My grandmother, Edith Pauline (Martin) Mullen, was born Oct 27th, 1906 and died
on August 27th, 1976. That was three years after I was born. I never knew her or
my grandfather, Silas Beryl Mullen, and I am convinced I have missed out greatly
beacuse of that.
What follows is a letter she wrote shortly before her and my grandfather’s 50th
wedding anniversary. There is nothing remarkable about her writing, she wrote
down some highlights of her life; a life I will never really know much about.
I found it interesting that rather than saying she gave birth to one child or
another, she said something like, “Paul Asher came to share our home.” Later on,
when my uncle died at the age of six, she said, “Paul went away from us.”
I suppose what is more remarkable is what is not said. Contrary to what I
assumed from the attached photographs, my grandmother didn’t have a negative
bone in her body and she didn’t have anything negative thing to say about her life or those in it.
I wish she would have said more about my father, but I suppose it’s her life,
not his. I did learn that he went to seminary for a year, but that is really the extent of what she wrote.
I would have like to have known my grandmother. But her faith is the same as
mine, and I am convinced I will know her yet.
I want to share with you some of the nice things that have happened along the way.
These have been very happy years. Oh yes! There have been times that were hard, but we had our love for each other to keep us close and our love for the Lord to guide us all the way.
When we went to Cincinnati we were so proud of our first apartment! The boys from the school came over one evening to greet us and share some treats. As they stomped up the two flights of stairs, the horrified landlady stood in the hall below and the teasingly told her, “We left our horses outside.”
We had lots of fun with the students at the seminary, but we learned lots of good lessons there too. These are memories that have carried us all through these years.
In the summer, we came back and lived with Mamaw and Uncle Tom until time to go back to school. In November after we went back to school, Paul Asher came to share our home. He was a beautiful child. We loved him so very much. He was always a sweet child. Many times I think, as I remember him, that if he had grown up, he might be like James today.
Then later, we moved back near Lafayette where Daddy worked on a farm. We bought our first furniture and furnished our little house. Uncle Arthur gave us a hen with some hatching eggs and we raised our first chickens. Different members of the family gave us seeds and plants so we had a good garden. I canned. I had learned that at home, so we put away some food for winter,
In the spring, Daddy got a job in Lafayette and we moved up on the back of the farm where Mamaw and Uncle Tom lived. Marilouise came to live with us there. Paul loved this baby sister and when I first saw her, I said to mother, “Isn’t she the prettiest thing you ever saw?” “well, I just can’t say that she is.” but she grew up to be a beautiful baby. Paul loved her so very much that even later in as much as he loved ice cream cones, he was willing to give her the last bite of his nice cream cone,
It was there that our good friends Margaret and Charles Spillman came to show us their new baby daughter, Irene. Margaret had been my beloved friend since before I started to school and all through a high school; in fact, all our lives; as long as she was with us.
From there we moved down to Cottonwood Corners and we had been there for some time, when Whaneta came to live with us. Oh the terrible storm that shook the country that night!!! It split the big cottonwood tree there at the corner there in half. This tree had been a guidepost for the early settlers as they moved across the Wea Prairie in their covered wagons. They always told them to follow the lines beyond the great cottonwood. That night, the cottonwood was split and now it is gone.
Daddy continued to work at Fairfield’s in Lafayette. Although he only made $19.95 a week, we thought that was a big wage and he had the best job in the family. Nothing to compare with the wages they are making today.
From Cottonwood Corners we moved to Stockwell. One morning, it was four below zero when Grandpa and Uncle Lester came with a truck to help us move over to Stockwell. We had a comfortable little home there and after we had been there for about a year, James and John came early one morning to live with us. Oh, they were darling, so tine, and so fragile. Aunt Rosilee and Daddy stood over the basket, almost constantly, for three days and nights to see that they didn’t choke. But! They grew up to be big men, but anyone who saw them that week would never have believed that they would be the big, handsome men that they are now.
