Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Rocky Gene Macy, Principal of the Noel School (K-8) Receives a Letter of Appreciation from School Patron Jolene (Brown) Jones:

December 6, 83


I have been meaning to do this for some time now and if I put this letter off any longer, chances are school will be out.

First of all I want to thank you for the attention you have shown in the problem we have every year with lice.  The first year Jerry was in school, naturally he came home with them.  I begged the principal to send notes home to the parents and when he said he didn't have time I asked for the names and addresses of the parents.  Naturally he didn't have access to them.  This year you have made it well known and I think some of the unsuspecting mothers, as I was, have made it a practice to check heads regularly.  Also, it's a comfort to know the school nurse checks them.

In previous years the only time a letter was sent home to the parents was when money was wanted for some project or donation.  Your letters keep us informed of the progress of the school as well as what's expected of us as parents.

Next, in years past, to walk down the halls was an experience in itself.  The darkness and hostility seemed to be everywhere.  This year it seems the halls bounce with eagerness and enjoyment from the kids as well as the teachers.  For the first time since Jerry has been in school it seems like a "fun" place to be.  (Not a place where students HAVE to spend seven hours a day whether they like it or not.)

Again, thanks for the effort you have put into our school.  It's a good feeling to know your child always enjoys being there and not have to worry about their safety.

Jo Jones


Nancy Jane "Siss" (Roark) Sreaves Writes to her Brother-in-Law, William Jesse "Jess" Sreaves:

This short, two-page letter was written by my maternal grandmother, Siss Sreaves, to her brother-in-law Jess.  It was postmarked in Seneca, Missouri, on the afternoon of May 20th, 1919.  It was addressed to "William Jesse Sreaves, Boston Mass, General Hospital No. 10."  The letter was given to me by Jess's daughter, Mary Sreaves Clotfelter, in the late 1980's or early 1990's.

Seneca, MO

Dear Brother,

We got your letter.  Was real glad to hear from you.  Ruby is at your mother's.  She seems real nice.  When do you think you will be home?  I hope soon.  Dan is plowing corn.  He has just about got it over two times.  We have not heard from Claude for over a month, but he was well when we heard.   I don't guess he got your letter for he don't hardly ever get one.  Mother worries so much about him.  Her and Papa said for you to send them your picture if you have one.  Do send them one for they would be glad to get one.  I was sure glad you sent us one.  Write soon & a long letter.

Siss & Dan

Hazel J. (Nutt) Macy Writes from Florida:

My paternal grandmother, Hazel Josephine (Nutt) Macy went to Florida and stayed with her sister and brother-in-law, Ina and Lewis Johnston of Winter Garden, in 1964.  She was there for an extended period of time and apparently felt she had moved there on a permanent basis.  One story I remember as a teen was that one of the relatives in Florida eventually telephoned one of the relatives in Missouri and asked for assistance in getting Hazel to return home.  She finally came back, on a bus as I remember it, after learning that her only daughter, Betty (Macy) Lankford, had given birth to her only daughter, Angela.  Betty (nor any of the other Missouri relatives) had not informed Hazel that she was pregnant.    The family story goes that when Betty telephoned Hazel to tell her about the birth of Angela, Hazel replied, "I didn't know you all were thinking about adopting."  Betty then told her mother that she had given birth to Angela, the Lankford's third child.  At that point Grandmother Hazel decided that it was time to return to Missouri.

Angela was a late-in-life baby, probably at least ten years younger than her next oldest sibling, Dennis.  Betty didn't make the pregnancy known to many until it was obvious.  I remember my mother hearing about it from Betty's dad, Chock (Charles Eugene Macy), and then phoning Betty from Chock's house and keeping her on the line until Betty finally shared her special news.

But nobody told Grandmother Hazel.

The first letter is from Hazel to her sister, Ethel (Nutt) Macy.  Ethel was married to Jack Macy, Chock's brother, making the children of each couple double-cousins.  The second letter is to someone Hazel identifies as her "nephew Bobby."  I don't know - at this time - who Bobby was.  (Aunt Mary Day Macy King, Wayne Macy's widow, suggested that Bobby might be Bobby Nutt, the son of Hazel's brother, Bob Nutt.)

I have no idea as to how or when I came into possession of xeroxed copies of these two letters.

"Ina Mae" referred to in the first letter was a married daughter of Hazel's hosts, Lewis and Ina (Nutt) Johnston.  Her husband, Bob, was apparently a traveling preacher.

Winter Garden, Fla
Oct. 18, 1964

Dear Ethel,

I'm over at Ina Mae's.  I stay with her of a night while her husband is away preaching.  I am staying all day today & will stay all night tonight.  Ina is over at Carlton's.  His wife had an operation.  Ina Mae went over yesterday & spent the day.  Ina went today & will stay until tomorrow afternoon.

