52 Ancestors: Oldest

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I have already posted about my great-aunt, who lived to be the oldest family member (that I am aware of), so I decided to write about my grandparent who lived to be the oldest: my paternal grandma Veva.

Veva Eby Obituary
Veva Loene Eby, 29 September 1922 – 4 May 2010

I have written multiple outlines for this post, and I had a hard time narrowing down exactly what to write. I ended up pulling out my grandma’s journal, where she handwrote her life story and memories. Reading it I could hear her voice.

Growing up, I used to accompany my grandma to work. She worked at a furniture store in Portland, Oregon. We used to ride the #12 bus, which we would catch outside her apartment building, and ride into town.

I would entertain myself by looking at the furniture and roaming the store while she spent a short time working. All the furniture was unfinished, but they would have a few pieces painted. The owner and employees were friendly and didn’t seem to mind a kid hanging around.

Here is the excerpt from her journal, where she describes her time at her job, dated January 1998:


I answered an ad in the paper for a part-time bookkeeper in a downtown business. (I went to Chemeketa Community College the whole year after Jerry died and took all their accounting classes). I was hired immediately at this unfinished furniture store. I worked 4 days a week, had a parking space for my car behind the building, and it was only 10-5. Harry Dichter, who owned the store then, was wonderful to work for. He and I became very good friends. He was about the same age as my oldest son, David. He was married at the time and had three sons. Harry owned three stores at that time: another furniture store in Portland and a health food store near Oregon City. I kept the books for all of them, including writing all the checks for the bills, doing payroll and taxes.

After a year Harry sold the store in Salem. I continued to work for him, at first driving up to Portland, working a couple of days (staying over at Rick’s house) then coming home for a day, and going back the next day.

Mother died suddenly in May of 1978 (heart attack again) (all three of my loved ones who have died so far have been from heart attacks. Hopefully I’ll be so lucky). Tere was no real reason for me to stay in Salem and Harry needed me to work more in the store. So I sold my mobile home and moved to King City (near Portland) into an apartment that was for adults only. Harry had sold the health food store so there was only the unfinished stove over on 8th and Broadway near the Lloyd Center. This was in 1980. I worked full time then at the store.

In 1982 Harry sold the store to Rick Slagter who had gone to work for Harry the same year I did in 1978. It was on the condition that I stay and help Rick run the store for as long as I was needed and then Rick would continue to pay me a little each month as retirement as long as I lived. (It is now 1998 and I’m still doing a little work for the store at home. Rick is still the owner and paying me my monthly check).


 

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Veva Eby outside Natural Furniture, 1996.

 

For next weeks prompt Youngest, I will write about my paternal grandpa Gerald Eby, who died at 51 and is the only grandparent I did not know personally.

And you can follow along on Instagram as well: @familyhistoryfood.

Until next time,

Meredith

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