We lived in Stockwell for quite a while and then we moved out in the country,
south of Stockwell and Joseph came to live with us there. Aunt Lucy stayed with
us that summer to help me take care of the children and do the work. For her
wages, I bought her a pair of school shoes. Can you imagine that? Baby sitting
wages? From the farm out there, that was the place where Paul went away from us. You know it was hard! It was very hard for me to accept the Lord’s will in his going away. It wasn’t until twelve years later at the breakfast table on Paul’s 18th birthday that I saw that the will of the Lord was over us all the time. Because that day he would have had to register for the service and they were sending over seas within three weeks after they were drafted.
Daddy was preaching at Clarkshill then. He was ordained there in 1933, the week before Paul went away. John Chase, his former college roommate came to speak at the church. Daddy was ordained then by elders of the Clarkshill Christian Church. He continued in that ministry for 47 years and he still continues to speak and to teach every opportunity that he has.
We moved into a little house in Clarkshill. It was closer to his work and it was a good home for the children. One evening, shortly after we moved, the children were playing outside and I went out to see about them. A little neighborhood girl said, “They are not supposed to be playing with me, ‘cause I have the whooping cough!” She had come over to visit them with the whooping cough. Soon, we all had the whooping cough.
We had friends in that community and that is where Marilouise and Wahneta started to school. They had a nice teacher and they learned very well. Samuel came to live with us while we lived there and soon after he came, everybody had the chicken pox. He had them very bad, but he got along and came through all right. The rest of them hardly knew they had the chicken pox.
We moved out into the country for a few months and then moved to Lafayette out on short Fifth Street, up the steps to the house. It was a cold house, but we got along very well there. Daddy had been ill and unable to work, so I had a job. I took Samuel and Joseph to nursery school as I went to work and brought them home as I came home from work. The others went to school at Highlands School and they all did very well. I was pleased.
Lafayette has been our home for many years and I have enjoyed living here; seeing the city grow and taking part in activities of the city while we were there, Nonah came to live with us. She was a sweet baby. I had someone take care of me, but she wasn’t a very good nurse. Wahneta was only six years old, but she fixed a cup of tea and brought it for me while I was in bed with Nonah. I will always remember that because she has been my cup of tea for many years.
Through those years, we went up North. Daddy was perching at Bethany Chapel. The people there were so very nice to us. One of the experiences I remember there: at home my different sisters had worked and they had taken turns buying a turkey for Christmas at home, I didn’t see how I could ever manage the money for a turkey for us to take out there. We went up to Bethany Chapel for the Christmas program. What a delight! Those lovely farm people had provided us with food; groceries, a turkey, a goose, chickens, steaks, and just EVERYTHING. I was so THRILLED, I could hardly believe it! They were the salt of the earth. I called Mother the next morning. She and the girls came in and got the turkey and goose to fix for Christmas dinner. We went out there and I was able to provide my share of turkey for the family. How much it means to have great Christmas friends like that!
Sometime late we moved down to Potter’s Hollow. It wasn’t a very nice house, but it was a beautiful place to live. The children had such good times, playing over the hills and in the cave down below the hill. It was here, while I was working that I found a good friend, May Lafon. She is still our friend and is in our Sunday School class at church. We have raised our children together. May stayed with the children when I went to the hospital to have Esther. Esther was a big, healthy baby and always did real well. We loved her very much, we still do.
Then with the help of our good friend from the church at Reynolds, where Daddy was preaching; Mr. Lane helped us to buy our first home up on Kassouth Street. We moved up there about the 4th of July, bought two big bundles of paper and started in to make a home of that house. It was a lot of work, but it was a lot of pleasure, too. We had such a nice time, fixing it up like we wanted.
It was while we were living there that Daddy went to school down at Indiana University for a short course. He had promised James that if he passed in school that year, that he would buy a bicycle for him, a NEW bicycle. And he did; on Saturday before he left on Sunday to go down to Bloomington to school. What a time I had portioning out the time so everybody could ride that bicycle. Joseph got up at daybreak, and took his turn before the others were up, because Joseph was just big enough to ride then.
