Uncle John and Aunt Bertha


Uncle John Bailey worked for the state as the foreman of a road maintenance crew. On occasion you would see him if you drove about the country on a weekday. I remember him sitting in his easy chair, reared back beside his fireplace, and looking comfortable with his big red nose, looking over his reading glasses.


Aunt Bertha was a homemaker all her life. After John died she stayed in her big country house alone. On a summer Sunday morning she would come out and stand beside her front gate. Whoever first came by on their way to church would pick her up. I remember we gave her a ride to church sometimes. Uncle Johnís mailbox remained beside the road for many years after Aunt Bertha died.


Whenever the Steppe family got together they would visit Uncle John as a group. That carried on a tradition from when grandma DePriest was raising the Steppe children. There was a croquet layout in the front yard and there was something that not many homes had at that time; lights outdoors. While the adults talked on the porch we children would play croquet.



One summer when I was about three years old I got a splinter in my foot and would not let anyone try to get it out so it festered. We went to see Uncle John and Aunt Bertha. Aunt Bertha sat me up on the back porch table and somehow coaxed me into letting her get that splinter out. The picture of Aunt Bertha is from about that time.



Uncle Johnís house had a large grassy front yard with concrete walk out to the front gate. The yard was surrounded by a white picket fence. There was a deep, full width concrete front porch with columns that supported a flat roof. Both these features are long gone. The right picture shows the house as it is today.