Interview with Grandma Glasscock -- Part 1

Taped in 1974

Dorothy Sander-Cederlof, Marilee Crowell, and Ethel Glasscock

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Part 1: (19:36 min)
Transcription of Part 1
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Part 2: (9:50 min)
Transcription of Part 2
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Part 3: (6:36 min)
Transcription of Part 3
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Transcription of Part 1 (19:36 minutes)

Dorothy: Marilee and I thought it would be nice, if we could take advantage of the fact that I have a tape recorder, to just use to tape some of your memoirs, for posterity, starting from maybe when and where your were born, and a little bit of your family background, and going on up maybe telling some interesting things about your childhood, and when you met Daddy, and your romance, and so forth, and we can just let it go on from there, and any time we want to interject, or say something, ask you a question, you know, it doesn’t have to be in exact sequence. So, where and when were you born?

Grandma: Well, I was born in Longmont, Colorado, in 1881. And it happened to be a Sunday morning. And the story is told, my father being a minister of the Longmont Methodist Church, that we never to got to church that Sunday, because I was born, and the congregation learned afterwards what had been happening. And then from there we went to a place called Idaho Springs, and there my brother was born. And then we went to a place in Colorado, oh that was in Colorado too, called Wheatridge. And my father was the minister of the Methodist church there in Wheatridge. And he stayed five years at that time. The longest that a Methodist minister could stay at any one place was 5 years if there was no objection to him being there, you know, and so he stayed five years, we stayed 5 years in Wheatridge. And then he had a charge in East Denver. There it was that a doctor discovered, that my mother, instead of having consumption, as they thought she had when my father married her and took her to Colorado, they found that she had valvular heart trouble, and that she should immediately get to a lower altitude.


And my father was connected with the Denver University there as financial agent in Denver, and so he couldn’t leave. And so my mother had to take Willie and me to Topeka, Kansas. And of course being Methodist, and we went to the Methodist church, and there my mother interviewed a real estate man as to where we could find a place to board until we got a house to live in, and he said, “Go to Mrs. Glasscock’s rooming house.”


And so we went there. And my, the boys then, the two Glasscock boys were 14 and 11 years old, I believe. And they had a cow which they milked and sold the milk around the neighborhood. Two, I should think. So when they got home that night from selling the milk, their mother said to them, “We have a new boarder, and there’s two little girls...

Dorothy: Not girls, one was a...

Grandma: Two children. And so Wilmer said he looked in and saw this girl with long braids down her hair, and he was very much impressed.


And so as soon as we found a house we lived there in Topeka and went to church and Sunday School in the Methodist Church. And the boys used to come over and play with us where we lived. And then we finally left Topeka, and went to …, and my father brought us here to California, and we lived in Boyle Heights. And it was there where my mother died, in Boyle Heights, and was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery there.


And, but, I wanted to say that when Wilmer asked me to marry him, when we got older, and he had come out to visit us here in California one time, he told me that the night that we left Topeka to come to California, he had gotten down on his knees and prayed to God that He would somehow arrange it so that he and I could get married. And that was part of his proposal to me. So of course when I heard that, I was so touched that I said “Yes” right away! In fact I was awfully glad to think someone did love me that much, because I was a very plain girl and not very popular, and to think that this one man had loved me all those years. So it was a very satisfactory union.


Dorothy: I just want to ask one thing. How long did you and your brother and mother live at the Glasscock boarding house?

Grandma: Oh I should say about three weeks. And now what else.. Let’s see, then,...

Dorothy: Now there was quite a long period of time, wasn’t there, that you and Daddy didn’t see each other. Did you correspond?

Grandma: Yes, we did. My mother was a friend of Daddy’s mother, you know, and Daddy took his mother on a vacation to Ogden, Utah, on his pass, and when he got home he sent us some pictures.

Dorothy: By that time he had gone to work for the Santa Fe Railroad?

Grandma: Yes, he had gone to work for the Santa Fe Railroad, and so, then, I wrote and thanked him for the pictures, and that started a correspondence between Daddy and me, because I wrote and thanked him for the pictures of his vacation that he had sent us.

And so later on, after my mother had died, Daddy decided to spend one of his vacations out there in, out here in California, and that was the time he proposed to me, you see. Oh, are we getting kind of mixed up...?


Dorothy: No, we just have to ask questions, and go back a little bit, like, how old were you when your mother died, and what happened after that?


