Freda Gave Us Everett

My Great Aunt Freda married Everett in 1934.  They were a good match, complemented each other, and always seemed happy.

19- Aunt Freda and Uncle Everett a  21- Aunt Freda and Uncle Everett on niece JoAnne V confirmation Day

41a- Everett and Freda Matthews 1963 (2) 42- 1964 Everett and Freda Matthews

Among the things that were kept from their life together, was a beautiful marriage certificate.  It had a pretty envelope made of what seems to be a blend of paper and fabric.

envelope front

Inside the  envelope is a suede-like cover.

marriage c ertificate cover (2)

And inside the cover is the marriage certificate.


Also within the cover is a message meant to help the newly married couple.  (See below for an easier-to-read typed version.)

image (7)

How to Perpetuate The Honeymoon

From Home and Health, by permission of W. H. DePuy, A.M.D.D.

Continue your courtship.  Like causes produce like effects.

Do not assume a right to neglect your companion more after marriage than you did before.

Have no secrets that you keep from your companion.  A third party is always disturbing.

Avoid the appearance of evil.  In matrimonial matters it is often that the mere appearance contains all the evil.  Love, as soon as it rises above calculation and becomes love is exacting.  It gives all, and demands all.

Make the best of the inevitable.  Persist in looking at and presenting the best side.  Smile and smile.  A cheerful disposition can be acquired, and it will carry you thru many a discouraging situation.

Keep a lively interest in the business of the firm.   Two that do not pull together, are weaker than either alone.

Start from where your parents started, rather than where they are now.  Hollow and showy boarding often furnishes too strong temptation, while the quietness of a humble home would cement the hearts beyond risk.

Avoid debt.  Spend your own money, then it will not be necessary to blame anyone for spending other peoples.

Do not both get angry at the same time.  It takes two to make a quarrel.

Do not allow yourself ever to come to an open rupture.  Things unsaid need less repentance.

Study to understand your companion’s disposition, in order to please and avoid friction.  Try to conform your tastes and habits to the tastes and habits of your companion.  If two walk together, they must agree.

Gauge your expenses by your revenues.  Love must eat.  The sheriff often levies on Cupid long before he takes away the old furniture.

I think you’ll agree that the list contains some solid advice, but also some peculiarly worded phrases.

Uncle Everett was always present, but often lived in the shadow of Freda’s lively personality.   When Freda became ill, Everett called my mom who rushed to their house.  After calling the emergency number and efforts to save her, Freda died in my Mom’s arms in 1964.

Uncle Everett became an even bigger part of our lives after Freda died.  He was often at our house and his presence could be counted on every holiday.  Many days I came home from school to find him at the kitchen table visiting with my Mom who always had time for him.  I went with Mom to clean his house periodically.  After washing sheets and blankets, Mom was careful to make the bed the same way Freda always had and I vividly remember karate chopping the middle of the pillows horizontally before turning them over to create a rounded image underneath the bedspread.  I shook rugs while Mom washed floors.  Years later, I would clean his home as an excuse to spend time with him.  Properly prompted, he always had interesting stories to tell.

17b- Everett Matthews 2

Uncle Everett jumped trains when he was young.  Apparently, it was common practice back then.

“[Freighthopping or train hopping is the act of surreptitiously riding a railroad freight car. In the United States, this became a common means of transportation following the Civil War as the railroads began pushing westward, especially among migrant workers who became known as “hobos.” It continued to be widely used by those unable to afford other transportation, especially during times of widespread economic dislocation such as the Great Depression. Due to a variety of reasons the practice is less common today though a community of freight train riders still exists.”]

Trains took Everett to many places and he held different jobs as he traveled.  I remember him telling a story about working on a farm where the owner wanted him to marry his daughter.  It became uncomfortable enough for Everett to leave a good-paying job to escape an unwanted union.  I’m glad he and Freda found each other, because that made him part of our family.

He and Freda owned a small house near Freda’s parents.  When money and time permitted, they added space to their home.  They wanted a basement so the house was lifted, a basement was dug. and the house was set on top of it.  What a project that must have been.   Later, they would add a larger bedroom and bathroom.

24- Freda Matthews - they lifed the house up on blocks to add a basement

Everett loved flowers like Freda did and maintained their gardens after she was gone.

53- Everett Matthews and hollyhocks 49- Everett Matthews (Freda Vredenburg Matthews' widower)

He had an uncanny ability to find four-leaf clovers.  He would invite us to sit on the clover-laden lawn with him and it was never too long before he won the game and found a four-leaf one first.  He kept a tin bowl and tin cups near the water spigot on the side of his house where we were drawn on hot days and ladled cold water down our welcoming throats.

IMG_5316 (2)

He made fudge at Christmastime.  Tools were his toys and he had plenty of them.  Puzzles intrigued him and he used his tools to make some of the puzzles he liked the best.  They often sat on our coffee table.

He loved our dog and the feeling was mutual.

44- 1970 Everett and Loke 50- 1976 Everett Matthews with Kelo (2)

Uncle Everett was a heavy smoker for a lot of years.  He died of emphysema, a cruel effect of his addiction to tobacco.  He had to leave his home and have nursing care for the last part of his life.  My Mom visited him there faithfully and read to him to pass the time.  One of the books she read to him was Billy Graham’s Angels which included a description of angels escorting believers to heaven.  Uncle Everett’s last labored words before he died were “It’s true, they’re coming…they’re coming!”

About Climbing Downhill

Wife and mother of grown kids, in my 60's and dealing with MS, making life's moments count and trying to offer something of value to others along the way.
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