Sunday, November 8, 2015

Telling My Story: Getting to know my Stepmother

Since I'm writing about my early childhood and my mother was absent during most of that period of my life, it seems more appropriate to write in more detail about the woman who became my stepmother and who, after marrying Ernest Margheim, spent the remainder of her life supporting and caring for her family. 

When Phyllis met Ernest Margheim, it didn't seem that she had much in common with him. He was born of German parents, grew up on a farm, was crazy about Western Swing music, and was taught Luther's Catechism inside and out in the Lutheran Church. Phyllis's father, Henry James Jones, (1889-1976) was born and raised in Mississippi, the son of a blacksmith. Her mother, Helen Wilma Marker (1904-1949) was born and raised in a Kansas farming community. 
Henry James "Jim" Jones and "Helen" Wilma Marker Jones
Phyllis was not privileged to attend church as she grew up. Her family spent their Sundays on the river banks fishing and Phyllis told me she "hated that". Her parents were Christians and good people with very kind hearts and charitable spirits, but just didn't attend church services on Sundays. This served us well, for Phyllis was hungry to attend church by the time she met Ernie. 

I was a shy, timid and fearful little girl as a result of my
mother being absent. I suffered what I later learned was "Separation Anxiety". We attended Sunday School faithfully but Phyllis told me that I'd cry each Sunday when she took us to Sunday School and then left the classroom. So she'd sit with me to keep me comforted. She decided that if she was going to be attending each week's class, she might as well teach the class. And that's just what she did ....  for 34 years! She taught the 4 year olds at Trinity Lutheran Church in Great Bend every Sunday for those 34 years!
Phyllis, Maxine and Frank Jones
Right to left: Phyllis, Maxine, Frank Jones
Phyllis had a younger sister Maxine (1925-1988) and a younger brother Frank (1926-1987). Her mother Helen took in laundry to help support the family in the 1930s, while her father traveled in sales for Snap On Tools. Eventually Jim Jones built a commercial laundry onto their home at 1501 E. 8th St, in Great Bend, KS. 

Phyllis Jones at left, Helen Jones at right
Helen Marker Jones with daughter Phyllis, 1924
Back row left to right: Helen and Jim Jones, Mary (Hawkins)
Smith (1866-1951) mother of Jim Jones, Ham and Iva Jones,
Unknown. Front row left to right: Frank, Maxine, Phyllis,
Marjorie and Dorothy Jones, and Unknown.  
Helen (Marker) and Jim Jones
Henry James "Jim" Jones (1889-1976) and wife
Helen (Marker) Jones (1904-1949)
You can see that Phyllis lost her mother (to cancer) in 1949. It was just a year later that she met Ernest Margheim and then married him in March, 1951. Her father met and married Laura Casper (Maupin) Evans (1897-1986) in August, 1951. So 5 months after Phyllis became a step-mother, she also acquired a step-mother!
Jim and Laura Jones with her granddaughter Cheryl Evans. 
Phyllis graduated from Great Bend High School with the Class of 1942. She never missed a day of school, and never made a grade below A (of which she reminded us if we missed making the Honor Roll). 
Phyllis Jean Jones, GBHS Class of '42
I will acquaint you more thoroughly with my step-mother as I write more about my own life, since she was a major part of it until her death in 1997. 
Ernest and Phyllis Margheim 1950
Phyllis and Ernest Margheim about 1996

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