My ancestor this week is my Mom, Erma Jean Fraley, daughter of Ermon Edward Fraley and Daisy Elnora Loftis. My Mom was born January 17, 1940 in Crayne, Crittenden County, Kentucky and was the second child of her parents. Her siblings were the following: Barbara Ann Fraley, married Curtis Leon Fritts, 1934-2005; Guy Robert Fraley, married Janie Summers; Amy Corene Fraley, married Thomas Brooks, 1943-1997, then Joe Mitchell; Connie Rose Fraley, 1947-1950; Iva Nell Fraley, married Roger Griffin and Edward Jewell Fraley, 1952-1954. They were all born in Crittenden County except for my Aunt Amy who was born in Livingston County right next door.
When my Mom was just a baby, World War II broke out and in 1943, her Daddy was called to go and serve in the United States Navy and he was in the South Pacific during the war on board a hospital ship as a corpsman. My Mamaw had their pictures taken to send to my Papaw and they are the following, with my Mamaw holding Amy, my Mom crying and rubbing her eyes, Barbara and Guy in his little sailor suit. The next one taken about the same time shows my Mom and Aunt Barb looking kind of mad, not sure what they were thinking at the time, but maybe that was their sad face, because their Daddy was gone.
Jean or Jeanie as she was called, said she was always working even when a child, at least the way she told it. J She would tell me that she did all the chores around the house for the most part, because her older sister, Barbara, would sneak out to the outhouse with a True Detective magazine to keep from doing her part of the chores. J Aunt Barb told me she did do that, but she still did her chores though. They had chickens and a little garden that they helped with as well. My Mom tells the story of when Guy and Amy were little she had gone to look for them and heard them giggling and found them by a little creek catching frogs and somehow popping their legs and skinning them alive and then watching them go hopping off. I remember as a kid every time I heard this story, laughing and just seeing naked little frogs all over the place. Guy and Amy got their hind ends spanked pretty good for doing that though, and as far as I know they never did it again.
My Papaw always worked hard, but always made time to play with his kids too, from swimming with them in the old pond, to hunting with my Uncle Guy he was always there for them. The following shows my Papaw in the pond with my Mom and her sister, Barbara and a picture I took of this same pond in 2011, the last time my Mom was there.
My Mom had a pretty happy childhood and she and her siblings played and fought like any kids do, but they would do anything for each other and were always there for each other when needed. There were hard times though and I know when my Mom lost her little sister, Connie, then four years later her little brother, Edward, it really shook her up, as I am sure it did her other siblings too. I know my grandparents had a very hard time during that period as well. My Mamaw told me many times how she wish she had let them do an autopsy on Connie, because then maybe they could have saved Edward, but autopsy’s weren’t something people were used to back in those days. Mamaw said that they both did almost the exact same thing, with mucus and pus coming out of their eyes and ears, fevers and stiff necks. Connie had been taken to the Children’s Hospital in Louisville where she died just a day or so later and Edward was only sick for just a couple of days, before he died on an Easter Sunday. We now know it may have been encephalitis. The following are two pictures each of Connie and then Edward.
My Mom’s youngest sister, Iva was born the year before Connie died and she was always hauling me around like her own real live Chatty Cathy doll when I was a baby. She is just nine years older than me and we text each other back and forth all the time and are still very close to this day. Here are some pictures of my Aunt Iva by herself, wasn’t she a cutie, then with my Mom holding her and Amy beside them and then with me.
Life continued on for my Mom, she and her siblings started going to school, running around with their friends and doing the normal things that kids and then teenagers are prone to do. Soon she was in high school, she was always a good student, made great grades and she told me that she went to the first four grades of elementary school in two years and so she graduated from high school as one of the youngest in her class, from Crittenden County High in 1957. The following are just a couple of family pictures, some school pictures and her senior picture.
My Mom and her sister, Barbara ran around with their Daddy’s younger half-brothers, especially with Harold and Willard Fraley. Harold had a good friend that he went to honky tonks with, named Frank Beard. They both were excellent singers and Frank played guitar so they could get their drinks for free a lot of the time. J Anyway it wasn’t long before my Mom and Frank started dating and the rest is history. Three days after her graduation from high school on May 11, 1957 at the home of the Rev. David Winters in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky my mom and dad were married, thus begin their next 52 years together before my Daddy passed away in 2009. The following is their wedding picture.
Jean and Frank soon started their family and I was the first to join in, followed by my sisters, Kimberly Ann ‘Kim’ Beard and Deanna Jeanette ‘Deno’ Beard, and then my brothers, Anthony Franklin ‘Tony’ Beard and Barry Alan Beard. My Mom and Dad had us five kids, followed by 14 grandchildren and at this date, December 2015, there are 16 great-grandchildren living, twin girls passed away shortly after birth. The following are some family pictures, first my Dad and me with my Mom who is pregnant with my sister Kim, then me and my sisters with our parents in 1965, then me and my siblings in 1975.
My Mom loved to do crafts so she was always making something or other and she got really good at tole painting too. Tole painting is the folk art of decorative painting on tin, wood, furniture, really anything you wanted to paint on. My Dad would cut out all kinds of wooden things for her to work on. I wish I had some pictures of some of the things she painted over the years. She also loved yard sales and every Friday and Saturday you could usually find her at one with her best friend, Gayle.
