Dewey Smith was born in Monon, Indiana and found his way to Elwood, Indiana, where he married my grandfather’s sister, Evelyn Barmes.
Uncle Dewey worked at the Elwood Post Office and as a little tyke, Mother would allow me to climb the long stretch of stairs to take outgoing mail to the window to hand over to Uncle Dewey. Not only was I proud of this big task, but it was also an important moment when the tall handsome gentlemen, always with a smile, leaned over to address me.
“Well, hello, Mr. Jolliff. How can I help you, today?”
There was always a familiar tone, but always still on an adult-to-child professional level.
Aunt Evelyn passed away several years before Uncle Dewey. In the meantime, he kept busy with family and friends and took to learning email and even fully participating in an online group associated with our hometown.
This evening, I ran across an email from Uncle Dewey that shared some of his favorite memories of the Barmes family.
From: Dewey Smith [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, June 25, 2004 3:54 PM
To: Darin L. Jolliffe-Haas
Subject: Tall tales
When the Barmes family [Virgil & Thelma Barmes and their three oldest children, Leroy, Evelyn, and Norma] lived at 2705 North D Street they had a large garage with a second story. This was where the boys met to have fun and play cards. One time Leroy and others went out and swiped a watermelon. Well, Virgil caught them. He made them stand there for several minutes while he preached about how wrong it was to steal things. After his long lecture, he pulled his knife from his pocket and started for the melon and said “Now let’s eat the damn thing.”
When Uncle Harry [Daugherty, brother to Thelma Daugherty Barmes] stayed there [with Virgil & Themla Barmes] he loved to play his guitar and sing about “Old Shep”. When Evelyn heard the song this she would always start crying.
When Evelyn was born, Leroy could not say Evelyn. All he could come close to it was Ebbie. That is how she got the name that she lived with the rest of her life. Eb or Ebbie
During the depression, Virgil was out of work and went to work for the WPA. He taught woodworking to several at the City Building. I don’t l know how long this lasted.
Also during the depression, he used to go hunt rabbits and sell them for 25 or 50 cents each. Evelyn used to tell how he got enough money one time to buy her a new pair of shoes. At that time the shoes were probably about $1.50.
Maybe I can think of more later.