Our brother Forrest certainly had a good idea when he put together this Centennial Memorial to our Father Alanson P Holly. Now some years later I would like to add to what I wrote originally.
My remembering begins with the St Louis days since I was two and a half when we moved there. As a little girl I recall being proud of Faffy and loving him but also being afraid of him. I am sure he did not want to be, but it certainly did affect my relationship with him. I had to work out of this fear and it took many years. I am sure that Forrest asking me to write about him in this group of papers forced me to at last start to deal with my thoughts about him. So I owe Forrest a debt of gratitude for that. My former attitude has been replaced with and increasing awareness of, and appreciation for, Daddy's outstanding qualities and the great good he was responsible for in the lives of his children. His family was extremely important to him and he gave us his all. He was a continual teacher in every way showing us the need to do the best we could in every area of our lives. I was just 21 when he left us and so did not know him as an adult. This I regret.
He told us several things about his childhood. One time when he was a little boy he accidentally spilled some sugar on the floor. I am really not sure how old he was. His father made him get down on his hands and knees and lick it up. He felt very humiliated. The pictures of his parents show them to be sad and severe looking. He was a Protestant boy and said the Irish Catholic boys from the Catholic school would way lay the Protestant boys as they walked to and from school and beat them up.
Mother told me when she knew him as a college man and when they were a young married couple he was the life of the party and he also was often asked to sing having a great baritone voice. Some pictures from those day show him having fun. Mother said they were poor for so long and it was so difficult to earn a living those first years, then when things got better in St Louis he was so busy running the business that this lighter side of him was not often apparent. He was very intense and of an artistic nature and so emotional that he covered it up by not being outwardly affectionate to any of us. Later one could see it however when he was with little children like Holly and Alice, his grandchildren. He was so dear to them. Also, some of his letters reveal this side of him. One he wrote me when I was in high school and he and Mother were on a trip back east. It is address to “The Cabin Fireplace” and is a part of this compilation. It is priceless to me.
One vivid memory of the time in St Louis happened when I was younger than ten,, but I am not sure how old. Mother had left some change on the counter of the pantry and I just took it and hid it upstairs in my things. I have no clear idea of why I did that as I never went shopping myself. That night when we were all having dinner in the dinning room, white table cloth and all because that is what we did when he was home with us, I was as usual seated to his left as he was at the head of the table. He told about Mother missing the money and began with Elizabeth, the oldest, and asked each of us in turn if he or she had taken the money. I remember the dread I felt and after all the others answered “No”, so did I. I cannot believe that I did not show that I was guilty on my face, but the subject was dropped. Soon as I could get to Mother after dinner, alone, I told her what I had done, cried and begged her not to tell him. I of course returned the money and felt it a great comfort that Mother did not tell him and that was the end of it. But it really was not the end because I learned a powerful lesson that stealing and lying just do not work for me. Now that I am a parent I have no doubt that Mother did tell Daddy but both probably felt I needed no further punishment, thus showing what good and understanding parents they were.
Daddy was a born organizer, a leader of men, a manager. Whenever he was talking to me about anything serious or instructing me he would tell me to look him straight in the eye. It seemed to me his look went right through me and it was always difficult for me. The people who worked for him liked him immensely and he was good to them. I always admired how neat and clean he was in his personal and living habits. I liked what good clothes he wore, tailor made, and how clean and neat his fingernails always looked. He did not buy cheap things but instead bought quality in clothes, furniture, and cars as long as he could. He taught us to appreciate quality and to take care of what we had and make it last. He taught us to be honest and fair in our dealings with others, to respect others' property and to be industrious, to think for ourselves and just be a follower of the crowd.
Mother and Daddy had in St Louis, interesting, educated and intelligent friends. When we came to Ramona, Daddy had friends from all walks of life. He was just as interested in and comfortable with a college professor as and Indian from a Reservation, or a business man. He took time to know and appreciate each individual. He did unusual things often. One time he invited a Ramona farmer who lived alone to come to Thanksgiving Dinner with us. He valued the uniqueness of individuals. He sought out boys somehow who needed help and encouragement and did what he could for them often giving them jobs at the Ranch. We had some real strange boys there at times. One in particular I did not appreciate having around as a girl in High School, but now realize how kind Daddy was being in trying to help one who so needed guidance and understanding. Since returning to Ramona at a High School Reunion one time, a former classmate told me that when he was in high school with me, he so greatly needed a job and some money and Daddy had hired him and encouraged him and he never forgot it. This man now is one of the big achievers from our class.