That too, was the time when we went to the park on the 4th of July and lost Joseph, we hunted every place and we couldn’t find him. We stayed for the fireworks, but we couldn’t find Joseph. So, finally, we decided to take the children home and Daddy would go back to look some more, we even called the police to help us look for him. But before they found him, one of the neighbors found him playing out along the lake and came bringing him home in the night.
Oh, we had lots of fun at the park. One time, Whaneta had a new pair of shoes
when she went up there. She took them off to go and play and left them by a
tree. She had to come home barefooted because somebody else had found the shoes
by the tree. Then the children learned to swim at the park. They went up a Lot
and swam and learned to dive, later on Whaneta and Joseph took Red Cross fist aid life saving over at Purdue, that was not until later.
it was there that Lois came to live with us. We had a little bassinet for her and she was so sweet in that. The people at Reynolds were a little bit disappointed that I didn’t let them pick her up and handle her the first lime I took her to church. But she was rather a frail little thing and I learned at the hospital that babies were to be handled very carefully.
Oh, I forgot something that I meant to mention. The first time I took James and John to church, I took them both on one pillow when they were three weeks old to the Clarkshill Christian Church. They have been going along with me all these years.
It is a pleasure and a joy that I have on Sunday morning to sit with several of my children, grandchildren and even now, great grandchildren in church on Sunday morning.
There wasn’t much room to play in the yard around the house on Kossuth Street so Daddy started looking for a bigger place for the children. He found it.
Well, the first time we saw it, it did not look like the ideal location because
there were so many weeds around that you could hardly see the house. But for 23 years it was our home at 1800 North 9th Street. It was from that home that the children went away to school, most of them to the seminary. Also, several of them were married from that home. I was a nice place because it was over an acre of ground and all the fields and the river behind us.
I can remember Joseph when he was getting ready to go to Japan, standing at the back window looking out to those hills. He said, “I’ve got to get my film enough to lasts me two years, of this view.”
Many times as I washed dishes or cooked or baked I front of that window, I thought, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comets my strength.”
I have traveled many places, but to me, the view from the bypass hill is the most beautiful vi I have every seen.
The hills have changed, but still, their returning color each Spring, gives you courage that we often need.
All the neighbor children played in that yard, too. We saw them grow up and go away.
One day I drove into the drive and there were 21 children playing in our front yard. Can you imagine that?
Well, of course, it wasn’t long after that we had Philip and then we had ten of our own. As they stood around the bed and looked at Philip when I first brought him home, John said, “Boy, he is a regular football player!”
There was lots of room there as each of the children went away to school or work or to get married. One by one they got a room of their own. Sometimes I thought they could hardly wait! The other one got out of that room, so the next one could have a room of their own. Then finally, Lois was married from there. Then when she and Bill went to live at Valparaiso, where he was teaching and Philip and Joseph each had their own room and we had two empty rooms upstairs. Sometimes, when there was four in a room or two in a room, I wondered if there was every going to be room enough for all of them, but there was always room for them and for their many friends. Nice things to remember out there.
All the children but Samuel and Joseph took piano lessons, even James and John were in a piano concert once; can you believe that?
The joy we had of singing around the piano with Wahneta playing. One night they sang the Christmas carols in five languages as we always invited international students to our home to share in our Christmas and Thanksgiving activities. The boys who had come from Norway and South America and India and many other places joined us and seemed to enjoy it a lot. Our home was always open to missionaries and I felt that the children had a great opportunity to know the many different people they had the opportunity to meet.
They wen to church camp at Lake James and Cedar Lake and then we helped with the founding of Hanging Rock.
Always, there was someone going to camp or picking up and hurrying up and getting the washing done so they could go back the next day.
We were very proud one year when the grandchildren started going and James, Jr. was named camper of the week. Also Stephen was very active in the camp work. All this year there have been several of the children who enjoyed the camp work.
Daddy preached at Palestine and we all went there. We have some of our very good friends in that area now. He preached at Reynolds and we went to Monticello, to the beach, took a picnic lunch and spent the afternoon with the children swimming over there. Many, many happy memories.