Grandma: Well, I was 14 when my mother died, and then I had to keep the house for my father and brother at that time, and it was a very very bleak time for me, because I was in school and I had to keep house and do all the cleaning and things, and then I would come home from school and the house would be empty, and just as I had left it in the morning, and it finally got on my nerves so that I almost had a nervous breakdown. But my father consulted a doctor, and said what I needed was a companion to live with me, and so he knew a young girl by the name of Edith Hoskins whose mother was a widow but she came from a very nice family and she came to live with me for a while and got me over that tendency to have a nervous breakdown.


So then to my great joy my father became interested in three old maids who went to the Methodist church where we went. And the custom at that time was, if you were interested in anyone, what you would do would be to ask to take them home from church at night, and walk home with them.


And of course I had to tag along with my father when he was walking home with these prospective wives of his.


And finally, I said to him one night, “Well, now Daddy, if you want any of them, why don’t you choose Miss Cook; she is the one I like the best.” And so the next thing I knew he was engaged to Miss Cook, whom you all know as Inez. Because, and they were finally married.

But I never could call her mother because it was too close to my own mother’s death. And she was very happy about it, so I always called her Inez.


And then two years after she had married my father I got married to Wilmer and went away to live in Galveston, Texas, and Inez and my father had two children after I left home and they were Mary and Ruth. And Mary was born in September after my first child was born, Richard, and Richard was my child, and then Mary was born later.


I have forgotten what Ruth’s relationship in age was to Lillian. But, anyway...

Dorothy: I believe it was a little younger.

Grandma: Those girls grew up as your cousins, you know. You grew up together as cousins.


Dorothy: Well I just want to ask you one thing. Your mother died when you were fourteen, while you were living in Boyle Heights. How long was it before your father married this Miss Cook.

Grandma: Four years, I was eighteen.

Dorothy: Eighteen, and then sometime during that period, after they were married, because I presume they were married in Boyle Heights, then you moved to Berkeley.


Grandma: Yes, because the ??? company who my father was working as a bookkeeper for moved up to San Francisco. In fact the wedding trip which my father and Inez had was the trip up to Berkeley.

Dorothy: And then you went to college up there.


Grandma: Yes, and we all lived together. We had a 3-bedroom house there in Berkeley, on ??? street. And we had a very nice life together. But I never really finished college, because Inez had a miscarriage during the last year that I was in college, and I had to stay home and keep house. And I was engaged to Wilmer by that time, and I never cared whether I got a teacher’s certificate or not.

And so after I had lived in Berkeley 4 years, that was when I was 22, and I married Daddy and we went to Galveston, Texas, to live. And...

Dorothy: That was the 29th, no that was the 9th of May.

Grandma: Yes, the 9th of May when were married.

Dorothy: And what year?

Grandma: 1904.

Dorothy: 1904.


Marilee: OK, now you are in Galveston, Texas. Do you want to tell us what your first reaction was?

Grandma: Well, Galveston, Texas, at that time... You know Galveston is a city on an island right off of the coast of Texas, in the Gulf of Mexico. And it is very hot there, and moist. So moist that if we would go walking on the beach, and come home and put our shoes beside the bed at night, they would be moldy the next morning.

Dorothy: It is still that way...


Grandma: No, but most of the houses are air conditioned. Then... But at that time we didn’t have any way of cooling our houses, not even electric fans. And so everybody put shutters on their houses. And then at night in order to get a little breath of fresh air we would open those shutters. And in through those shutters would fly great big cockroaches this long. And that’s not any exaggeration.

Dorothy: How long is this long? Two inches?

Grandma: Uh huh, that long. With wings, and feelers. And they would crawl all around the house. And we had to, at night, when we went to bed, there were so many mosquitoes you know, too, we would have to have a mosquito net over our bed. And then when then we’d get in Daddy would kill all the mosquitoes he could find inside. And then we would tuck the net under the mattress and try to get some sleep. And I can remember distinctly when I would crawl out of that mosquito net, perhaps to go to the bathroom, great big cockroaches would run out as soon as the light was turned on. It was really a very hard place to live. I’m glad I went there as a bride, because that was the happiest introduction I could have had to Galveston.


But, uh, Daddy finally decided that he didn’t want to be a railroad man all his life.

And so he took a vacation out here to California, and spotted an orange grove

that was 20 acres, and was for sale for 20 thousand dollars. And we had a little money. We had bought a house in Galveston, and we could sell that house at a profit, and we put all that money into the orange grove.


This money, by the way, had been left by my grandfather who had insisted that I be named Julia, you know, and that was the reason they named me Julia, because we knew we were going to inherit everything. And so they named me Julia.

Dorothy: And that was your mother’s father? What was his name?