Daddy was so good to my Mother's Mother who was a widow for many years. He took her on trips with them, she visited us a lot, he bought her a fur coat, sent her on a trip to California with my Mother form St Louis and much more.
Daddy loved and respected my Mother. She told me they were the happiest with each other when Helen was a baby, although very poor. The business took so much of his time in St Louis and when we moved to California as Forrest explains in what he wrote, Daddy's money problems began again. He had retired in 1931 with what he though were enough investments to take care of us all, but the depression lasted so long that it ruined his stocks. When he passed on there was $60 in the bank and no life insurance. It was a fearful cloud over his head and I do not remember him as a happy man in California. He was, however, the best when we were on trips, it seemed to lift the burden a little and he was able to relax and be more pleasant. He took us on wonderful trips, the National Parks were his cup of tea and were a natural for him with his love of nature and beauty. He taught us to appreciate so much in life. The Parks are still some of my most favorite places. He did so much for us even though he was worried about money and I do not know how he did it, but what a wonderful thing it was for us kids to see so much of the Southwest.
E greatly admired Teddy Roosevelt and was very similar to him in many ways. He preferred classical music but also loved Irish and Scottish music and Hawaiian music. He took all eight of us to the weekly summer performances of light opera in Forest Park in St Louis. I still remember the words to much of the music and some of the stories of the plays. I just loved that too! He introduced the magical world of classic literature to me; one of the greatest joys in life.
He wanted us to THINK and remember! I failed him in this more than once. One time when I was in high school and was driving him somewhere as he often wanted me to do, I exclaimed about a group of black cattle in a field and wondered aloud what kind they were. He was disgusted with me and said “They are Black Angus and I have told you that before!”. I used to try and keep out of trouble by not talking too much and therefore saying the wrong thing when with him. I observed what anyone else in the family did that got them into trouble and tried not to do it. This did not always work, of course, and yet only once did I really get into deep trouble with him when I was in 8th grade, in Ramona. Now that I know how deeply rewarding and incredibly difficult it is at times to be a parent, I realize what an unusually fine parent he was and have great respect and admiration for him.
He wanted us to be refined and polite, to have dignity and high aims and ideals. He gave us an outstanding example to follow. I recall Forrest telling me when he was grown up that he decided to tell Daddy an off-color joke for the first time. Daddy did not laugh and said “Where did you hear that dirty story?” with marked disapproval.
He did not have an easy life as a child or as an adult. But he excelled as a man, remaining true to his highest sense of right. I wish he could have known all of his grandchildren and great grandchildren; he would have delighted in you all.
Alice Holly Matlack
Eating House and Dining Car System
Fred Harvey, Manager
La Junta, Colorado
8 – 31 – 35
Dear Alice –
Evening, Got here 4 pm from home to Trinidad everything is mountains. Trinidad is 6000 feet up. From there east no mountains. Start descending to plains. La Junta is on a vast plain.
When evening comes the old impelling, compelling, insistent, demanding call to go back home where a fellow belongs. No matter how old I get, how old the children grow or what else may be true, that one call will ever grow stronger, I try my durndest to “hesh it up” but it licks me every time.
Hoping you are the same
Alanson Perry Holly by Alice Holly Matlack
Alanson P Holly was born in 1879. He married Mabel Elizabeth Barbour in 1905. The first of their six children arrived in 1906; the last, in 1921.
It is with love and appreciation for both our parents and for the quality of home life they provided for us that I, Alice Janette, the last “sprig of the Holly Tree” as Daddy might have put it, here give my impressions of the good I remember about him.
First, it was certain that he loved his family. He endeavored to enrich our lives in many ways. He read out loud to us, poetry by James Whitcome Riley, “Pickwick Papers” by Charles Dickens, and others. His obvious delight in them and his expressive reading were contagious. He could sing beautifully and taught us many wonderful songs, which we often sang together when traveling as a family in the car. We had summer season tickets to the performances of The Municipal Opera Company at St Louis, presented in Forest Park. I was allowed to go, too, even though I was under ten years of age. I greatly enjoyed them and still remember many of the stories and songs.
