Monday, January 17, 2011

Jessie Christene Field Dibbens - Amanuensis Monday

My great-grandmother, Jessie, was born 137 years ago on January 16, 1874 in York, Carroll, Illinois. At that time Jesse James was robbing banks and trains in the next state over and child labor took a hit as 12 year-olds were taken out of the work force.
I love this picture of her, my great grandpa, Arthur Robert Jarman Dibbens and their children taking a lunch break on their farm between Kingman and Cheney, Kansas. The little boy on the left is my grandpa, Forrest. Jessie was truely a pioneer woman.
I had the opportunity to know her for a portion of my early life. She died before I was nine. What I do remember is that I called her "Grape Grandma" when I was very young. I remember finally realizing that she was "Great Grandma". For some reason it fit her and calling her that was a hard habit to break!

I have a letter that she wrote me in 1962 when I was in 2nd grade. It says:
 Good morning dear Shari Hope you are well and enjoying school a lot. Is your teacher nice and kind? Do you sing songs in the morning and write on the black board to we use to. Is there lots of visitors come to your school. One time a man lost his pig. and he came to our school. just stuck his head in the door and said, "did any of you see a runt pig? it was funny.
lots of love.greatMa D.

She wrote many letters, several of them in my collection, but this one is very special to me. Her letters were typical in many ways. They told of everyday happenings; It is sprinkling now a good rain would be welcome - I have been with Anna & Chas 3 wks will go with Fern's when they come over- oats planting is the order of the day now that is what the deer like lots of nice feeding.
Sometimes it was other news that was on her heart; One of the schoolboys drowned here. it was sad funeral. he lived with his grandparents. It pays to be ready when the call comes.
Always, there was love of family and friends, a few pictures when she was trying to describe something, and a peek into her heart with expressions of happiness, sorrow, concern or disappointment but no sign of giving up.
She spent quite a bit of her time in her garden and those of her children as she got older and started traveling back and forth between their homes. She also wrote many songs in her 90 years and loved to

sing; especially with her husband, Arthur.
I am fortunate that I knew her for a few years of my life.

Pictures: 1) Arthur Robert Jarman Dibbens, JR family about 1911
2) Letter from Great "Grape" Grandma Dibbens to me (Shari) 1962
3) "Grape Grandma" holding my sister, Kristi, while I sit close by. 1957

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