Grandma: Well his name was William Casey. After my mother had died, he wanted to see his grandchildren, so he sent us money. And Will and I went on the train from Los Angeles to Centralia, Illinois, and visited him for a month, and then came home. And, uh...

Dorothy: Was that about the only time you ever saw him?


Grandma: We didn’t see him after that, no. And then he died. And then, after he had died, and we had inherited his money, and used it, why, we didn’t think that I needed any longer to carry the name Julia. And so nobody ever thought of me as Julia. Until I had to have a birth certificate, and then they discovered that my name when I was baptized was really Julia Ethel Musgrove. And that’s why I go by the name of Julia now, because that’s my social security name, you know.

Dorothy: Well going back to Galveston, how long did you live there, and how many children, I mean wasn’t that where your family started?


Grandma: Yes. Well Richard was born in the Galveston city hospital, and Betty was born in our home that we had bought on 75th street there in Galveston.

And then Daddy decided to make a plunge and buy this orange grove out here, and so he brought us all out, on a pass of course, the last pass he got from the Santa Fe. And then we had ten very very difficult years living on that orange grove.

Dorothy: That was in Rialto.


Grandma: In Rialto. Where there was no electricity, and no, nothing but a telephone of modern conveniences. And we had to light the lamps every night for light. And I can remember one of the chores I had to do every day was to clean those lamp shades, whch maybe had smoked a little the night before, rub off the wicks, fill the lamps with kerosene, and get them ready for the next night.

Then after we had lived on that ranch for ten years, and Daddy finally realized that it was never going to pay for itself, because there would be freezes and hot winds that would knock all the oranges on the ground. So we finally gave up. And we were $400 in debt, but we gave the $400... No, we gave the ranch back to Mr. Duncan from whom we had bought it, and moved down into the house at 301 North Riverside Avenue, where we lived for 20 years.


And Mr. Mack was so good to Daddy that he gave him a $50 raise in salary when he made that move. So, that two story house with three bedrooms was a very nice home for us, right on the corner of Riverside Avenue and Third Street, I think.

Dorothy: Well, now going back to the ranch, you had some more children while you were there.


Grandma: Oh yes, and uh, when did, oh...

Dorothy: Lillian

Grandma: Lillian was born in, ... Well she was born out here in California.

Dorothy: Yeah, but the ranch was in Rialto.

Grandma: Oh yes, the ranch was in Rialto, that’s right. And then in seven years Dorothy was born.

Dorothy: Now she was born in 1908, I guess.

Grandma: Lillian was born in 1908, Richard was born in 1905, and you were born in 1915.

Dorothy: And Betty was born in 19...

Grandma: Seven.

Dorothy: Seven.

Grandma: So my childbearing age was ten years. And after that I (laughter)


I had done my duty to the nation!

And so, well, let’s see, I’ve got some little things jotted down on my tablet at home, which I will look at...

Dorothy: Oh, I thought you had brought it with you.

Grandma: No, I didn’t know you were going to have this.

Dorothy: Well we can add to it any time, but I think this is a very good start.


Transcription of Part 2< (9:50 minutes)

Dorothy: Well, Momma, we've gotten from being born up to the fact that you've got four children. Now, let me ask you this: as a child, who was the first President of the United States that you can remember; what are your first recollections about that?

Grandma: Grover Cleveland. And at that time, there was quite a good deal of friction, between the parties. There was the Republican party, and the Democratic party, and the Prohibition party. It was quite a ... quite a ... seems it was quite important at that time although it has since become defunct. But, uh, Grover Cleveland was the one I remembered. And my grandfather Casey was quite disappointed when my mother married a Methodist minister, because he was a staunch Republican. And, uh, he, she was the apple of his eye. And he, uh, had sent her to college, and then when he found out she was going to marry a Methodist minister, and a Prohibitionist, I can remember he said, "Why, James, I'd walk through whiskey to my knees, in order to vote the Republican Party!"  That was quite the kind of man he was. So...

Dorothy: Was he a stockbroker?

Grandma: Well he was a capitalist. As far as I know, he had never worked. Now where he got his first money, I don't know. But he was a man, who, uh, bought and sold his capital, and made it bigger [Actually, he worked very hard as a farmer; he owned and operated a farm of 240 acres in Washington County, Illinois, for ten years. Then he sold his farm, and invested his money.] And he was, of course, a man who left us quite a lot of money, and uh, I always felt sorry for him, because he didn't, uh, realize, in his daughter, my daughter, my mother was a very nice looking woman, ... she was really quite handsome ... and she went to Northwestern University, and uh, fell in love with this minister who was shorter than she was. She was quite tall, and it used to be a joke, that they would say, in the college, "Well, I saw Miss Casey going along, and I tried to catch up with her, and there was Musgrove walking along beside her, [laughter] Anyway, they were very happy together, and uh ...