He suggested, when I was a little older, that I read “The Old Curiosity Shop” by Dickens, which began my continuing enjoyment of good literature. Also, he gave me a copy of Shakespeare's “Hamlet” and made it possible for me to attend most of the performances at “The Old Globe Theatre” given during the San Diego World Exposition. The was my delightful and an invaluable introduction to Shakespeare.
We, the children, were included! As a family, we went to fine places to eat, took exceptional trips such as the trip by train to New Orleans for the Christmas Holidays, and the extensive tour of the Southwest in 1930. That was indeed a treat for a nine-year old girl who dreamed of someday owning her own horse. It was a grand adventure, top drawer all the way.
Daddy was an ecologist well before most of the country. In our house, we did not waste water or electricity. Never did we throw anything from the car that would damage or deface the landscape.
We were made aware of beauty in nature, the sky, the stars, the earth and its creatures, both wild and tame. He introduced us to a variety of experiences, for instance, a walk through the woods and along a railroad track where we found a wounded black crow, brought him home to live on the screened-in back porch till he was well enough to take over his own life. Also, on weekends, we sometimes visited two different farm families, living in very rural conditions. At one of those farms, my brother, Forrest, became fond of a baby goat and was permitted to bring her home for a pet.
We attended a Black Baptist Church as visitors, in St Louis and once watched a group of Black people being baptized in the Mississippi River. Later when we lived in the West, we helped build our own cabin at the Ranch, we visited old Missions, saw rodeos, the desert in full Spring-time bloom, climbed a mountain, went to Indian Fiestas, and saw Indian dances. The most important of all to me was that he made it possible for my brother, Forrest, and me to have our own horses in Ramona, one of the greatest joys of my life.
When given a job to do, we knew it must be started promptly, worked at to the best of our ability, and completely and satisfactorily finished. He developed in us, integrity and self-reliance. When one was given the privilege of owning an animal, being it a rabbit, banty chicken, dog, or horse, the complete care and responsibility for that animal was the job of the owner, and we understood it was to be done well, consistently, and without being reminded to do so.
I started piano lessons, probably about nine years old, and well remember him telling me to set up my own practice schedule and that I could continue the lessons just as long as I faithfully practiced.
He was a leader. He gave us an example to follow of integrity, honesty, respect for others' rights and property, obeying the laws of the land, and an awareness and appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy in this great country. He encourages us to thank for ourselves and not just follow the crowd; to do the right thing, not necessarily the easy or popular thing.
I was soon to be 21 years of age when he passed on. As the above indicates, I still benefit from the influence he had on my life.
This cannot be ended without mention of our Mother. She was a lady, intelligent, with high standards and ideals, having a kind, gentle, good disposition. She was a loving Mother to each of her six children and a wife to this most unusual man. That is an accomplishment worthy of praise. I'm thankful to have been in this family.
Ramona, California - 1935
Alanson in Ramona, California - 1937
Dear Cabin Fireplace,-
Have you seen anything lately of a young lady we left in charge of the ranch? If so, what was she doing? Has she been running away from school? Has she forgotten that pony out there in the barn? I believe the pony's name is Gypsie, if my recollection serves me correctly. What have you been doing there all alone for hours at a time? How does it seem to sit there bolt upright with nothing to eat for such long periods? And indeed it is no small eater you are too. Your mouth is as big as a whale's, or even bigger; anyhow I kno you have swallowed many a valuable log without so much as a spell of hiccoughs. I have thought at times calling in a doctor to diagnose your case and then, if possible, to recommend a palliative. Then again I have always relented, for, indeed, you have fully paid for all you have eaten, many times over; for what or who could ever take your place? Oh the happy, happy times we have all had there in the evening as we have talked and laughed and played! When all the children have been at home – then is the best time. Once in a while, the last year or two, I am sad to say, there have been evenings when not one of the children have been sitting by you, with us, and when that happens why I just look into your deep heart of fire and you seem to understand for you make images of the children, one by one, --- there is Elizabeth as she used to be and as she is now with her own little ones – there is Bud bringing home jack-knives he used to find by the dozen – there is Mary coming home from town so full of good cheer and happiness – and Helen hitching up Mickey to the cart – Forrest jumping over a twelve foot pole and Alice ironing her clothes. Old fireplace, you kno all about what's going on and you adapt yourself to our moods, as, indeed, all good fireplace should do. I will confess that there have been times when you were not at all hungry but I have fed you just the same; plenty of evenings when the cabin would have been warm enough without your help but when I would look over at you, all cold, you seemed out of the picture and I am sure that, more then once, I distinctly heard you say, “Hey Boss, have a heart; throw me a stick or two, light me up so that I may have a share in what's going forward.” And what a feast is in store for you when we get home; because there must be an accumulation of papers without end. But I have a sneaking notion that on Sundays since we have been away you have not been entirely forgotten. Now look here old top, mind you take good care of the present ranch boss in my absence for if you let anything happen to her, I warn you,, I will blow you to bits.
