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DEWEY SYLVANUS GARDNER --my father

He was born at the beginning of the new year, 1899. This was near the little town of Fallston, called Beams Mill. He always said "I'm a year older than the year." They say Grandma had kind of a rough time when she had him, so one of my grandfather's brothers, Uncle Sylvanus, looked at him and pronounced, "His nose is kind of big, isn't it? What's his name?" Grandpa said they hadn't considered it yet and Uncle Vanus, using an understanding the Gardner brothers seemed to have had with one another, said "I'll name him!" And so he was named, as were many little boys that year, "Dewey", after Admiral Dewey, and Sylvanus after himself.

They lived sometimes with Rufus and Sarah Gardner, and other times in a little house behind the property. At any rate, Dewey became known as "Dudie" because his sister couldn't say Dewey and for awhile he was "Dudie Boy." (I called him "Dibby" for years. I couldn't say Dewey, either) His sister was 1 1/2 years older than he was, so they got along playing together very well except for the times he would run into the house to tattle on her, and she would follow him saying "I hate you and your little pointed butt." They talked about that many times in their older years, making Grandma laugh as she remembered. Once Viv told him, as they were playing house, "Man, kill that bee." So he pinched it between his fingers. Then went yowling into the house that Vivienne told him to do that.

Boy, was he spoiled! His father never whipped him. As an example, one day his father was starting to town in the wagon. Dudie began to cry "I want to go, too." He kept crying. My grandfather got down off the wagon and picked up a tiny twig and started to brush his arm with it, whereby Dudie began to cry louder. "Why are you crying?", his father asked. Dudie wailed "Because I want to go and you are whipping me." "But", said his father, I am whipping you because I want you to get into the wagon and go to town with me and you won't do it."

They had cousins by the dozen, all nearby. He particularly disliked one of the boys, considering him a "sissy." He and his best-friend cousin, Sherwood Beam, delighted in tormenting this cousin by chasing him up into a tree while the elders were attending Sunday night serrices.

His uncle gave him his first ice cream cone in Fallston. He didn't like it. Why not? He cried "It's too hot." Later in life, he vowed someday he'd get rich enough to buy a quart of ice cream every Sunday night. And he did. When he was about 12 one of his uncles bought a new automobile, the first in Fallston. But he didn't know how to drive it. He asked my Dad if he knew how. My Dad, who had never even been in one, said "Sure, I can drive it." "Then drive it home for me" said his uncle. Dad said it was a pretty jerky ride but they made it except the uncle kept hollering "Whoa" when they entered the shed at home, whereby they drove on through the wall to the outside until Dad got it stopped.

Grandpa farmed a bit but he wasn't a farmer at heart. He liked gardening but not harvesting cotton. He had gone to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music so he started teaching in "Singing Schools", apparantly a strictly Baptist practice. My Grandmother, fussy with her cooking, housework, clothing,and personal appearance, kept her children the best dressed in the area. We had a picture of Dad in a Velvet Dress, and he had lovely golden curls. He was about 3 years old. My mother showed it to so many people,that Dad got embarassed and somehow it disappeared. We have a picture of Dudie and "Vividie" (Viviene) wearing velvet clothing. They were beautiful children. My Grandmother was known as the most beautiful woman in the area. She wore make-up when no self-respecting woman wore make-up. She did not work in the fields.She kept a lemon by the sink to keep her hands white and always wore big hats and gloves to keep the sun from her skin. As a teen-ager, I, who spent most of my spare time in the sun trying to get as tan as possible, thought she was weird. She knew more than we did.

When the children were in their early teens the family moved to Kings Mountain. Grandpa became an Insurance Salesman. Later they moved to Gastonia. We have seen the house they lived in at that time. It was a lovely house. When they would take the train for the long journey to visit in Shelby, the women relatives thought they were stuck-up and extravagant because Viv and Grandma wore ribbons and lace on their handmade underwear.