Then of course, when my father married again, when he married Miss Cook, she was also taller than he was. That marriage, my father and Miss Cook, Inez Cook, was a very happy marriage, to everybody. I was so delighted to have a stepmother who would take the housekeeping out of my hands ... and then in addition to that she was a dressmaker, and she made my clothes, and uh, she and Daddy were very happy and it was a very wonderful marriage. 

Dorothy: You know she made Momma's wedding dress ...[Grandma: Yes...] practically all by hand and that's the one I wore.

Grandma: That's right. She was a lovely person.

Dorothy: And she came to stay, she came to stay to our house before I got married, so that any alterations that had to be made on the dress, she could make and part of the dress was missing, the sash, and she couldn't remember what it had looked like, and Momma couldn't remember what it looked like, so Daddy told them!

Grandma: Is that so... it was sweet peas, I know, it had

Dorothy: Well it was white satin ribbon and it had

Grandma: Yes, ribbon, knotted

Dorothy: And then your bouquet was sweet peas and I carried sweet peas too, but I added some pink camellias.

Grandma: Yes...

Dorothy: Well, anyway, this isn't about my wedding, it's about you.  Well now, what was life like back there when you were a little girl, in the way of conveniences ... you didn't have air conditioning, well, did you always have an outdoor toilet? How did you take a bath?

Grandma: Well, we did not have an outdoor toilet, we had to go to the privy every time we needed to go to the toilet, and we had no bathtub, and so, we would heat water on a gasoline stove in the kitchen, and then bring in a washtub, and make enough hot water, warm water in the washtub, so that we could bathe in that washtub.

Dorothy: Did you have a screen or something, that you put up around it, or did everybody just leave the room?

Grandma: Well, the children would bathe first and there was just Daddy and I left, you see.

Dorothy: Well I mean when you were a little girl...

Grandma: Well by that time I think we had moved to 301 Riverside Avenue ...

Dorothy: No, when YOU were a little girl...

Grandma: Well [break] I remember when we lived there in Boyle Heights, bathtubs were rather new then, and the bathtub was built-in to the kitchen, we took our baths in the bathtub in the kitchen, and uh, everyone stayed out when they knew someone was taking a bath, and we had an outdoor toilet.

Dorothy: You had to take your baths between meals then.

Grandma: Yes, we did.  And uh, then when my mother, in her last illness, my father hired a housekeeper, and uh, she stayed after Momma had died. But, I detested her, somehow I didn't like her at all, she was a member of the Holiness church, and she was, uh, always preaching to us, holiness, and so as soon as I could, I got my father to, uh, let her go, and I said, "I'll keep house for you...

Marilee: You were a very strong-minded little girl!

Dorothy: You told your father who you wanted him to marry!

Grandma: Well, I tell you, I also was awfully offended by any religious piety, or anyting like that, and that is why I hated Mrs. McKenna, her name was Mrs McKenna, because she was a Holiness person, you know, she was a member of the Holiness church, and I had been brought up as a Christian under my father's preaching, but I had repudiated all that, and I had become practically a non-believer by that time. 

And uh, after that period past, Daddy and I never darkened the door of a church for 20 years. We never went to church. We sent you children to Sunday School, and thought that whatever appealed to you was all right, but we never taught you any, anything that we wanted you to believe. But we did try to teach you to be unselfish and considerate of others, of course. But that was all you ever got during that 20 years.

Dorothy: I think that this is just about enough for one day, and maybe Momma's voice is getting a little tired, and uh, I've got to take her, and get her your supper. But I think this is a good beginning, and uh, from time to time, hopefully once a week we'll get together, and at least take 30 minutes, and uh, see one of these tapes, each side is 30 minutes. And uh,  so that's just what we'll do, and thank you, Momma, and you, uh... In the middle of the night, if you think of something, why remember to write it down in the morning.

Grandma: Well, I'm making a list of things now, that I want to include in these memoirs, but, I have forgotten them since I've been sitting here. But I'll look them over...

Dorothy: I think this beginning, just like Marilee said, goes to show that you've still got all your faculties.

Grandma: That's right, that will show that, won't it!

Dorothy: In fact, Marilee had a good idea, she said that we all, not you, but myself and all my children, ought to go together and get a tape recorder for the Cederlofs, and let them tape something too, because that the other side of our family and if anybody else wanted to do it, fine, that would be nice that they could do on their side of the family, because we might as well take advantage of all these modern inventions.