With the deepest affection,
February 17 38
Written to Holy and Alice Walpole when our family lived in Sunset Cliffs
Please tell your Pa and Ma that they kno best what to do about coming home this summer and I shall agree with them in any decision. Meanwhile you mall all kno that if you all were to come so that ll our 6 children could be with us once more and our grandbabies too it would fill our cup of joy to overflowing. Your grandmother is not able to take an auto ride any distance east to meet you.
Now – where are those two boys? If you girls catch 'em failing to do the dishes and sweep the floors and run the errands just summon the cops and have them apprehended.
Out here hard times have caused honey raisers to cross their bees with lightening bugs so they will work all night too.
Helen is such a big beautiful girl, bigger than her beautiful sister Mary. Alice will be big too. Forrest has big feet anyhow.
Warm weather, myriads of flowers with their fragrance, the ocean, this fairy home are too lovely to describe. The mountains, orange trees, lemons, dates, avocados, olives, Eng. Walnuts, almonds, eucalyptus, acacias, and others past numbering surfeit one's capacity for enjoying. But after all there is rarest charm in your early crocus peeping courageously thro the last covering of snow, the modest violet in shady retreats, the tulips, apple blossoms, peach and cherry blossoms, wild daisies and buttercups and all the flowers of your latitude that never venture down this way. You kids will be like your mother who has always been awake to beauty everywhere.
Tuesday evening the children got hold of my scrap-books containing little letters my own children had sent me years ago, pictures of them and their playmates, letters that some little sweet-hearts had sent them, and such fun we did have. It was in that big front room looking toward the ocean seven hundred feet down the mountain The fireplace was cheery and warm and Cousin Ned was here. Some one read a little note aloud from some first-grader to Helen declaring his eternal fidelity and you should have seen Helen blush then try to hide her pretty face behind a geometry book.
Two paraquetts (I named Cecil & Sally) are in the sunny patio with the two canaries close by the fountain where the gold fish dart about in great fun. The birds sing much. Once in a while a road-runner or a quail or mocking bird comes by to pay them a visit.
O – O – here come the girls from school – the little car halts near the garage out jump the hungry school girls, run down the patio steps and with one hop and two jumps are in the kitchen with designs on the food in the refrigerator. All talk at once and its fun to see and hear them. The telephone rings no longer for he old folks – we have no business answering its ring – for if we did it would only be to hear -- “Is Mar there”? Or Helen or Forrest or Alice.
“Who is really Boss in your house?” asked the abrupt person. “Well” replied Mr Meek “Of course Henrietta assumes command of the pug-dog and canary, but I can say pretty much what I like to the gold fish.” So it is in our house.
Now seven pm. Alice washing dishes. All will listen soon to Frank Waternobbe and the Hon Arthur Chizzlebury – to me the funniest ever.
Hoping you are the same
Holly family - Websters Grove, St Louis, MO, 1925
Alanson - St Louis
All stores that sold DeLuxe Ice Cream had this green lantern outside, as a Trademark. Some were later displayed at the Ramona Ranch.
My pleasant memories of Alanson, “A P Sr”, “The Boss” and “My Father-in-law.”
My first introduction to “The Boss” is probably the most memorable. It was quite an important event when new families moved into Ramona in the 30's because it wasn't an every day occurrence. So word spread quickly the “Holly” family were now new residents. We were anxious to meet them, especially because we were told besides numerous girls, there were also two eligible boys. However nobody had seen them. I was determined to try. Coming home on a hot day in August from Escondido, my friend Sally and I decided to make an attempt. We pulled into the Ranch House driveway on the pretense our radiator was boiling over and hopefully thought maybe the boys would come to our rescue. Instead a stately friendly gentleman in cowboy pants and hat, wearing laced up boots greeted us warmly and offered to fill our radiator with water. When it wouldn't take an ounce he smiled knowingly and asked if he could be of any further service. We stuttered more excuses and made a hurried exit. I was 15 and little did I realize that three short yeas later I would join the Holly clan.
