This photo of John and Iva Horton reminds me of Grant Woods' painting of American Gothic.  All that is needed is the pitchfork that John could be holding. Iva actually was taller than John by a half a foot. When I found this article from the paper, I thought I would have found a load of valuable information about them. Then I realized that I had no dates for a reference point and it is written with minimal information. The date of the event that includes the year is on the paper's page, which I don't have. The place of the event is in Osceola, as I know that as it came from the Osceola, Iowa paper.  The article doesn't say much at all and the children are not mentioned in the article.

My Grandmother Mabel Brooks, a widow,  married Oscar Brooks, a widower back in the thirties.  Iva V. Horton was Oscar Brooks sister.  Because of their being brother and sister, my family became close friends to these step relatives, my grandmother's in-laws.  I considered John and Iva to be like my grandparents and yet knew that they were step great uncle and aunt.

Clues to the date of the anniversary come from other events in my life in relationship to the couple. I remember going to their 50th anniversary gathering of a few family members and we took a cake for them.  It was covered with gold rosettes of frosting and the number 50 was on the top.  I was 11 or 12 years old then so I think that it was 1962.  That means the photo above was probably in 1972 or near then.  I was in college then so I didn't attend the event.

The couple were like the Walton's on the television show as they lived most of their lives on a farm south of Murray, Iowa.  It was an 1800's style farm even though it was early 1900's that they were married.    They had built their own house while living in a small tool shed.  They never threw anything away so that while one visited you could feel like your were visiting a place back in time, a museum. They had four sons with the oldest one George, being killed in WW II.  He is buried in France. The other sons are Loren, Harry, and Lowell.

I did find some relevant history about them when searching cemetery sources. . John S. Horton  b. 1888 - d. 1977, Iva Horton b. 1892 - d. 1982.  Iva was born in Champaign, Illinois. How she ended up in Clarke County Iowa and becoming married to John I just don't know.   I visit their graves at the Murray Cemetery every year when I visit my parents graves.

I was fascinated with the couple and as I grew up they treated me like a grandson.  The things in my house from this couple are so many.  We eat at an oak kitchen table everyday.  They ate at it in their kitchen sitting on backless chairs. The table was always covered with a tablecloth so I never knew that it had a stenciled design on its top.

I have antique toys and many tins from their house.  I have dishes and stoneware storage containers.  I have an oat sprouting cabinet, that sits in our living room, holding my antique toy collection. Many more things are in our house that remind me of John and Iva.  I refer to my many items as things from my John and Iva connection.

The stories I have from my experiences of them could be written in a book. I could blog about them for many blogs and maybe sometime I will do that.  I was just glad to have found the newspaper clipping from my mom's things and it has spring boarded a lot of great memories.

I have scattered photos of things that they gave me.  The spoon holder sat on this oak table that was in their kitchen.  The clean silverware sat in the container so that one could reach for the item that they wanted.  The old sink in the kitchen had it's hand pump still installed next to it so they could pump up water from the cistern below in the basement.  The wood burning stove had been converted to a gas stove and oven.

The oak table became mine while I was  in college as the Horton's moved into town during that time.  Iva wanted to be sure that I would want it and take care of it.  I already had collected a walnut table from my grandmother so she was assured that she wouldn't have to worry about it.

I really have posted a lot of photos about the things that came from my John and Iva connection. I have a lot of things that were given to my mom and dad that I now also have.  I enjoy having the items from their past but most of all I cherish the memories that came with them.

I have been working on this blog for awhile and found that I made it way too long. I guess there lives and family that I observed and shared my life with belongs in a full book.  In the process of doing this I was doing research on the son that they lost in the war.  I found out that he was in the Normandy invasion and is buried there at the Normandy American Cemetery. I think that will be another blog in the future. ( Colleville-sur-Mer, France,Normandy American Cemetery sits on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel, east of St. Laurent-sur-Mer and northwest of Bayeux in Colleville-sur-Mer, 170 miles west of Paris. The cemetery may be reached by car by traveling)

Visit others who are doing Sepia Saturday by clicking here. 


Wendy said...

You're right -- you do have a lot of great material for several smaller posts and probably several books. If you follow Geneabloggers at all, you could contribute a blog every Thursday for Treasure Chest Thursday and focus on one of your heirlooms each week. You could be writing forever!

Helen Bauch McHargue said...

You are so lucky to have such an array of items and the memories that go along with them. I agree you have enough material to keep you blogging for a long time. I'm looking forward to reading more!

Bob Scotney said...

A fascinating post Larry, Reading the article in the newspaper I was looking for the date. I'm glad you worked out when it was. The items you have inherited from them are priceless to you I'm sure.
I look forward to reading more about them in future blogs.

Peter said...

I agree, it is a long post. But it certainly is worth reading! So many memories are too valuable to keep to yourself. So keep on writing!
You mentioned that George is buried in Normandy. I think you mean the cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer. I've been there a couple of years ago. If you walk around there and realize what happened to all those boys and why, it is so impressive!

Postcardy said...

I enjoyed reading about your collection and memories.

Little Nell said...

I enjoyed reading right to the end! I know what you mean about the similarity to the American Gothic painting but these two look far more dignified somehow. I look forward to future posts about them.

Titania said...

Larry, always enjoy reading your memories. The antiques you inherited are wonderful and precious.

Anonymous said...

The Osceola, Iowa newspaper probably has an archive. And digging in that might produce the information about the photo you showed us. Nice post.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Larry, I totally enjoyed this post, and I don't think that it was too long at all. Like you, our home is filled with items that belonged to my grandparents, great-grandparents and great-aunts and uncles, etc. I can totally relate to how you feel about the things that have been handed down. Though I admire fancy homes with perfect decorating, I couldn't bear to part with the items that make our house a home.

You were lucky to be blessed with these special people in your life to love you. We can never have too many grandparents!

Thanks for sharing with us,

Kathy M.

Kathy Morales said...

Family is more than just our blood relatives - our "steps" can also be important to the story of our family. Even - as you have shown - a step great uncle and aunt. I look forward to reading more about them!

Alan Burnett said...

A great post Larry, I always enjoy all your Sepia posts. Not too long at all because the memories were strung together so well, like a fine string of pearls.

Karen S. said...

Wonderful post, and yes many more to come. I especially like the little are they brass, or whatever, I have some that are brass bells, all of figures, always interesting to see more!

Brett Payne said...

I know exactly what you mean about the "American Gothic" feel to the photograph. I thought it was the woman's hair style, but when I look at an image of that famous painting I see they are not alike at all. Perhaps it's that the poses are very similar, and more importantly that they both are looking slightly to the right, off camera.

Definitely not too long, by the way - I'm a fan of things done properly!

Crystal Mary said...

Hello Dearest Larry, How I enjoyed reading all about this special couple. She was a foot taller than him, my, she must have been tall. I am glad you have kept all the things they have given you. And glad you found that newspaper announcement of their sixtieth wedding anniversary. I am also proud of you to hear you visit their graves when you visit those of your parents. So very sad that their son was buried in another country and so far from home. I don't believe they would ever have got to see it.. That would hurt me so much if it were my son. I hope you write more about them...actually, why don't you write an ebook?? I for one would read it! Now that will give you something interesting to do.
This is a free ebook publisher.