Monday, May 17, 2010
Sun Bonnet Viola Brown Thompson
This post is about a wonderful person who greatly influenced my attitudes towards life and other people.
Viola Brown Thompson was born in 9 Nov 1890 in Oklahoma to Edwin F Brown and Etta Olmstead.
She was a very special lady to me. She was a mentor for my dad when he was first starting out after recovering from loosing his leg and finishing air conditioning school. My mom had just finished her student teaching and was accepted by a school in Oklahoma City as a teacher. It was an exciting time for them, but they were broke.
While he was waiting on the College in our town to reply to his resume/application as a heating and airconditioning assistant, we lived in one of Mrs Thompson's rent houses. It was small, but fit the needs of my parents. My dad helped Mrs Thompson around the "farm" which was about 6 blocks from the center of town. When he finally got the job with the college, she helped him find a house to purchase. It turned out it was only 2 blocks from her house and it had 2 lots associated with it.
My dad still liked "farming" so he leased her barn and about an acre so he could have some animals. This he did until I was 15 and that is how I became acquainted with her.
She was like an adult Sun Bonnet Sue. I best remember her always wearing her sun bonnet outside to protect her skin as she worked in the garden. She had the loveliest flowers and a productive garden. I think that is what I always saw her pulling around in her little red wagon. I believe she would share with those less fortunate than herself. She would give me a giggle. Here she was quite well to do by the day's standards, owner of many acres on the edge of town, owner of several rent houses, and member of the ladies societies of her church, but her choice of dress on an ordinary day was a pioneer type dress, boots like that seemed like army boots, and a sun bonnet while pulling her red wagon down the street to deliver or shop in town.
Now I realize, she lived and prospered through the 'Dust Bowl' days and the 'Great Depression'. She must have felt a need to gather and store, while she felt the need to share and assist at the same time. My father always spoke of her as a great lady.
She was always kind, never hesitated to answer my many questions that I had as a little girl, and had a sunny smile.
I so wish I had a photo of her, but alas, her grandson would not acknowledge my request. Let me describe her to you, beautiful pink complexion, smiling eyes that had a crinkle around them (I do not remember the color). She has silver white hair when I remember her.
I told my hero about her when we married and said I want to grow old just like her. There were many times on the farm he would smile and say you are a lot like your Mrs Thompson.
She died in Apr 1985 many years after I had moved away from my home town. I do not know what her last years were like, but I hope she continued to have a joyful life.