An important occasion was PP's formal acceptance of me as a future daughter-in-law. AP came to my mother's home to ask permission to take me on a trip Los Angeles for a weekend. I hadn't met Mabel and AP felt it important she get acquainted with the young stranger her son was courting. The two days proved pleasant and successful. As naive and young as I was (16) we hit it off beautifully. I came home glowing with all the extra attention they showed me and felt a close bond because I knew they liked me. Sounds like a childish statement of needing to be liked, but I needed their approval for myself alone. AP told me several years later the trip was to try and discourage my feelings for Lance, but getting to know me, they changed their minds and from that time on encouraged the relationship.
Our first home was humble but its support was lots of love enclosed. It was always a pleasure to have AP and Mabel as our guests for dinner. They made me feel ten feet tall with the sincere compliments about my cooking. No matter how plain the meal, it was a feast because of their appreciation.
There were many times I didn't agree with my father-in-law and told him so. My arguments were always with respect but if I felt I was right, especially when it regarded my husband, I was willing to say so rather outspokenly. As I reminisce on this now I know we had a great deal of respect for each other because of my forwardness.
AP and I had another common bond. Our interest in Abraham Lincoln. We traded our treasures on Lincoln's life. I had been collecting articles from everywhere and AP had books and a scrap book he kept. AP gave me his pride and joy scarp book because he felt I would appreciate its contents the most. I was thrilled and so were my girls as they were growing up. They shared the book at school and even their teachers couldn't help but be impressed. They loaned the book to a friend and it was lost which makes me sad.
As AP the “Boss” and my father-in-law entered my life, he stepped out to enter a different life. I miss him, but on this his “100” anniversary he still lives for all of us to remember.
Mary K Holly Pinkard
Alanson, Mabel, Elizabeth and Lance
Bud, Elizabeth, Alanson, Mary and Helen, Mabel holding Forrest.
Lafayette, Indiana - about 1920
Memories Of My Dad
When we lived in Lafayette, Indiana we lived across the street from Purdue University. Steelys Woods was just a few blocks away. Forrest, Daddy and I would walk through the woods and learn the wild flowers and the birds. Daddy would hide behind a tree and when Forrest missed him, he would return and Daddy would try to scare him in fun. Mother belonged to a bird club. Early Saturday mornings she would take Forrest and me and we had to be quiet so they could identify certain birds by song or seeing them. The Saterwaites were the couple that had this group. The also had a class for young children in collecting bugs and butterflies one summer. I won first and Forrest second. These classes kept us out of Mother's hair.
On busy school mornings Mother would send me across the street to Mrs Aldriches and my folks were talking about building a garage. I piped up and said, “My Daddy can do anything.” I was helping Daddy shuck corn in the back yard and he could pull all the shucks off in one or two pulls. I could only pull one at a time. He said, “That's okay. You are still helping.”
I don't remember much about Indianapolis. One summer I was not feeling good. I think I had ear problems. I stayed in a crib by the windows upstairs. Next door they were building a new home and I watched them during the day. In that room was a fireplace and when Daddy came home at night he would take me out of the crib and rock and sing to me. The hurt left fast.
I also remember a pillow fight in the front room when the folks were gone. Of course the pillow hit the canary cage and released the door. I am sure we caught heck when Daddy got home.
He was a family man. Many summers we would go to Turkey Run, Indiana to spend a few days. They had high school boys to take you on nature walks. Mary and I would go, and we sometimes had to go up steeps hills or across a small stream. The guide would offer his hand to help you. I did not take it, but Mary always did. “Helen, let him take your hand.” No way. Early in the morning before breakfast we sat on the porch in the warm sun and enjoyed the birds until Mother got all the kids ready for breakfast. We ate in the lodge and it was fun times. They always had a jig-saw puzzle on a table for all to work.
Our Father had two deep wrinkles in his forehead which made you think he was a grouch. This was not true. He was a disciplinarian of a kind, but that is how it should be, then and now. He would let us goof a few times, then the next time he would lower the boom, either by letter or words. He loved little people. Too bad he did not live to see his wonderful grandchildren.
