James had a farm and was a piano tuner. His death certificate said he was a "piano mechanic." The story is that he taught at singing school and played the violin, too. Bertha's father would only allow them to marry if he gave up the violin, because it was the Devil's instrument.

We still have his violin. #2 daughter played it in college violin class.

Bertha was known for being strict. When her daughters came home after curfew, they found the door locked and had to sleep on the porch. I barely remember her. We called her "Berbo," the other little ones and I.

I may not remember Bertha much, but my house is full of her belongings. Her Blue Willow and Haviland china in her china cabinet, her marble end tables and crystal vases, her furniture and linen bedclothes.

My mother called James "Grampy." He wanted to take his family to all 48 states. That was not a simple thing in those days. The roads were not as smooth as they are now and the cars were not as powerful. When they went uphill, everyone had to get out of the car and walk up as Grampy drove up to meet them.

As far as I know, James and Bertha were happy, ordinary people. Unlike some of the other ancestors, they didn't keep journals or write books or end up in the newspaper.