Ina & I went to prayer meeting yesterday morning.  I requested prayer for you.  I testified yesterday morning at prayer meeting.  I am now a member of the Church of God.  I feel like it is the right church.  I can't really wait to get back to church.  I didn't testify for the Lord.  I told what he had did for me.  I used to think the Church of God people testified for the Lord & we used to say "How could they testify for someone they have never seen?"  But they just tell what the Lord has done for them.  I have been happier since I became a child of God that I have ever been before.  He says he will never leave us or forsake us.  I feel he is with me wherever I go & I am not afraid.

I pray for you almost constantly & I feel the Lord is going to heal you altho it may take a little while.  Confess all your sins to God altho he already knows what you have done, tell him, name each thing, over to him.  I did & I told him I had stood all I could stand & that I wanted him to heal me.  Sometimes things happen to us to bring us closer to the Lord.  I know my sick spell brought me closer to the Lord.

Is anyone staying with you now?  I do hope you do have someone.

I expect to come back probably next Mar.  Be ready to go with me to club meetings.  I go everywhere now and have been since I came out of the hospital.

Ina Mae has a colored girl ironing for her today.  She sure had a big ironing.  We had baked hen, dressing, baked potatoes, spinach, combination salad, & cornbread for dinner.  I got the dinner.  I still know how to cook.

Ina Mae is taking her oldest daughter, Gail, to have her hair cut at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon.  We will go pick her up at school.  I will go over to Ina's & shower and shampoo my hair then we are going to prayer meeting tonight in Orlando, Ina's Mae's family & I.  Bob is preaching at Fort Lotta Dale, Florida.  Ina Mae and the children are going to Tampa to spend Thanksgiving & the rest of the wk end with Bob as he will be in Tampa, Florida then.  He will preach in Tampa two wk then Dec 6 he is going to start a two wks meeting in Winter Garden.  The church is just two blocks from Ina.

I used to wonder why Ina went into the Church of God.  I don't wonder at that any more.

I have been doing some sewing, making a dress and a couple house coats.  I have three more dresses to make, one is Dacron (dark blue) then the other two is material I had back home.   I bought a ready make dress not long ago.  

Are you still having 75 degrees weather?  Here the weather is in the 80's & about 67 or 70 at night, real nice.  I don't get much news from back there altho I hear from several tho.

Ina Mae's boy, Buddy, & I had planned to go fishing this afternoon after school in the lake by their house, but he has to go to Boy Scouts & I have to shampoo my hair so I guess we will have to put it off.  Ina Mae has to take Gail over to Winter Garden to get her hair cut so I thought I would just shampoo my hair & shower over at Ina's.  I have a key to her house.

I will work at Mode O. Day tomorrow afternoon.  I am going to work there during Christmas holidays.  My!  I don't have much money now as I pay $30 every month on my hospital bill.  I had to give up my other help when I came out here.  They kept me in a stew all the time.  When it rained, it poured.  Everything happened to me at once.

Well, I am going to say Hurry and Get Well.  We are still praying for you.  I hope you are much much better.

Love as Ever,

The following letter to "Bobby" is undated but appears to have been written about the same time as the one to Ethel.

Winter Garden, Fla.
Tuesday morning

Dear Bobby,

Well, it will soon be Thanksgiving.  I hope you have a nice dinner, & I'm sure you will.

I guess the children will all be home.  won't that be nice?  All of Ina & Lewis children will be here for Thanksgiving except Ina Mae's family.  Her husband is preaching in Tampa, Florida, so she & the children are going down there after school Wednesday & will be back Sunday afternoon.  Tampa, Florida, is a hundred miles from here.  

I am going to work at Mode O. Day.  You didn't know your Aunt Hazel was a sales lady, did you?  I just love to work down there.

Your Aunt Ina is washing today.  I did mine yesterday.

I heard you had had some cold weather back there.  We had one cool day & night .  That is the Florida people did, but Aunt Hazel wasn't cold.  They get colder that I do because their blood is thin.  

Well, Bobby, after Thanksgiving Christmas will be here soon.

I hope you, your Mother & Daddy, are much much better.

Love Your
Aunt Hazel 

Ned Roark Sreaves Writes Home from World War II:

My maternal grandparents had seven children, of which three were boys.  The oldest, Harold Dean, was instutionalized with a mental condition while still an adolescent, and the youngest, Floyd Edgar, was born in 1930 and too young to have been involved in World War II.   Their middle son, Ned Roark Sreaves, was born on April 23, 1920, and did serve in the war.

