I know a lot of family history is lost because no one thinks to ask about it or writes it down. I know there are many things I wish I had asked my Grandma. A lot of information died with her and she was 93 when she died. She and my Grandpa Joe Little had been married 57 years when he was killed by a train.


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I was born in Linwood, Indiana, the daughter of Herbert & Tessa (Little) Alexander on November 5, 1920. My Dad was the son of William Edgar Alexander and Lulu M. Funk. My Mother was the daughter of Joseph Daniel ( King) Little and Lydia Melissa (Fesler) Abbott. I had one brother Bill (William), who had two sons, Larry and Steve. We moved to Alexandria when I was two years old and lived next to my grandparents until I was 19 years old.

My dad had three sisters, Hallie, Josie and Marybelle. His mother died after the youngest one was born and his Dad never remarried. My mother had three sisters Nelle, Hazel and Kate and five brothers, Claude, Verne, Frank, Ray and Alva. Hazel died in infancy, Nelle and Ray died young and each left three small children.


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There were a lot of cousins on that side of the family and I remember when we had family gatherings there were so many kids (at least 25 cousins) that we always had such a good time. There were 4 girls, all close to my age and we were very close. There were older ones who we looked up to and younger ones we ignored, but there was always family harmony, at least as I remember it.

One of the funny things that all of the girls laughed about as we got older was our haircuts. We had one aunt, Aunt Kate, who cut our hair. It was called a Dutch Bob with bangs and short otherwise, so we all looked alike.


The ones of us who are left (about 4 with two in-laws ) have been having lunch together about once a month or so and one of them had the appropriate title for us "The Little Women".

There were only 3 cousins on the other side of the family (Alexander) but there was not quite the closeness that there was on the Little side .

The new spouses of the brother and sister who died and their children were welcomed into the family, so there was a very large extended family. I know we didn't all get together very often because there so many of us. There were three cousins who were older than me who would come to spend a few days with Grandma and they were so much fun. They let me play too and we would dress up in some else's clothes and dance and sing and have a wonderful time. (You could do almost anything at Grandma's. )


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Grandma had a pump organ and some one would play it and every one would sing and Grandma would just stand around and smile. She wasn't even 5 feet tall so we didn't know we were short because we were all taller than she was. She always said she was tall enough for her feet to touch the ground and you didn't need to be any taller than that. (I guess she was right, at that). Grandpa was killed by a train just a few blocks from where they lived. They had been married 57 years when that happened. It was a terrible blow because we had lived next door to them for so long and we were all very close. After Grandpa was killed, I spent nights with her for about three months.

Grandma Little always said she was tall enough for her feet to reach the floor.
Grandma had a lot of favorite sayings. When there were leftovers she would say "It's better to belly bust than to let good victuals go to waste". On making some decision either big or little she would say "No one will know the difference a hundred years from now". She was a very wise and special lady. We always ate lunch at Grandma's when I was young. I guess because we lived next door. I remember that she always baked a pie every day. She made vinegar pie that I just loved and she took stale bread and steamed it and I loved that too. I guess there weren't many things she did that I didn't like.


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My mother was very practical. Of course I understand now that she had to be with the Depression going on. My Dad was practical but he was also a dreamer in a lot of ways. He was also a practical joker and loved to play jokes on people. My Mother was also very "conservative." I'm sure I got a lot of my "conservatism" from her. She was a good cook. I remember that we always had a lot of gravy and I still just love it. We always had hamburgers on Saturday evenings and then had hamburger gravy on Sunday mornings. What she could with a pound of hamburger was remarkable. We all laughed and said she could feed 20 people with one pound, and the hamburgers were delicious. Daddy liked to cook too. His specialty was a roast on Sunday. That must been when we became "affluent" and he had a more or less regular job again.


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At that time everyone had a porch swing, My mother and I used to sit in the porch swing for hours and swing and sing. Mother could harmonize to anything. I guess that's why I know all the words to all the old World War One songs.

Two of my aunts were very memorable to me. Marybelle on my Dad's side and Aunt Kate on Mother's side. Marybelle took me places I would never been able to go otherwise. She loved to travel, so when World War Two started, she immediately went to work for the Government. As a consequence, she went to Hawaii and lived there during the fighting. After the cease fire, she went to Japan and lived for three years, came back to the States and then went off to Germany . She went around the world on the way home from Japan before she went to Germany. While there she developed a heart problem, and came back home. She died young, in her early 50's, but she got to fulfill her dreams of traveling.


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She sent me many interesting things from overseas. She sent me a Christmas Music box with little angels that go around and a little hand carved man playing a violin that was carved in the Black Forest in Germany. Also some steins from Germany. When she was in Japan, she sent the boys some of the neatest little wind up cars. I'm sure if we had them now would be worth a lot of money. She would send them wooden puzzle boxes that they had to solve the puzzle of opening them to get their gift (so she was the one who started the tradition that I have continued of giving a puzzle to the boys at Christmas). She sent a little motor boat that was really something else and we used to take it to the Park and run it on the lake there. She sent Marion a very intricate and compartmented tackle and reel box. She always sent the most interesting and special gifts that we would hardly wait to open them.


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I never felt as close to Aunt Hallie as I did to Marybelle but Hallie was a special person, and she died young. When I was reading her obituary (Mother kept a scrap book of all the things that happened to all of the relatives and friends that she knew and it was in that) I learned that she had obtained a very extensive education, which given the circumstances, I think was unusual. She was born in the early 1890's, her Mother died when she was very young and she continued her education. She taught Art and Language in the Anderson school system beginning her teaching career in 1910. She attended Marion Normal, Butler, IU. and Ball State.


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Aunt Kate never traveled but I always felt close to her . She had to be one of the original "Do it yourselfers" although , I guess about all of the people at that time had to be because no one had money to pay anyone else to do anything for them. The story in the family was that she painted her two story house (where Steve Alexander lives now) with a two inch brush and I believe she probably did. She also carried the discarded brick that the town threw away and paved a driveway from the street to her house and also a sidewalk the same distance.


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She never had any children but I guess she must have felt that Bill and I were hers and our children were her grandchildren because after her death when we were closing up her house, We found one of Phil's baby shirts tied in a blue ribbon upstairs in her house. We always included her in all of our immediate family gatherings.

A Little Family history note: My Grandma Little's brother, Will Abbott started the first Ford Agency in Elwood and it is still a Ford Agency in the same location. Her family came here in a covered wagon from Pennsylvania and couldn't speak English. They were called Pennsylvania Dutch and I think that is German.


Just recently I read in a Madison county History book that the Fesler Family who were her grandparents came from England to Virginia to Madison County and the Abbotts who were her parents were the Pennsylvania Dutch family and they came from Germany. My Dad╣s grandfather, John Funk had three brothers in the Civil War (another family note, He always said that the first vote he ever cast was against Abe Lincoln. So there was a lot of Democrat blood in my family.). One of them died of homesickness, one drowned in an overloaded boat crossing a river, and one was killed in Sherman's march to the sea.