Matching family tree profiles for Frances Amelia Eubank Smith
About Frances Amelia Eubank Smith
The above photo of my parents was probably taken about 1942 or about their 10th wedding anniversary. There are other photos of my mom under the Media Tab above, one of her with her sister and brother, taken when she was probably about 4 or 5 years old in early 1916, another of her with her violin, taken when she was probably about 7 or 8 years old in 1918 or 1919, as well as one when she was probably about 16 or 17 years old in 1927 or 1928. She definitely looks like a "flapper" girl in that photo....the Roaring Twenties as those days were called!
Things I remember about my mother...she was only 5'2" tall, and I'm 5'10", so she always asked me to reach things on the top shelf for her, but she was an amazing woman who could do a lot for herself. When she was only 8 years old, her father, Stephen James Eubank, deserted the family, and left her mother, Dortha Evelyn Rollins Eubank, to raise her and her sister Elsie Louise, and her brother James Rollins Eubank, by herself.
Before that, the family had moved around a lot, since Stephen J. Eubank was a building contractor and mining engineer. My grandparents were married in 1909 in Arizona, and by 1911, my mother was born in San Diego. Two years later, the family was living in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada, where my grandfather was working on the Alice Arm mine. That's where my mother's sister, or my aunt (Elsie) Louise, was born in 1913. Two years later, they were living in Seattle, where my mother's brother, or my uncle, James Rollins Eubank, was born.
From letters written by my grandfather, Stephen James Eubank, to his sister and mother from about 1915 to 1919, it seems there were problems in Stephen and Evelyn's marriage, and he deserted the family around 1919. By 1920, my grandmother, Evelyn, was living in Bakersfield, California, with her three children, at her mother's house. Ev was granted a divorce from Stephen in 1923 while living in Bakersfield. She only lived briefly with her mother, Dortha Roxana Madsen Rollins McKinney, and her half-brothers and sisters, and then found her own home with her children.
My mother said that her father came to visit the family only one other time after deserting her mother, and it was when she was about 14 years old when she, her mother, and siblings were living in Los Angeles around 1924 or 1925.
I remember my mother telling me a story about the time when she saved the lives of her brother and sister when they were swimming in the Kern River near Bakersfield. The current was very swift, and it took my aunt and uncle downstream quickly, but somehow, my mother caught up with them and pulled them from the river. It's ironic that many years later her brother Jim was in the Navy during World War II and became a frog man, placing bombs on the hulls of Japanese ships during the war. He went on to become a great swimmer and even competed in Olympic Games, and swam with other famous swimmers of the day, including Johnny Weissmuller (who played Tarzan in the television series), Esther Williams and Buster Crabbe.
After my grandmother, Evelyn, and her three children moved to Los Angeles in 1924, my mother attended public school through her first year of high school, and when she was about 15 years old went to cosmetology school, and got her license to practice that profession. She worked for Warner Brothers Studios in Culver City, doing the hair of famous movie stars and the wives of the stars. I remember she told me that she was never very impressed by these famous people, and she had to work very hard at her job. She told me about her boss, Mr. Deller, who made her work even when she was sick.
She met my father, Halley Dale Smith, in the late 1920's or early 1930's, when they were introduced by mutual friends, and they were married July 3, 1932, in Yuma, Arizona. At the time my father was living at 728 Nowita Place in Venice, California, and my mother was living in Los Angeles, California. My father was working as a truck driver at the time of their marriage. They packed up their model T Ford with groceries and camping gear and drove to Yosemite for their honeymoon. I have beautiful photos they took while they were there, and remember mama telling me that it cost only $5.00 for them to gas up the car and fill it with groceries for their week in Yosemite. Of course, back in those days, you could go to a movie for only a dime.
My parents were married for nineteen years when I finally came along on June 27, 1951, at 7:17 p.m., weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces, at the St. Francis Hospital, in Lynwood, California. They had wanted to have a child for a very long time, but my mother had to have an operation to get pregnant. A few years later, she was told she could have no more children and had to have a hysterectomy. I think my dad really wanted a son, but I believe my mom was happy having only one child, a daughter. That is until I became a teenager and gave her a lot of grief, worry and heart ache!
When I was a young child I remember my parents liked to go to the movies, but in order to avoid leaving me with a baby sitter, we would go to drive-in theaters instead. Mama would always make dinner to take with us to the drive-in and she would pack everything up in a picnic basket, including plates and silverware, and when we arrived and parked the car at the drive-in we would eat dinner. It was never anything fancy, but always scrumptious. She never made anything but home made dinners, simple things like baked beans with hot dogs, spaghetti and meat balls, Salisbury steak, Swiss steak, chili or stew, things like that. We would eat dinner, my parents would watch the movies, I would fight to stay awake long enough to see an entire movie, but that hardly ever happened and I would usually fall asleep in the back seat of the car.
As a youngster, we traveled all over the western states and saw many of the national parks and monuments throughout the thirteen contiguous western states. I'm not sure if my mom enjoyed those travels, but she tolerated it for me to be able to see the world. She loved to sew and made all of my clothing until I was a teenager. She even made her own underwear, made jackets and slacks for my dad too. She was a very talented seamstress, and all of the clothing she made was beautiful. I always envied her ability to knit and crochet, and all the pretty things she made via these crafts, but sadly, I could never perfect these talents. I did learn to sew and made a lot of my clothes too in the 1960's and 70's but after that got too busy with work.