In Si Louis we all had to wait at the top of the stairs until all were dressed to go down and see what Santa had brought. The youngest got to go first when signal was given. Our things were in the front room in front of the fireplace. One Christmas Santa left me a two-story dolly house with all the furniture. Happy Days.
We would go to “Live show” as they were called in those days. One time we went to see Chic Sales and I sat on the arm of Daddy's chair. Sales made some joke and I said out loud, “Os Spuch.” We rode the streetcar to and from. I would sleep in his lap on the way home.
He would drive Mary and me to Principia in a seven passenger black convertible Packard. We sat way back in the seat covered with buffalo robes to keep us warm. We were living in a suburb of St Louis named Webster Groves. The house was a four-story home heated by coal in the furnace where our laundry room was. Mrs Scott was the colored woman that came once a week to help Mother with the washing and ironing. This was most thoughtful of him because she had so much to do. Forrest and I called her the Black Cloud, but not to her face.
At the bottom of the hill in Webster Groves Daddy put up a sixty-foot rope swing. I think Forrest, Mary and I could climb to the top. The fields were covered with wild flowers. Daddy built a tree house where Forrest and I could take our lunch on warm summer days. Mary and I could turn six or seven cartwheels down the lawn. He was proud of that. One time we had the neighbors over, Jimmy Hilton was one – and we played hide and seek. I told Jimmy to shut up for some reason. “Helen, come into the house. Young ladies do not say, 'shut up.'” I had to watch from my bedroom.
Every Sunday he would bring ice cream home for the weekend. In strawberry season he would have so many women on either side of a table on the second floor of Furnace Ice Cream Factory stemming these strawberries for the ice cream. He would take one or the other of us on Sunday morning to Chase Hotel on Kings Highway for breakfast. We were served by colored waiters in dark suits and with a white napkin on my lap, and I had Shredded Wheat and bananas, which I had at home. Then we would go to the factory where he worked behind a huge desk. He had pictures of friends on the walls. I could walk anywhere around the factory and we knew many of the people that worked there.
In the bay window in the dining room in Webster, he had a comfortable chair and he would listen to the radio. He enjoyed listening to preachers and laughing at some things they said. We usually had turkey for Thanksgiving and goose for Christmas. He would always put a large dish towel over his pants and stand up and carve. In the front room was the piano where he played and we all sang. “There's a Long, Long Trail a Winding” and many others. Cousin Alice and Elgin joined us many times. The four of them would take trips and leave us with colored Mattie. She was a great person. We grew up to like and respect colored people. Daddy would take us to downtown St Louis under the shadow of the Eads Bridge and we would see the colored people get baptized. From babies to old people. They would go under the water, held by four big men, and they came out dirty brown and yelling, “Hallelujah.” He would give ice cream to the Baptist Church Socials. They would have a lady negro escort Daddy down the aisle and a man escort Mother, then we followed. Some of those preachers shouted so loud I had to cover my ears.
Christmas of about 1926 he drove us to New Orleans. We stayed in a large hotel and went into shops and drove to the cotton acres. Here we saw them picking cotton dragging a five or ten foot bag behind them to put cotton in. They would be singing all day. We stopped at a dirty open air cabin where they were sitting on the porch. Daddy would get acquainted and even picked up one dirty little girl. She had bugs crawling on her. He loved little people.
In Webster in the winter I would put my shoe skates on at home and skate to school. Saturday Daddy would drop me off at a skating rink in St Louis and I stayed all day. I could do cartwheels on the ice and had fun days. We would sit on a sled behind the car and Daddy would take us around the block. Cold. Mother had hot chocolate for us when we got home. We had hot bricks wrapped in newspaper at the foot of the bed between the warm blankets. Daddy always did that. In the summer time if Mary and I got the giggles in bed, he would walk upstairs and put us under the bed until we quieted down.
In the summer from St Louis we would drive to Lake Prairy where some friends lived. Daddy enjoyed all people. The old man there made brooms and Daddy would buy them and take them back to work. They all played hillbilly tunes on violins. One summer he took some of us to Boston and we waded in the Atlantic Ocean, finding shells and things. One summer we took a trip to Mesa Verde and Carlsbad Cavern. He felt that traveling was a good education. I don't remember where we were going, but Mary and I were sitting up in front and the blanket sort of slipped over the gas pedal and we wound up in the field by the road. After we got back on the road, we sort of got a lecture.
