Orrel Sack, and Ida Hanson at Ida's home,
Los Angeles, Calif - December 1940.
Viola and Vivian were my dad's cousins. Viola was the only child of Daddy's Uncle Ed, and Vivian was the only child of Ed's sister, "Aunt Lulu".
Orrel was Ed and Lulu's brother Frank's wife. Ida was the wife of George Hanson, half-brother of Ed, Lulu, and Frank.
Is that clear as mud? Well, you now know more in those two paragraphs than I did for years after I began researching my dad's side of the tree.
George Hanson started a large chicken "ranch" back when Los Angeles wasn't much more than a farm town dotted with orange groves.
But I digress...
Cousin Vivian wasn't a "beauty" by any means, but she was a bubbly ray of sunshine wherever she went. Always smiling. Always. Never an unkind word about anyone. Just being around her made people feel good, she had that effect. Born in Pond Creek, Oklahoma, she grew up around Burdett, a tiny town west of Larned in Pawnee County, Kansas.
Charles Keller was a veterinarian who as a child had come from Clinton Co, Missouri to the Burdett area with his sisters and their widowed mother.
When Vivian and Charles married in December 1940, she was 29 and he was 68. As far as I know, she was his first and only wife. I seriously doubt the age gap made a difference. Charles was retired but still in good health; Vivian was an enthusiastic companion. The photo above was taken during their wedding trip to southern California.
In 1917, Charles built a house eight miles north of Burdett.
The perspective of childhood often makes one remember a not-so-big house as huge, but after looking at snapshots of "Vivian's house" from different angles again, it really was huge. H-U-G-E.
For starters, it had two parlors. And two sets of stairs, one from the front hall and one from the kitchen, which was bigger than most living rooms. Upstairs were three large bedrooms and a playroom that opened onto a "sleeping porch". And above all that, the attic. A real attic full of forgotten treasures, perfect for exploring on rainy afternoons.
Charles and Vivian loved road trips. Vivian had a lead foot. Loved to drive faster. When the infirmities of age finally caught up with Charles, he didn't deny her the freedom of the open road. Instead, he got her a Hudson. Hudsons were built like - if not from - tanks (or scrapped battleships).
But looks are deceiving. That clunky green "tank" could go from -0- to 70 in seconds. Seat belts and car seats unknown and unnecessary. Centrifugal force plastered children to the back seat.
Vivian loved to take company to Dodge City. We'd pile into the Hudson, and because I wasn't big enough to see out the window without standing up, all I'd see until we got to Boot Hill was sky and the back of the front seat. Once Vivian put the pedal to the metal, standing was impossible. We went other places, of course, but Dodge was her favorite, and she somehow made each visit as exciting as the first.
Charles was a few months shy of 89 when he died in 1961. He and Vivian had been married 20 years. She was so full of life that everyone assumed she too would live as long, but sadly, that was not to be. A stroke felled her six years later, at 57.
Daughter Carol had married and moved away, and had no use for a huge house in the middle of nowhere. The couple who bought it didn't like the location either, and believe or not, moved it to their own land a few miles away!