When Dad was in High School he was called into the Principal's Office for some minor infraction. the Principal pulled out a knife (to clean his nails with, my Dad realized later) but my Dad, who was hot-headed in his early years and a pussy cat in later years, said "Oh, you want to fight, do you?" So he pulled out HIS knife, then realizing his mistake, jumped out the window, ran home and told his father, who bundled him into the car to drive to Cleveland Co. to stay with his Aunt Mae until he got him inducted into the army and out of sight.

Dad soon found himself in the US Army Artillery, training at Pine Camp near Watertown, NY. There he was introduced to my 15 year old mother by her cousin. She had been warned to stay away from soldiers but my grandparents took to him immediately and forever after adored him.

He served honorably in the battles of "Chateau Thierry-Soissons-Sst. Mikiel, Champagne and the Argonne. He received a dose of Mustard Gas which bothered him a bit the rest of his life. He was wounded and carried a metal plate in his head which one could feel by rubbing his forehead

While he was in France they wrote and became engaged by mail. I have some of their love-letters. He also learned some choice language, and I don't mean French. He could cuss with the best of them. After he came home, he went first to Gastonia where he worked for his future brother-in-law, taking training in Window-trimming which was a very good trade at the time. He was taught by McLellan, himself, who had a series of stores much like Woolworths. Aunt Viv worked for him also.

Dad got home in the spring, after suffering an attack of mumps on one side going across to France and on the other side coming home. In Nov. he went to Watertown and he and Jennie Clark were married Dec. 6,1920.

However, the Honeymoon had to be postponed as her mother got sick (conveniently so)and Jennie couldn't join him in Gastonia until later. My Grandmother Gardner had to teach her how to cook, how to sew my Dad's silk shirts, by hand, with no mistakes, how to iron and how to relate to keeping the black servants in their place. To my mother, they were just the same as she was and she couldn't ever understand the southern attitude of treating the servants as animals. I guess I never was prejudiced because of that although my Dad was Archie Bunker before Archie Bunker was.

When I began to grow inside my mother, she just suddenly had to move north, so they moved to Geneva, NY. where my Dad managed "Things Shoe Store." I was born there. They later moved to Lockport and then to Watertown in a brand new duplex next to my mother's parents.

That house is another story. Suffice it to say, we moved around a bit whenever Dad got itchy feet and finally settled in Gloversville, NY, where myparents managed a Grand Union Grocery Store and then Dad started his own Grocery which he ran until WW2 came along with all of its ration points and he refused to fool around with that stuff so he took another job.

The whole point here is to describe my Dad. He was so loving, carrying me on his shoulders so I could be taller than he was. Teaching me to dance by keeping my little shoes on top of his as his feet moved. Scolding my mother whenever she lost her temper with me. (She wasn't Irish for nothing) One day he took me to work with him, the summer he had a job with the county. (I was about 6) He hand-painted road signs, (Curve ahead, slow, caution, rough roads) and I rode in the county truck feeling like a big shot while he did his job. Dad was always a fast worker, preferring to get up early and get the job done so he could have the rest of the day off.

When he was done, about noon, we ate the lunch my mother had packed. We bought cokes at a little service station (I wasn't allowed to drink coke. Mother's orders.) We fished. He bought us big strawberry ice-cream cones. (My mother only allowed me to have Vanilla) And then, wonder of wonders, he took me to the city park where we visited the zoo and where he took a nap under a tree while I happily rolled down hills and played by myself. What a great day to always remember!

After we had moved to Gloversville, he became intrested in rabbit hunting so he bought a rabbit hound. The darn thing was part Beagle and part Bassett, making him too short to get through any snow but Dad often took me along and showed me how to shoot a rifle at a tin can. He took he fishing. He took me to Wrestling Matches (back when they were honest) and to Basketball Games but the day he introduced me to Baseball--ah, that was the day!!!I loved Baseball and we never missed a game. I got to be quite the Baseball expert.

