Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

November 17, 2014

My Grandfather

Filed under: Family — Janice @ 11:59 pm

115 years ago today, my grandfather was born in Comanche County, Texas. I think he was born at his grandmother’s house and somewhere I even have a list of who was present at his birth. He was the first child of Ed and Het Hallford. They were farmers. He was a cute little baby.

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He was an even cuter little boy.

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He grew up in the Newburg community near all of his grandparents and near more than a dozen aunts, uncles, and probably hundreds of cousins. He was a handsome young man.

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He’s second from the left in the front. He met my grandmother while growing up. She’s in this picture, too, third from the right.

Before they were married he almost had to go to war. But his 18th birthday came one week after Armistice Day. He had the uniform, but he never had to serve.

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He was ordained as a preacher through the South Leon Baptist Church and although he never pastored a church, he did preach occasionally and always served in the church. I never witnessed him preaching (except in the kitchen!), but his prayers before a meal were something to behold. Keeping a dictionary handy was helpful.

Papa went to college in Brownwood and he and my grandmother married in 1922.

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He became a schoolteacher and quickly was a principal and superintendent, too. He taught in Grosvenor, Jermyn, and Jacksboro.

In the 50s, he changed careers and began working for the “Welfare Department” as the Department of Health and Human Services was known then. He did a lot to help old widows and poor families get the benefits they needed. He was a proponent of Social Security and was happy when aid became available who had no family and no income.

I’m skipping over a lot of years since it is now past midnight and NOT his birthday anymore.

This is how I choose to remember the Hallfords—dressed up and ready for church. He has a hint of a smile in this picture. That was a rarity in a photo. He smiled and laughed some in real life, but rarely in a photo.

Arla and Willie Halford

Papa and Mamma had 4 daughters and then 4 sons-in-law and 12 grandchildren and then lots of great-grandchildren (22 I think?) and probably close to that many great-great-grandchildren by now. He lived every day of the 20th century and parts of 2 more centuries. He died in March of 2000.  Mamma had died in 1993. This is all of our family at his 100th birthday, 15 years ago.

A.E.H.'s 100th

There are many stories about Papa. He had lots of funny quirks. He wrote a poem a day for YEARS AND YEARS. A few were cute poems about cats or grandchildren or family. Mostly they were about religion and the Bible and “the great I Am” and his dislike of Brother Criswell at the First Baptist Church of Dallas. He gave my sister and me our first job. He paid us a great amount of money each month to index those poems for him. It taught us a lot, though I know my mother had to remind us a million times each month to get it done. Papa was a great correspondent with his children and his grandchildren. He and I wrote letters about space travel and aliens and ancient culture. Obviously his life as an educator didn’t stop when he was no longer a teacher.

So that’s my little salute to Papa Hallford.

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