Our house was always spotless, she did not tolerate a dirty house at all. All of us kids had our chores to do, but if we didn’t get them done quick enough she was right behind us doing them herself, so that tended to make us go just a little slower because we knew she would do it herself if it wasn’t done quick enough for her. She was also an excellent cook and after I was married I would be missing her biscuits or fried cornbread and I would give her a call and ask if she had time to make a batch of one or the other and then I would stop by and she would have them hot and ready to go. Sometimes I would half of them eaten before I ever made it back to my house. I make pretty decent biscuits now, but they still don’t taste as good as hers did.
We had lots of family picnics and trips and the following pictures shows, me and my sister Kim with our parents at Mooney Grove in Visalia, California in 1963, my Mom and Dad at the Grand Canyon in 1982, and with my Aunt Iva, who came to visit us in Utah in 1985, we had gone up and had a picnic in the mountains up by Monte Cristo.
While I was still living at home we lived in Kentucky, California and Utah, however after I was married my parents and my siblings also lived in Texas for a little while. My parents were property managers for over 20 years, managing apartments, houses, and mobile home parks as well as storage units. My Mom collected the rents and kept the books and my Dad did all the maintenance. My Mom would always find a way to go back home and be with her parents and her siblings every chance she got. She was always thinking about home and wishing she lived closer to all of them. I know it was hard for her to be so far away most of her married life. Just a couple of pictures showing her with her parents and siblings at different visits through the years.
My Mom lost her Daddy, Ermon Fraley, when he passed away on August 4, 1994 and her Mom, Daisy Loftis Fraley, on December 5, 2006. She was devastated by the loss of both of her parents, like we all were, but it seem to hit her harder than we all imagined at the time. Then my Daddy suffered a massive heart in July of 2009, but he lived for almost two weeks, which the doctors were amazed by, it shook all of us up and we were glad we had a chance to get use to the fact he wouldn’t be around anymore, instead of having him die so quickly and without warning. He passed away on July 27, 2009 in Ogden, Weber County, Utah. My Mom seem to be okay, but it is never easy to lose a spouse and after all they had been together for 52 years, having just celebrated their wedding anniversary in May that year. After the funeral my Mom ask me if I thought our daughter Elaine would like to come and live with her, as she did not want to be by herself. Elaine had just found out that she would have to be moving out of the house she had been watching for friends while they tried to sale it and so she said yes and moved in with her a few days later. In September, Elaine took in a brand new baby boy, named Elijah, who was just two days old and she was able to adopt him a couple of years later. My Mom, just loved Elijah and would watch him while Elaine was at work. The following are a couple of pictures of her at our house, with our grandson, Elijah on his first birthday and also with our granddaughter, Alexandria Daisy who was born on my Mom’s birthday when my Mom turned 70.
In January of 2011 my Mom ask me if I could go back with her to Kentucky so she could visit with everyone, her siblings had all come out when my Daddy died in 2009, so it had been a couple of years since she had seen all of them and she really wanted to go back home. She didn’t want to fly back by herself and I will take any excuse to go home and so I told her I would be happy to, but I would have to wait until the spring, so in April my Mom, me and my sister Kim, who also wanted to go, flew back to Kentucky and stayed at my Aunt Barb’s house in Henderson. We had a wonderful visit and saw a lot of family and we drove the old roads in Crittenden County, where my Mom and her family had lived while she was growing up. It was fun to ride in the van my Uncle Guy had gotten so we could all ride together and listen to all of them reminisce about their childhood, their parents and each other. The morning we left to go back to the airport my Mom told her sisters, they had all come over to tell us goodbye, that she loved them, but that she would not be back home again. We all thought she was being a little dramatic, which she tended to be, ever since she was a child.
The following are some of the pictures we took on that trip, the house they lived in when my Papaw was in the Navy during World War II, a little country road in Crittenden County, the dogwoods by her parents old house in Hebbardsville, Kentucky. We also went over to Evansville, Indiana to visit her Mom’s sisters, Christine and Norma Jean. In the picture is Aunt Chris in the purple and Aunt Norma Jean beside her, in the back my Mom, Uncle Guy, Aunt Barb and Aunt Amy. Aunt Chris just passed away last month on November 29, 2015 she was 94 years old. Mom would call her every week like clockwork after my Mamaw passed away.
We were all crying when we left my Aunt’s house that morning and my Mom’s prediction was true, she never did make it back to Kentucky again. In August of 2011 she started acting strange, she would cry at the drop of a hat, she would not eat, she would stay in bed and her house wasn’t as clean as it used to be. We were all stopping by and checking on her whenever we could. I had been out of town for a couple of weeks and my sister called me when I got home and told me how Mom was acting. We took her to the doctor who but her in the hospital for a few days to run tests, they found nothing. None of us could stay with her all the time, because of work schedules, etc. We all decided the only thing we could do was to place her in a nursing home so someone could be watching her at all times. Around the first of September we all decided to put her in a nursing home and on September 30, 2011 in Roy, Davis County, Utah my Mom passed away with me and both my sisters standing around her bed, I can’t remember right now if my brothers got there in time are not. The doctors said she just had no will to live, I believe she suffered from depression, she missed my Daddy so much and she missed her parents and she wanted to be with all of them again. We miss her every day and wish she could have stayed with us a while longer. Her sisters, brother and one of her brother-in-law’s, came out to Utah for her funeral.
She is now together again with her sweetheart, her parents, her sister and brother and all her other family that she loved so much. My sister, Kim, is really good with photo shop and she did the following pictures, which I just love. At this time of year, it makes me think even more about those who have passed on and how much they meant to me. I especially love the picture my sister did of her granddaughter, Zoey, looking at my parents through the mirror.
She was buried beside my Daddy at the Clearfield City Cemetery in Clearfield, Davis County, Utah.
We miss her every day, love you Mom.