We moved to Sunset Cliffs in 1931. He was retired and dabbled in stocks at the Grand Hotel in San Diego.
In 1936 I spent the summer with Elizabeth and Wally in Downers Grove outside of Chicago. Daddy came in August to pick me up. On the way back, we listened to baseball and we stopped in St Louis to see many old friends. Before 1936 my Mother went to Bristol, Indiana to see her mother. While she was gone we drove to find rock and built a rock fireplace in the cabin. He surprised her, and how he loved that fireplace. He would build a fire when we did not need one.
In August 1941 Don and I went to the Ranch to say goodbye to Daddy and Mother because we were driving to see Elizabeth and Wally. On the way home the last night in Phoenix I could not sleep for some unknown reason. I told Don I was disturbed. When we arrived at the ranch in Ramona, Lance met us at the cabin door, and said he had he had left yesterday. Gone from sight, but not mind.
The following letters were probably sent from Indianapolis, Indiana to Bristol, Indiana the home of Grandmother Barbour. It appears Mabel was visiting her Mother with Lance (Bud), Mary, Forrest and Alice, between 1921 – 1923.
Received your letter and I am glad you arrived in good order and that they all seemed glad to see you. The caddies at the course ask about where you are and why you don't show up. We hired no caddy yesterday and did not lode a ball either. I bought a couple of fifty cent balls. We may try a game of tennis this afternoon.
You may be learning that is has taken most of us years to find out that the real way in which to get happiness is to give it to others. Unselfishness is always followed by its sister called “happiness” and there are many ways in which you now have the chance to be unselfish; there is Grandma who lives alone and whose children are all gone away from her and she is a very unselfish woman herself and she would do anything for you and for your folks; there is your Mother who has done more for you than all other folks in the world combined and to whom you more than to all others; there is Mary, your sister, who needs a big brother and his kindness; there is Forrest who looks to his big brother for a great deal and Alice who needs your love and care.
I know you will have a nice time.
The roses are blossoming now and look very pretty indeed; but they cannot look quite so pretty to your Dad with you away.
I think that your playmates miss you. Guess that Nonnie wishes you were home. Nonnie shot off a big firecracker this morning and woke up her big sister.
You are probably very thankful because you have been able to take such a fine trip. You see that you are being rewarded for being such a faithful baby tender.
How you spect your Dad is going to get along without his curly head to run down the street after him when he is coming home?
The little bicycle is asleep on the front veranda and every once in a while when he wakes up he asks me “Where is my little brown faced playmate, I do miss him so. He just runs me over bumps in the sidewalk and makes my back tire come of and leaves me out on the front steps all night too, but I do like him and wish he would come home.”
Ester plays in the sand all alone, now that you have gone.
Every evening the fairies come and peep in at your bed room window and when they see that you are not there they fly around to my window and call to me and say “Where is our little Fairy Alice Janette?” I tell them that you have gone way off to the land of your Mother's Fairy days, there where she lives again her childhood dreams by the side of the beautiful old St Joe. One little Fairy stole in at the window last night and sat right on my old bald head close up to my left ear and he put his little fingers up on the edge of it and whispered and said that really there could be no use in their returning until their little Fairy Alice had come home again. They promised to send a little Fairy-messenger once in a while to find out when you are coming home.
Tell Grandma that when she looks at you she may know that even though there have been pretty hard burdens for her to carry at times through life, she is well paid for is she not your Ma's Ma?
Alanson P Holly
May 4, 1979
At 333 S Grant Street, Lafayette, Indiana, Helen and I slept in one room and Daddy would come up to put us to bed. He would stand in front of the light and make shadows of a rabbit going across the ceiling. One hot night Helen and I got the giggles and Daddy in the next room couldn't sleep. So he said “You girls be quiet!” Well, we couldn't stop. Next thing Daddy said, “Get under the bed you two girls!” So we took our pillows and got under the bed. Daddy told me years later that he had nightmares in those days wondering how he could pay the rent and keep his family on $13.00 a week.
He had a telescope given to him and we had great fun looking at the stars and learning about them. One time when Grandma Barbour was there, and she was cutting up, Daddy said in his severest voice, “Grandma, you go stand in the corner.” It delighted us kids that she could be punished too, and she obediently stood in the corner.