Grandma: I feel so too! I think that it's worthwhile doing.

Dorothy: So, we'll sign off now, uh, the first installment of the Memoirs of Julia Ethel Musgrove Glasscock, who at this point is 92, almost 93 years old.



Marilee: All right, this is April 11, 1974, and Grandma's here again to give us another installment of her life, so I'll turn the tape over to her.

Grandma: There are two things I think I have missed saying so far, which might be of interest. One is, uh, the fact that Richard, when he was a real young boy...

[ end of this tape ]

Transcription of Part 3 (6:36 minutes)

Dorothy: And too, uh, because they weren't too clear in her mind and she's starting over, so she'll start again now.

Grandma: Well, the thing that stands out in my mind, how my, you know my father, if you remember, was, your grandfather, was small of stature, and Inez, his wife, was taller than his he was. And my mother, his first wife, had been taller than my father, too. And there were two boys, my father and one brother, one younger brother, Uncle Fred, were both small of stature. And the story went around, that one time, when they were babies, or little fellows, they were left alone, and some Indians, those North American Indians, came and looked through the window at them. And it always said, "they scared the growth out of those boys," and that's why they were small of stature. And the rest, there were six boys altogether in the family, the rest were good size, but those two boys, Jimmy and Fred, were small.

Dorothy: Well, Momma, how did the Indians happen to, or where were they that the Indians could've looked at them.

Grandma: Well, when they came out to be a missionary to the Indians

Dorothy: Where did the come from?

Grandma: They came from, my father's father came out from England to be a missionary to the Indians, and I suppose they must have found a house out in the wilds, where the Indians were, because they couldn't be a missionary to them unless they went to the residence of the Indians. The Indians didn't come into Toronto to be missionized,

Dorothy: Well, was your father born in England or was he born in Canada, after they moved?

Grandma: He was born in Canada, he was born in Toronto. And I don't remember his early history, except that I do remember that story being told about them, that they had left alone in a house, and some Indians had come looking in the window, and scared the growth out of them.

Dorothy: Well did they grow up in Canada? How long did they live in Canada? Or when did they move to the United States?

Grandma: Well, uh, my father came down to the United States to attend Northwestern University when he was ready to go to college, so I think he grew up in Toronto. And probably his father gave up being a missionary to the Indians and was just a missionary, a minister in some church in Toronto, you see. But, uh, they sent him down to Northwestern University, at the, to attend college at the Iliff School of Theology, which was on the campus of Northwestern University, and it was there he met my mother.

Dorothy: She was in college then?

Grandma: And her father, uh, she was the apple of his eye, my mother was a very beautiful woman, and, uh, unfortunately I always looked like my father, but I wished that I had brown eyes, and a nice straight nose like my mother, and, but my brother looked more like her. But uh, he sent, my grandfather was very proud of her, and he sent her to Northwestern University, My grandfather [Casey] was a capitalist. He never worked. He just made his money through stocks and bonds and bank stock and selling them you know. [Evidently she did not know about his years as a pioneer farmer!] But he wanted his daughter to have the very best of everything. So when she got there, she met this young fellow who was studying theology, to be a minister, and that was the last thing in the world he ever wanted her to do, to marry a minister. And at that time, liquor was supposed to be the worst thing that threatened our nation, and there was what was called the Prohibition Party. And my father was a Prohibitionist. But my mother's father was a capitalist, and he didn't have anything to do with Prohibition. And he said to my father, "Why Jimmy, I would walk through whiskey to my knees if I could just vote the Republican ticket." And so that was how much he thought of his

Dorothy: future son-

Grandma: his daughter's husband! Well then as soon as they were married, my mother already had developed, what they thought, uh, she had had hemorrhages, and they thought it was consumption, and so my father took her immediately to Colorado, because that was supposed to be the high altitude, good for consumption. But, and he had a charge in Longmont, his first charge was in Longmont, Colorado, where I was born. And then after that he went to Whea..., Idaho Springs, Colorado, where my brother was born, and then after that he went to, he had a charge in Denver. And it was there that, a doctor in Denver discovered that my mother didn't have consumption at all but she had a leaky valve in her heart. Now if it had been in these days that leaky valve could have been closed. But as it was there was no cure for her. She was hopelessly ill.

Dorothy: All right,

Grandma: Well I thought it was interesting that when we lived in we lived in Rialto on that house at 301 North Riverside Avenue, I had the two girls, and a boy, and ...

after this six minutes it has been erased by retaping at someone’s Thanksgiving dinner party. Sounds like it includes Marilee & Lee and Theresa & Alicia, Lee’s mother and sister, and Dorothy.