Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My Great Aunt

Tomorrow my Great Aunt Edna turns 100!  What an accomplishment.  She is my fathers aunt, my grandfathers sister and she lives in Indiana.  She is something else.  I have come to appreciate her more and more as I hear more about her.   I want to share what her local paper said about her so you can get to know a bit about this wonderful lady.  The following is from the Jackson County Tribune:

Her life, Her way


Edna Moorman Dye remembers exactly what people said when she came home from Indianapolis and went to church at Borchers one particular Sunday.

"Edna Moorman's got a car!" was the first thing that was gasped.

"Oh, and she's driving it!" was the second.

That was in a time when women didn't, as a rule, drive a car, let alone own one. They didn't usually finish high school, either, and they especially didn't go away to the big city to go to business school.

Why should they, when they could go to work right away in a factory, or marry and settle down?

That might be what other young women did, but Edna had plans of her own, even when she was a youngster in school.

"When we were studying geography, I said, ‘I'm going to see that,' and everybody laughed at me."

As it turned out, Dye, who now lives in Seymour and will mark her 100th birthday on May 7, has been to all 50 states and several foreign countries. She lived for a time in Alaska before it became a state, and when she was 87, she visited the Panama Canal.

It would have been hard to predict the adventures she would have when she began life on May 7, 1908, in Bartholomew County. Born at home to August and Elizabeth Moorman, she grew up on a farm, complete with cows and pigs and chickens.

"We'd come home from school and Mom would say, ‘Change your clothes and feed the chickens,'" Dye said.

Kids today, she added, "don't know how good they've got it."

Dye and her sister, Frieda, and her brother, Roy, would walk two miles to school. Later, Dye drove a horse and buggy to school. She would get out for lunch 15 minutes early so she could feed the horse.

"Oh, those were the horse and buggy days," she laughed.

She graduated from Cortland in 1927, an accomplishment in itself. Many girls attended school only until they were 16, the required age at which the law allowed them to leave, but Dye was determined to graduate.

"I liked school," she said. "A lot of girls quit at 16."

Frieda had gone to work and was already making money, and, "the neighbors thought it was terrible" that Dye's parents were going to pay to send her to college when instead she could have been working and making money.

"Then, when I bought a car ...," she said, laughing again.

But Dye was off to business school in Indianapolis, studying shorthand and typing. Her first job was with the U.S. Rubber Co.

She kept busy with work and friends and enjoyed dancing. On a visit home, she also was planning to go to a dance, but this time, Frieda put her foot down. Go to the dance Edna might, but she would not be wearing that flapper dress.

It was at a dance, in fact, that she met her future husband, Byferd Dye, who was from Kokomo. Edna had a friend who had a brother at Fort Benjamin Harrison, where Byferd was stationed with the U.S. Army, and Edna and Byferd met and hit it off.

On April 25, 1935, they married - eloped, actually.

"We were married two or three months before we told anybody," Edna said.

Secrecy was required so that Edna could keep her job; she wouldn't have been allowed to work had it been known that she was married. So they said their vows in a chapel in Indianapolis, and eventually, Byferd got a promotion, enabling Edna to quit work.

Byferd stayed in the service, and a couple of years after they married, he and Edna started their family. Their two sons were both born at Fort Harrison. William lives in California and James, a pastor, lives at Southport. The Dyes' daughter, Jacque Schultheis, who was born in Texas, lives at Seymour. There are seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

When Dye's husband retired, they moved back to the Cortland area. Dye worked for the Indiana Telephone Co. for several years. She started out as an operator and eventually became a night supervisor before she retired.

Through the years, Dye has enjoyed dancing, quilting, playing cards and doing volunteer work.

She mowed her own grass until she was 87, and drove her 1975 Hornet until she was 91.

An open house is being held in her honor from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 11 in the social room at Lutheran Community Home. All family and friends are invited.

Lets all take a moment and thank the Lord for the blessings of life and family and give a shout for 100 years of life for Edna!

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