We were so proud and happy when Marilouise was able to go to Cincinnati Bible
Seminary. That’s where she met Harold. Later when they were married and lived in
Cincinnati, I went down to welcome Stephen and take care of him.
Then later yet, James and John went. James didn’t stay very long because he had
met Therese before he went down there. So he wasn’t down there long before he
came home to stay. Then in the Spring, he and Therese were married. Wahneta
chose to go to Purdue. She worked very hard all the way while she was going to
Purdue. Then after that, teaching for a while and then down to Indiana
University and working until she got her Masters and her Doctorate there.
Nonah went to the Seminary and so did Samuel for a year and Lois went for a
Philip decided after taking a little trip after he graduated from high school,
that he wanted to go to Pacific Christian and so he was out there for two
semesters. I think he got sand in his shoes when he went out there to the North
American Christian Convention. He came back, and that fall went back for a
semester at Pacific Christian.
Joseph chose to join the Air Force after he got his draft papers, so he did not
go to college, be he learned a lot of things in his travels around.
Esther, after she was married and Max went overseas, went to Floral School in
Chicago and learned to do florist work. She still does that and she is going to
decorate for our Golden wedding.
Daddy worked very very hard to keep us in our homes and as the boys grew up and
some of the girls, they helped him with his work. Besides the church work, he
did outside work so as to have the nice things of life.
The children always had a big circle of friends and it was always nice to see
them come and go and enjoy their friendship.
Once Summer, Nonah got a cottage at the lake and she had a boat and we spent
quite a bit of time up at the cottage. Each evening, those who were at work
would come up and they would water-ski or play in the water or swim. That was
lots of fun!
We managed some trips to the State Fair; some trips to Florida when Max and
Esther were living down there; later down to Miami when Nonah and Bud were
living there and Satellite Beach when Bud was stationed there. We had some really
nice times on our trips around.
One year we went to New Orleans at New Year’s time and that was very nice.
I got to go out East, my FIRST plane flight when Paulette was a baby and visited
them in Springfield, Massachusetts. Then Daddy and Lois came out and brought me
back in the car and that was my first and only sight of Niagara Falls,
completely encased in ice. It was a beautiful sight.
There have been many highlights in my life. One time I went out to Denver when
Wahneta was teaching at Boulder, Colorado, and we drove north up to Mount
Rushmore. I stood still and beheld that great masterpiece. What a thrill it was!
Another great highlight was when we were visiting Esther and Max out at Norfolk
and he took us at sunset out to the ocean when a fleet, the 7th Fleet was in.
Forty-seven Navy vessels were lined up, side by side at sunset and far out on
the bow of each ship was a sailor in his white uniform and as the bugle played
Taps, they struck the flags and they went down as one. It is something that
gives you a thrill that you just can’t imagine.
Another time was with Grandpa. I went out East to Nonah’s on the train and came
back with her and Paulette and Suzanne. We came through Washington D. C. and we
stood at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watched the changing of the guard.
How my heart thrilled and again as we stood on the battlefield at Gettysburg.
Things like these are memories that cannot be passed on to others, but they are
memories that we treasure.
We worked very hard at the establishment of the Lynnwood Church of Christ. For
five years they met in our home. I had vacation Bible School on the front porch.
Twenty-seven children attended one year. Then we helped to build the building at
Sixteenth and Greenbush and went to worship there. It has been like another one
of our children; we treasure our memories there very much. Daddy preached there
for quite a while, then John came and preached for six years. And there have
been several others and we have tried very hard never to miss a service, unless
we were too ill to go at all.
Christmas dinners and Grandpa’s were always a great joy. The brothers-in-law
laughingly say; that when you ask a Martin girl to marry you, you had to promise
to take her home for Christmas. It has been almost like that with the Mullen
family. Christmas Eve has been our special time. Time and again we have lighted
a candle in the window for those who are away and cannot get home in time for
our Christmas tree must always touch the ceiling. What fun we had a few years
ago, when eleven of the teenage grandchildren came out and popped popcorn in the
fireplace, then strung the popcorn and decorated the Christmas tree for us.