I had always heard that Ned served in the Pacific, and from that wrongly assumed that he was in the Navy.  His unit, according to the stationery on which this letter was written was Battery C of the 203 Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft).  That unit was apparently part of the Missouri National Guard before being nationalized in 1940.  By the time Uncle Ned wrote this letter, the unit was located in Los Angeles, California, where it was providing air defenses.  Three months after the letter was written, the unit was moved to Alaska and on to the Aleutian Islands.

My mother, Ruby Florine Sreaves, was born 15 months after Ned.  While she did not serve in the military, Mom did help with the war effort through employment at the ammunition plant in Parsons, Kansas, and also in sales at at least one Army post exchange.

I remember Mom telling a story about how Ned brought the war home to their family.  Not long after he returned from the war the family was having a large sit-down dinner (perhaps it was a holiday meal), when someone accidentally dropped a platter that made a loud noise.  She said that Ned reacted instantly by diving under the table.  It was a sobering moment that brought the horror of war right into their dining room.

Uncle Ned married Gwendolyn Wallace and they had their own dairy farm near Seneca, Missouri, where they raised six children.  He died of a heart attack in March of 1970 at the very young age of forty-nine.  Four of his six children still lived at home at the time of his death.

This letter was with some correspondence and pictures that were being passed around by family members in the early 1980's.   I made a photocopy of the letter before returning the items to my mother.

Here is what Ned Roark Sreaves wrote to his family on Saturday, March 14, 1942:

Dear folks,

Well I got your card that was mailed on the 4th and was glad to hear that you are all well.  I am just fine and don't know much to write about.  We are moved into the new barracks now and they are all right.  I am on guard to-day and last night.  Didn't get but about 4 hours of sleep last night and it has been raining all day and I don't get to sleep.  You know how I always did like to sleep on the good old rainy day.  It really gripes me but there is nothing I can do about it but grin and bear it.  ha.

We sure do have some nice weather here, gets pretty cool at night, just right to sleep good I guess.

I guess you have heard all about the two trains running together up near Granby.  I heard it over the radio last night and it's in the papers to-day.

Well how are you doing with the milk route Daddy?  I heard that you had it again.  What are you hauling it on?  Did you get a new truck or take the one Homer had?  Why don't you write me and tell me all about it?  There should be lots of news back there.

I got a letter from M.R. (his older sister, Mary Ruth Sreaves Marble, most likely) the other day and Christine (Christine Sreaves Dobbs, a younger sister) was up there (the Kansas City area).  Has she ever come back?  Who are Florine and Christine's boyfriends?  M.R. said something about them but gave no names.

They tell me that Alvina and Jack lost their baby.  That's tuff luck.  Wonder if Jack is going to have to go back to the Army.  Phillp got a box of candy from Frankie the other day, and she told him to give old Ned a piece.  Sure was good, too.

Answer soon.

NBC signing off to take shower.

Ned Sreaves

(and then it continues)

I sure hope daddy can get several of the milk customers back& bet he can do it too.  Maybe he'll get a chance to see the route again this spring.  What kind of truck did he get?  Wish you would write and and let me know more about what is taking place.  How many cows are you milking now?  Boy if the war was just over I could come home and haul milk.  But I guess God only knows when that will be.

I sure wish the girls would write me more, but I guess they are pretty busy all the time.  Tell Betty (Betty Lou Sreaves Macy - the youngest sister) I think she owes me a letter.  She should know a lot of good news.

Ned S.

Letter to Nancy Jane "Siss" (Roark) Sreaves:

Harold Dean Sreaves was the oldest child of Dan and Siss Sreaves.  He was born on April 17, 1914, just thirteen months after the couple was married.  Surprisingly, I never knew about him until after he died in 1968.  "Dean," as he was known, had been hospitalized as an adolescent with mental issues, and spent most of his life in the State Hospital in Nevada, Missouri.  As the following letter would indicate, Siss, my grandmother, probably always harbored hopes that he would get well and return home.

I suspect that I found this letter in a bundle of family materials that was being passed around.  I made a copy of it.

The story I heard later was that Dean suffered some mental impairment after going through a high fever as the result of measles.   The story goes that he had been found one evening standing in someone else's home, and that after that his parents made the hard decision that he needed to be sent to a hospital (asylum) setting.

State Hospital No. 3.
Nevada, Missouri

January 9, 1939

Mrs. D.A. Sreaves
Route 1
Seneca, Mo.

Dear Madam,

Replying to your inquiry of January 7, we regret to say there has been no change in the condition of your son, Harold Sreaves.  He is in good health and is well satisfied here, but his conduct has not improved and his mind is impaired much the same as it always has been.

Sincerely yours,

Orr Mullinax, M.D.

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