My mom could bake a pie better than anyone I know, and her home made bread was wonderful--I still remember what it smelled like when she took it out of the oven. Nothing better than freshly baked hot bread with butter and jam or a home made sandwich! One of my best friends from school, Chris, says she still blames my mother for making her love mayonnaise. When Chris would come over to my house after school, mom would sometimes make us sandwiches on her freshly baked bread, usually made with her home made beef pot roast, and the bread was slathered with mayonnaise. They were delicious! And both Chris and I remember how good they tasted, and we have to blame mom for making them taste so good with Best Foods Mayonnaise!
Mom loved all flowers, trees and plants, and knew most of their botanical names. She especially loved roses, and in her garden in Wofford Heights, California, she had beautiful rose bushes in tiered rock wall gardens that she and my dad built themselves. Many people would drive by and stop to see all of her roses. They would tell her that her garden should have been featured in Better Homes & Garden magazine since her roses were so beautiful.
My dad passed away in 1976, after 44 years of marriage to my mother. She was lost without him, but managed to learn to drive and take care of herself. When I had to move to Florida for a job in 1977, it was hard on her to be alone, but she survived. And when another job brought me back to Northern California in in the Summer of 1978, mom was very happy to be able to come and visit me in the San Francisco Bay area where I lived until 1981. By then I had met my husband, Dan, and we moved to Los Angeles for another job opportunity.
Mom had a heart attack in 1990 while she was visiting with us in Los Angeles. She needed triple by-pass surgery, and of course she didn't want it, but the doctors told her she had to have the surgery or face possible death from another heart attack. At the age of 79, she had the surgery, and came through it very well. When another job took us to Portland, Oregon, in 1992, mom moved there with us, after we sold her home in Wofford Heights and had her move in with us so we could look after her in 1991.
We were only in Oregon for about a year, but mother loved living there, and enjoyed the opportunity of seeing the beautiful area including the Columbia River Gorge, The Willamette River Valley, all the wineries in the area, and taking a trip to Seattle where she had lived as child, when her father was still with the family.
Then another job opportunity took us to New Jersey, and of course, mom went with us. It was a hard trip for her when we drove cross-country for the move because she was taking diuretics after her heart surgery. Also, she had fallen at our house in Portland and broken her wrist, and had a cast on her arm from her fingers to about half way up the arm. After we arrived in NJ, one day while I was at work, she got tired of having the cast on her arm (since it was summer, and was hot and the skin under the cast itched like crazy), so she had a neighbor cut the cast off for her. In the process, they nicked her skin and I had to take her to the hospital for treatment!
A couple of years later, we had a new house built on an acre and a third of land in South Central New Jersey, and during that time my husband caught pneumonia from a co-worker, and then, of course, mom caught it from him. She was in the hospital for over a month, and nearly died, but by the new year, she had finally recovered and came home from the hospital well. She lived another seven months after that, and those last few months of her life were very pleasant for her and us as well. I just wish we would have had more time with her!
She enjoyed our new house, the view from her room, and the fact that we got to go and do a lot of things that Spring and Summer, including seeing a wonderful exhibit of Impressionist artwork at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which she really enjoyed. Although she was not a big fan of Picasso, and said she thought he was a paint dauber! When she was younger she had loved to paint, and she certainly appreciated the finer things in life. As a child she played the violin, and I have a beautiful picture of her and her violin at the age of about 7 or 8 years old. She tried to instill culture in me too, and gave me piano lessons, ballet, jazz and tap dance lessons, plus art classes too. I always wanted a horse, but since we could not afford one, she gave me horse back riding lessons. She tried to give me everything I needed to be happy!
Mom passed away at about 11:15 p.m. on the evening of July 21, 1995, just about 3 months shy of her 84th birthday, and to this day, I miss her so much every day. She was an amazing woman who survived a lot in her day, including the Great Depression, World War II, the loss of her dear, sweet husband, and the trials and tribulations caused by her teenage daughter. Mama, I wish you were still here, but somehow I know your spirit is with us even today! I love you and miss you so much!
I remember her telling me one day when we were living in our new house in South Central New Jersey that someday after she was gone I would miss her very much....I told her I missed her already! She laughed at that and we hugged, and it brought tears to my eyes, and it still does every time I think about that day and what we said to each other.
With much love, from your daughter, Della Dale Smith-Pistelli......here is a poem I think she would have liked:
When I come to the end of my journey … And I travel my last weary mile … Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned … And remember only the smile. … Forget unkind words I have spoken; … Remember some good I have done. … Forget that I ever had heartache … And remember I've had loads of fun. … Forget that I've stumbled and blundered … And sometimes fell by the way. … Remember I have fought some hard battles … And won, ere the close of the day. … Then forget to grieve for my going, … I would not have you sad for a day. … But in summer just gather some flowers … And remember the place where I lay, … And come in the shade of evening … When the sun paints the sky in the west. … Stand for a few moments beside me … And remember only my best.
I will always remember only your best, mom!