Saturday, June 12, 2010

We Simply Called Her "Hoover"

My maternal grandmother, Nannie Becker Flanders (1887-1962) at left with her dear friend Zella Page Hoover (1889-1976).
Stafford, Stafford, Kansas. Late 1950s.
Lately my thoughts have been drawn to a wonderful lady who was my grandmother's friend for many decades as they lived as neighbors in Stafford, Kansas. Zella Hoover was always in my Grandma Flanders' kitchen when I came to visit. She seemed to just be part of our family. Everyone in the house called her "Hoover". It was many years before I realized that was her last name, and not her first name! She wore her hair braided up and always had an apron on, which complimented the beautiful and gracious smile on her face.

During the past several weeks I've been transcribing my mother's high school diary, which she kept from 1940-42, when she was 15, 16 and 17 years old and attended Stafford High School. Her best friend in those days was Mrs. Hoover's daughter Annabelle.
I felt very fortunate to find several Public Member Trees on Ancestry.com that included the ancestry of Zella Page and her husband Earl Lee Hoover. I was quite surprised to find, however, that Mrs. Hoover's Page ancestry goes back to Robert Page (1604-1679) and his wife Lucy Warde (1604-1665). They are her 7th great grandparents. The GOOD news is that they are also my 9th great grandparents! I'm a descendant of Robert and Lucy Warde Page through my maternal grandfather Milo Flanders, husband of my Grandma pictured above. So Zella Hoover and I are 8th cousins twice removed. 

I'm sure that when my Grandma Flanders welcomed her dear friend "Hoover" into her kitchen those thousands of times, she had no idea she was sharing her time with Grandpa Flanders's cousin! And when my mother spent hundreds of hours with Annabelle in the early 1940s, they had no clue that they were distant cousins. They were just best friends!
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