Meanwhile, all of this time I was learning without knowing it. I learned to be honest because he was known for his honesty. I learned to help those who really were in need. He never talked about it. I just knew it. I also learned NOT to be like my mother, who had such an explosive temper, and how men didn't like women who whined and tried to keep their husband on a tight leash. I learned not to fight back, but to leave the house until the fight blew itself out. And I learned I'd better damn well do a good job in school because I was a Gardner and Gardners were special people. He never hollered at me, spanked me, or scolded me. I did what was right because he expected me to and I loved him so much I always wanted to please him. I also learned to have a big-mouth and to shoot it off, but maybe that was inherited.

Now for some typical Dude Gardner escapades. One time someone gave him a store window dummy they were throwing out. They used to be made of wax and this poor woman was in pretty bad shape. Dad put a long black dress and kerchief on her, hung a rope around her neck and tied her way back in the dim part of the basement. We lived in a two family house at the time. After he got her strung up, he turned on a dim basement light,and started to holler at the man who lived upstairs. "My God, Art! Come down and look in the basement! " As Art hurried down the stairs, my Dad explained "Some woman came in here and hung herself in our basement." Art took one look and said "Dude, we have to call the police. This is terrible." It lasted about ten minutes until Dad couldn't hold back any longer. Art always vowed to get him for that but he never did.

He found an old mounted fish in the trash barrel of the Sporting Goods store next to our grocery. He took the fish the next time he went fishing. When there were other fishermen around, he put the fish on a hook, dropped it in the water, then yelled "Look what I caught!" It was a fish not found in those waters. It created a good bit of excitement and a picture in the paper until an expert took one look at it and realized what it was. Dad really enjoyed that one.

Dad loved to dance and my parents used to go to a lot of dances on Saturday night. He taught me to Polka and we used to whirl around the dance floor, knocking everyone else off, because Dude Gardner was dancing so they'd better get out of the way. As I got older, he would pick up a carload of my girlfriends to take us to the movies or whatever. The girls used to ask me afterwards "Is that your brother? He isn't old enough to be your father." This delighted him no end and he bragged about it to everyone. He was 6 ft. tall, slim, blond, wavy hair, blue-eyed and young looking--and acting. My mother was quite jealous of him for absolutely no reason. He never looked at another woman--except me.

He also taught me the importance of paying bills on time and not going into debt. This made me go head-on with my first husband who had as much sense as a two year old when it came to money.

Dad used to embarass my Mom when the produce man would pull up across the road to see what my Dad needed in the store in the way of fruits amd vegetables. His name was Ulysses but Dad never got it right (on purpose, I think) and he'd yell across the road, "Hey, Uterus, better bring some bananas with that order also." I don't imagine Uterus was too happy about this either.

No, he wasn't religious. I never saw him read a Bible. Sundays were for hunting, fishing and ballgames. (Somehow I grew up very religious. Skipped a generation, I guess.) He said he got enough religion as a kid at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church near Fallston, NC. His Grandfather had started that church.

He was quick-witted, a big tease, full of fun, everyone loved him, me most of all. He was a bigot, a know-it-all, a nut and a proud Gardner.

When they retired, they moved to Florida. He rode his bicycle every day, visiting all of the neighbors and little stores. Then he sustained a blod clot in his leg, and had it amputated above the knee. For all his faults, he accepted the loss of his leg with grace and good humor, referring to what was left as "Jaws". There was nobody else like him and I was lucky enough to get him as my Dad. It's too bad you never got to know him.


SHUFORD WEBB MASTEN , named for his maternal grandmother's surname and his mother's grandfather's middle name, was born to Clement Thornton Masten, of Wurtzboro, NY. and Vivienne Venona Gardner, of Beam's Mill, NC., on 14 July 1928. His father's family were early Dutch settlers from the 1600's in New York when it was a Dutch Colony. You addressed him as Shuford at the risk of losing your life. He was always called Webb.

