Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween 2018, October 31, 2018

Ancestors are important...
Without them we are nothing.
~Hank Ketchum

Greetings to all of you on this spooky week of Halloween! This week when we celebrate the dark, scary side of life, it would seem to be the perfect time for me to continue my series looking at infamous characters of our family tree. But no. Something else will take priority.

Maida Gower Shepard and Eugene Shepard
about 1945
All Saints Day. This is also the week of my mother's birthday. Thursday, November 1 she will turn 94 years old, which makes her the senior member of our family. It has always been the great misfortune of my mother Maida Gower Shepard to have been born the day after Halloween. At least she has expressed that sentiment to me on numerous occasions in years passed. On the other hand, she was born on All Saints' Day. Since my mom has always been a saint in my book, November 1 is the perfect day for her to have been born.

She was born in Stone County, Arkansas, near the town of Mountain View. Her parents Leroy Gower and Nola Shannon Gower were both originally from Sylamore, a community a few miles west of Mountain View. They married in 1921 when Leroy was 22 and Nola had just turned 18. Their firstborn was a son, Hendrix Gower. Then in the fall of 1924 Maida came along. Work was hard to come by for Leroy, so when their daughter Maida was a year old, barely old enough to travel, they moved to Okemah, Oklahoma where Leroy found work and where they lived for 17 years. During that time they added another daughter, Vicki, to their family.

Maida and oldest son Gary Shepard, 2011
In 1942 the Gowers moved to San Diego, which is where Maida met Gene Shepard. In 1945 they married and began a joyful 58 year marriage. San Diego is also where they raised their 6 children, and where they lived for 36 years. When Gene retired they moved to Anacortes in Skagit County, Washington. Mom has lived in the family home on Wildwood Lane for the last 40 years.

These days she stays home most of the time with several family members helping to care for her in these sunset years of her life, including her oldest son Gary (pictured above with mom). Her memory is failing, but she still loves to visit with people and to attend church when she is up to it. Best wishes to Mom as she celebrates 94 years!

Creepy Family Fun. Mom is one of the many family members who find themselves in the following music video that I put together to celebrate Halloween. Some of the pictures in this video you have seen before while some of them are new to this Halloween video. Some images are from many years ago, while some were taken in recent days. This video includes creepy family members from California, Washington, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and even Pennsylvania. Happy Halloween to everyone!

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Steve Shepard

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