We always try to call those who are away on Christmas Eve and let them hear the
noise and excitement that is going on.
Many other highlights come to memory.
Wahneta coming back from different excursions over the world and bringing the
treasures and telling us about the places she has seen and the things she had
Joseph coming home after two years in Japan. We missed the train! We thought
sure he would be on the big 4. Instead of that, he was on the Monon Line. When
we got back to the house, he’d come home in a taxi. We were so ansious to hear
all he had to say, we’d forgot about all the good food we had arranged. Finally
he said, “When do we eat?” and we ate and we ate and we ate, and he talked some
more. Then when we had talked till about eleven o’clock, he wen to the kitchen
and got two big ham sandwiches and a quart of milk. He was nearly starved. He
said, “I wasn’t going to pay ninety cents for those hamburgers on the train!”
Another time when Wahneta came home, we were talking about her experience in
Paris and all and forgot it was time to eat. I had supper ready. She said, “When
do we eat? Do you know I have come from New York on one dime!” Well, they have
always had plenty of food, waiting when they got here.
We met the plane once when Joseph came back from South America. He said, “You
just lost #90,000.” He had himself insured and the plane come in safely.
Mark was with me that time. It was his first experience of going to the airport
and watching the planes come in.
We met the plane one December morning when Philip came home from being at San
Antonio for training in the Army. Sue came early that morning and went over to
meet him, too. He looked so different in his snappy uniform.
We have sent them away to many places; Joseph to Japan, Wahneta to Hawaii and a
trip to the Far East, Bud to Vietnam, and Max for several trips overseas, but
the always came joyfully back to our fireside. We always gathered together the
family to rejoice in their return.
I didn’t spend all my time taking care of the family. I did some things for the
community too. After Philip started to school, I started working in PTA and for
31 years I helped with the Parent Teacher Association of this city, the area and
the State. I had the honor of being on the State Board of Directors for the
Parents Teachers Association and was made a life member. I represented
Lafayette at the National Parent teachers Convention in Miami, Florida. That was
my first trip to Florida. I have made many others; all of them have been very
After PTA for 31 years and the children were all finished from school, I started
working with the American Red Cross as a “Gray Lady” and for seven years I sered
as a Gray Lady at Home Hospital and at the Soldier’s Home. I felt like that was
a very worthwhile service because it meant so much to so many people.
I was asked to be a director at the Lafayette YWCA. I worked with lots of nice
people there and enjoyed the work very much.
There were other organizations; CWPU, Lafayette Home Economics Club and Alpha
Zeta Delta Mother’s Club. They have all made many friendships for me and I have
enjoyed it very much. Also a member (only lady) on the Lafayette School Board.
The grandchildren came along and they were always a joy. It was fun to sit in
the front window and watch them as the came up the walk and wave to me. There
are so many, I just can’t tell about all of them.
And now the bring the great grandchildren for me to hold in my arms.
Philip and Sue brought Christopher almost three years ago on the way home from
the hospital and let me hold him before they took him home. They are all a
pleasure to me.
Now they are beginning to arrive from all over for the Golden Wedding
Celebration on Sunday. How nice it is.
Five years ago I sent away three little girls to California and have not seen
them since. The other day, they came back three beautiful young ladies and their
two brothers, who will soon be eight years old, with them.
Wahneta will be coming on Saturday. Lois and her family will be coming on
Saturday. Nonah is coming tonight and it is just a joy to welcome all of them.
Joseph and his family are planning to come over and Samuel. I think they will
all gather together Sunday in church and then Sunday afternoon for a family
They have been good years. They have been happy years, I hope that we can have
many more of them.
Daddy has always been so very good to me. Wherever he goes he brings me some
choice gifts to remember.
We won’t be repeating our marriage vows. They have lasted for fifty years and
the first ones are good enough for many more.