He was born in Dumont New Jersey, but moved at an early age to Stamford, Connecticut. He had an older sister, Patricia, (born 21 Jul 1925, Hickory NC and died 3 Dec 1971 in Phoenix AR). They studiously ignored each other unless it was a rainy day and they had to stay inside. Their neighborhood consisted of many children of differing backgrounds, and they played all of the usual kid's games--baseball, hide-and -seek, tag, etc. Webb also had an older half brother, Kenneth, from his father's previous marriage.

Webb's father died when was 9, leaving his mother to raise the two children as best she could. She went to work in a department store, and his maternal grandmother stayed with the children until her death in 1940. While she was living with them she taught Webb how to shop and get the most for his money. He can still tell you how much a loaf of bread or a quart of milk cost in 1940. It was probably during those early years that he learned the value of money and became very adept at handling his finances.

At a very early age he showed a definite interest in numbers and later in mathematics, being years ahead of his age group. Finally, he got books at the library and taught himself as his interests went way beyond the lessons being taught at school. He also had a life-long interest in astronomy, science, history and geography, having the ability to draw a map of any country in the world and correctly name and place the capital.

He was self-taught in music and playing the guitar. This was probably a talent inherited from his grandfather, C.P. Gardner. (A talent his cousin/wife did not share.)

He got his first job at 13 delivering the Stamford Shopper and was soon made supervisor. He worked later for Fonda Gage until the end of World War II. He then worked at a glass company and finally to for the Postal Service until he retired.

On June 16 1951, he married Jean Banks, a lovely young woman his mother introduced him to. In 1956, their daughter, Barbara Lynn, was born, and in 1960, their second child, Susan. He and his wife had a large comfortable home and enjoyed a quiet life until his wife died of cancer in 1987. In 1988 his cousin, Marilynn, sent him a birthday card. Her husband died and soon Webb and Marilynn became husband and wife as well as cousins.

Webb loves to dance, travel, enjoys his little grandson, Michael, and is a VERY generous man, donating to many worthy causes. He is good-natured, loving, kind and extremely self-disciplined. We kind of like the guy.

MASTEN GENEALOGY



FRANCIS MARION GARDNER

" In 1911- A man on horse back came up to our front gate and called out to me. When I came out to talk to him, he told me that Frank Gardner had just died. He then said that Frank had asked that I raise his baby girl, (Ken's input: Ella Oneta Gardner about age 5). I went to see Ben Gardner, Frank's older son, he was sort of the head of the Gardners and his word was his bond. I told him I would take the child if he would promise me that non of Frank's other kids would interfere. Ben promised me that no one would bother me so I agreed to take Ella and raise her as my own"

It's me Ken Frank's young wife had passed away, the day before he did. I've been told that they were victims of Typhoid fever. The other minor children, Frances age 15, Dewitt age 13, Vera age 9 and Nettie age 7 all went to live with their married half brothers and sisters. Aunt Nettie told me that she lived with Maude Gardner and her husband William Bean.

Luella, I called her grandma, was living with her daughter and son in law, when I found her in Hunting Park, CA. I had reported for duty aboard the USS Bennington , home port, Long Beach, CA, and we had rented a house in Huntington Park. As I usually do, I checked the phone directory to see if any one in the family was in the local area. I found they lived only two blocks away from us. We had several long talks from time to time while I lived there and I was able to bring mother our for grandma's 85th birthday. She died at age 89 while I was at the Naval Ammunition Depot in Hawaii.

About Ben Gardner; Ive been told that Ben was a real tough person, (as far as I can determine), he was never married and no on in the Perry County Gardner family dared to cross him. Perhaps that's why grandma Tyler went to him about taking my mother, Ella Gardner, as her own to raise"!

It seems that Ben and another man had a problem over something. To settle it they started fighting one morning and fought until they couldn't go on. After they could stand, they started fighting again. This is supposed to have lasted for hours until Ben was the only one able to stand! We Gardners are determined people!

This is hearsay, but sounds right. My baby sister fought Multiple Sclorosis for years until it won in 1980. We don't give up! (From Ken)

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