February 12, 2007
Again, I am wide awake at 12:55 a.m. I have had several nights like this. It is 1:55 now and no signs of sleep, so I will get up and begin writing memories.
Mom, Ruth Content Bond Fitz Randolph, and Dad, Ashby FitzRandolph, and my toddler brother, Ashby Bond, lived in Jarvisville, West Virginia the winter of 1927-1928. Dad had been a teacher at Shady Grove one-room school in 1927. Shady Grove was a country school farther down Ten Mile Creek toward Salem. I always liked driving to Salem by way of that school. The weather had to be just right for part of the way we drove in a creek bed because there was no room beside the creek for a road – for maybe 500 feet. We took the right fork in the road at the Little Morris one-room school, going by the Mount Olive EUB Church, joining the main road just out of Salem. It was a much closer route to Salem but only good in summer and then only if we had not had rain recently.
The Shady Grove School had been closed at the end of the 1926-1927 school term because there were not enough children the next year to merit maintaining the school there. Dad was moved to the Jarvisville two-room school as principal and teacher of grades four through six. He found it easier to start children in the first grade so he asked to have another one-room school when one was available.
The summer of 1927, Mom, Dad and Bond moved to Jarvisville close enough that Dad could easily walk to school. There were no paved roads that far out in the country.
Mom and Dad looked for a home and farm to buy. They bought the home they lived in until their health made it necessary for them to live with one of their seven children. It was winter by the time they bought it so they waited until spring to actually move to their new home. In the meantime, because Mom was pregnant at the time, they decided that Mom and Bond would stay with Grandma Jenny Bee FitzRandolph in Salem so that Aunt Doc, Xenia Ethel Bond, could deliver the child – me. Uncle Elmo lived with Grandma. He was then fourteen. Grandpa and Grandma Randolph had lived in Berea, West Virginia, but when their oldest child entered Salem College they bought a home across from the college administration building on Pennsylvania Avenue so that Uncle Brady could live at home while a college student. Grandma lived in Salem during the school year and Grandpa at Berea, where he taught grades one through eight in grade school.
Time came for Bond and Mom to go to Salem to live. That week I arrived right on schedule. It was a leap year which occurs every four years, February 29. Aunt Doc was sent for on February 28. She rode a horse to visit her patients in their homes or she used her horse and buggy for travel. She never had a car. She was in and out of Grandma’s home that day and Uncle Elmo was very concerned that I might be born on the 29th, which would rob me of a birthday three years out of four. Mom said it was after 11:00 p.m. when I arrived, a healthy baby girl. A boy and a girl, what a perfect family, for that time, anyway! Mom was kept in bed seven days after my birth so Aunt Doc continued to come and check on mother and baby daily. Mom and Dad named me Xenia Lee for my Great Aunt Doc and my Grandpa Florein Lee Bond, Mother’s Papa, whom she adored. Finally when I was two weeks old Dad came to Salem to bring Mom, Bond and baby Xenia Lee home to stay. What rejoicing as Bond saw “home” again. He went from room to room looking and laughing.
Aunt Doc was Grandma Lenora’s older sister. Aunt Doc and her sister, Aunt Elsie, lived together near the college. Professional women did not marry in those days. They were married to their work. Aunt Elsie was college registrar and taught Latin and maybe other subjects through the years. Grandpa and Grandma both had the Bond name, so Grandma did not really change her name when she married.
Aunt Doc had started medical school in Chicago at Northwestern Women’s Medical School. No women were accepted into the men’s school. The year she graduated, the men’s school opened to women students so she transferred there. She was in the first men’s and women’s graduation together. Some years later my mother’s brother, Ian, graduated from Northwestern Medical School. He continued in practice in Chicago in OB/gyn until retirement.
The paved road just came to Jarvisville and then it became dirt and continued on southwest. Another road went southeast over Mt. Olive hill to Buffalo Lake and on to Good Hope. When spring thaw allowed travel on the dirt road, we all moved two miles on south from Route 50 Highway, to our new home in the country. Here I grew up with my three brothers, Bond, Alois and Rex, and three sisters, Mae, Edna Ruth and Beth.
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