Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ardea Agnes Smith Stevens (1910-1998)

Again, I am referring to a great aunt but one I called Aunt Ardee.  She was born approximately 20 months after her sister, Neva.  In my growing up years, she lived across the road from great grandma Smith's house. She had beautiful flowers in her yard and harvested bowls full of strawberries from her garden. I was quite afraid of her garden because she said she often saw snakes there.  I loved going to her house because she was so fun loving. She was grandmother to my second cousins. I was always a little jealous. She was so cool.

Ardee was married to Uncle Steve. His name was really Clarence Stevens and he had piles of Reader's Digest Condensed books in his living room.  They had two children, James Robert and Dorothy Jean, but lost their son in 1935 to pneumonia when he was only seven years old. As a kid I remember my mother telling me that another family named Stevens (no relation) lost a child to the same malady.  This families' son was name Gene Stevens. So there was confusion in the community when Steve and Ardee lost their Jimmie. Some people thought they had lost both children.  Their daughter's name was Jean Stevens.

While looking through the Jefferson Newspaper archives, I found a piece about Jean coming home from the hospital.  It was in The Jefferson Herald on January 24, 1935. It was a Thursday.
     "Jeanne [sic] Stevens was brought home from St. Anthony hospital at Carroll on Wednesday afternoon slowly recovering in health.  Her brother, Jimmie, who was seriously ill for more than a week of pneumonia, died early Saturday morning at the home of his grandmother, Mrs. H. L. Smith.  The funeral services were held Monday at 3:30."

     I did not know that Jimmie had died in G Grandma Smith's house or that Jean was in the hospital at the time. What profound sadness for young parents.

     While looking for more clues about the other Stevens' family loss, I happened upon an article that I can not believe had ever been told to me. It seems that the Calvin Stevens family (the not related one, but friends of my parents) after having lost their five year old son, Gene, in 1935 also lost their seven year old daughter.  She died in October of that year from complications resulting from an illness early in the year which was thought to be scarlet fever.  Sorry about the interrupting paragraph in my Ardea post, I am just overwhelmed with this new knowledge.

When my great grandma Stella Smith died in 1959, there was a sale of her household goods. As loving and generous as she was, not all of her children took after her.  There was controversy as can happen when numerous siblings are involved. So, to keep everything fair, no one was to take anything. Everything would be sold on the household sale. If a family member wanted something, they could purchase it. Grandma always sat in a rocking chair and since she was a little heavy, the rockers were slightly flat on the bottom. I had spent so much time with her, and she was usually in that chair that I decided I wanted my dad to buy it for me. Somehow, Aunt Ardee found this out and said to my dad. "If Margie wants that rocker, she can have it". I don't know if it is true or not but I was always lead to believe that the only item not sold of Grandma Smith's was that rocker.  You can see why I thought Aunt Ardee was the greatest.

Ardea, Steve, Jean

I would like to do more on Aunt Ardee, but I would need some help from her granddaughters. What do you think, girls?

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