The clock is now in our living room. Ten decades after a family purchased it from a Stafford furniture store, it's still keeping time, though the chimes no longer ring and it's certainly not as accurate as time on a cell phone screen. A Kansas Farmer writer was intrigued by our century-old clock and used it as a backdrop to one of the photos she took this spring for our Master Farmer/Master Farm Homemaker article.
|This cropped version appeared in the Kansas Farmer online story.|
|Roy Russell with Marie's sister, Lorene, her husband, Gary, and sons Greg and Garrick. At right, notes and instructions found in the clock.|
|Randy in the back with his brother, Lyle, Grandmother Laura Ritts, and sister Kathy on a long-ago Sunday.|
|Marie, her brother Alvin, and sister Lorene with their mother, Laura Russell Ritts in 1969.|
I always wish I had known Laura better. But even when Randy and I were dating, she was beginning the slippery journey that is Alzheimer's. She died 22 years ago, on May 14, 1992, at the age of 93. She was born October 21, 1898, at Stafford, the daughter of Edward and Lodie Maria Moore Russell.
|Laura and her sister, Mildred|
She loved music, just like I do. I wish I had known her then. She, like me, taught Sunday School and directed children's musical productions at Stafford Methodist Church. She, too, was a member of Stafford Drama Guild, but it was long before I arrived on the scene. I think we would have had lots to talk about, if dementia hadn't interfered.
The family photos were at Melvin's and Marie's house, but they came home with us after Randy, his siblings and I got tired of sorting. As oldest, Randy became the unofficial keeper of the family archives, I suppose. As we stuffed old photos and scrapbooks into plastic tubs, we all said that we'd sort through them "some day."
Every so often, I pull them out, looking for an old photo. There seem to be far fewer photos from Marie's side of the family. Maybe they didn't save as many things, as the young Ritts family moved from parsonage to parsonage for Rev. Alvin's next pastoral appointment. On a preacher's salary, maybe they couldn't afford studio images of their growing family.
|The chair also came from Grandma Ritts' house|