Chester Jackson Family

Myra & Beulah in Ovid

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From Myra's return to Ovid in 1910 she lived first with her parents (Chester and Eliza), and then after Chester's death in 1930 with her mother alone in the large Jackson house in Ovid.

Richard Bates on Myra's life with her parents in Ovid:

Myra lived out most of her life ... with her parents.  She had her own dishes in the kitchen (memorably, fried oysters for Christmas), kept chickens and was, for a number of years, in charge of Ovid's Camp Fire Girls -- Girl Scouts were not invented yet.  She had no social contacts except that Carolyn Shaw, a lesbian physical education teacher from Detroit, picked her up, with Beulah, many summers to spend a week at the Shaw cottage on Burt Lake. 

She substitute taught in the Ovid Schools where I had her on several occasions, once for as long as a month.  I never knew her to attend a party or have company in.  She walked wherever she went -- late years rode a bicycle.  Her great love was poetry which she could recite by the hour and the Victrola for which she had opera recordings by Caruso.  Her only travel was a few trips out west by train with Beulah.  In a few of the late years, she and Beulah rented Harold Bates's cottage in Wilbur and wintered in Florida.  She had her own bedroom upstairs, sharing the one bathroom with her parents.  Her only possessions besides the bicycle were on the dresser.  I suppose she had one good dress. 

She was in charge of the chickens, raised from chicks until they stopped laying whereupon she chopped off their heads, plucked them and we ate chicken dinner.  Mother bought eggs from her, which contributed to her very limited finances.

Although home from time to time, and we may presume often over the summers, Beulah did not move back until her 1945 retirement.  (Richard Bates's comment:  "In truth, she never left home.  Her bedroom in the Ovid house was her home, as Myra's, across the hall was hers.  Beulah rented an apartment in Grand Rapids, but came 'home' as much as she could.  Beulah pretty much stayed out of the kitchen when home for the summer because Myra and her mother disdained her cooking skills.   Grandma was the chief cook and with fresh eggs, milk from the cows and vegetables out of the garden, made superb dishes with flavors you may never have encountered.  However, we had only seafood from the Great Lakes, plus oysters and the beef from cows no longer milkable.  Veal was plentiful.")

We know little of their time in Ovid over this time.  There was the burning of the Jackson barn, for which we have Myra's account and mea culpa.  Letters contain various little vignettes regarding the apple crops, new dogs, dogs' behavior, etc., but little that sheds light on major events and developments. 

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