We would take walks with Daddy thru Purdue University grounds, thru agriculture part where the cattle were. Daddy always used a walking stick – the gold headed one – or the one that had a boar's tusk carved for a handle. I have that cane. (Mary Kay has the gold headed one.) Daddy would scratch the backs of the hogs in the pens. Dr Spendler, Daddy's boyhood friend from Woodland, Michigan, taught German at Purdue. They were great friends.
When Forrest was to be born, the Aldrich's lived near us – so Mother was to deliver at home. So Mr and Mrs Aldrich took Helen and me for the day. That day Mr Aldrich and neighbors were to turn a small building around so Mr Aldrich could use it for a garage for his new Ford. The men were huffing and laboring and stopped to see what to do. And Helen, 4 years old, said, “Oh my Daddy could do that easy as pie.”
Another time on Chauncey Avenue in Lafayette, Daddy took us to the “Live Show” (we called it vaudeville) and Helen sat on Daddy's lap. He always sat in the back row, he said, so he could watch the people. Well out on the stage came a large woman, gaudily dresses, and wearing a long feather boa. All was quiet for her to sing, and at that moment Helen called out, “Oh spusch!” -- one of Daddy's pet words.
I remember coming home from a sow floating on air because I loved the theater, and Daddy would take my hand on one side and Helen on the other and he would run with us and literally our feet would momentarily leave the ground. Such a feeling.
Then to Indianapolis for three years. He was Secretary and Treasurer of the Indiana Manufacturers of Dairy Products. That always stumped me in school when they would ask what Daddy's business was. Never room write it all.
In that house on Bancroft Street, there was a small closed-in back porch. A shade on the window on the door. One day I pulled it down and out fell a $10.00 bill. Daddy used it to buy a ton of coal.
One fall Daddy's cousin Emma came to visit. Very large woman, and she stayed and stayed. I marvel at my blessed1 (sic) mother – six children – one a baby – and this cousin just sitting around being waited on. It looked like she would stay the winter. Close to Thanksgiving, Daddy had just bought a new Ford Touring car. So he bought a ticket for cousin Emma to go home and told her he would take her to the train the next day, because we were all going to Grandma's for Thanksgiving. I said to Mother, “Don't we have to ask Grandma if you can come?” She said, “No, that is always one thing a daughter can do is go home to Mother.” So the car had the gas tank under the front seat. There were luggage racks on each running board – filled with luggage. On the floor of the back seat, all piled with luggage so that Helen, Mary, Elizabeth and Bud sat back there with legs stretched over the luggage. Dad drove, Forrest in the middle and Mother holding Alice. Off we went (but before leaving Dad admonished us all to be sure to go to the bathroom.) Well, not too long, some one had to stop. So he had to pick a station that had “facilities”. So he lifted Alice out, then Mother, then Forrest, then Mary and Helen - then the gas man put in gas. Daddy stood by with his thumbs in his pants pockets. Always a handsome man – and the gas man looked over the deal and finally said to Daddy, “Where are you going, Mister?” Dad said “We are going to see my mother-in-law.” The man said, “Mister, you are shore going o get even with her this time.”
St Louis, Webster Groves – 1923-1931 -- Our big old three story house that he rented for $80.00 a month. We arrived before the furniture did. So there were two elder maiden sisters who lived on Rockhill Road just off of 433 Foote Avenue. And they heard of our plight, and the took us all in over night. Big house. They were Southerners – and sang a song “We'll Hang Abe Lincoln on the Sour Apple Tree.” All I remember of that night.
Dad put up a wonderful swing for us on the lower part of the two acres. One picture I have of Dad on the steps of the front porch in his heavy overcoat – and his cheeks are all puffed out, and underneath it he wrote “The Old Buzzard.” We took many wonderful trips in those days. I can remember Dad coming home Friday night saying “Get all the things ready, we're going on a trip in the morning.” Then the next morning while Mother was trying tog et all together, he would sit in the car and honk the horn. Never could understand why it took so much stuff and so much time to get it all together.
He loved the Lilies of the Valley which blossomed in the Spring at that house.
I remember the fun things he would have for the 4th of July. Always did nice things for neighbors. We always had five gallons of ice cream every Sunday. Neighbors always got some. Couldn't keep it – no freezers. He was one of the first ice cream men to use dry ice. But even that would disappear after awhile. A lot better than ice and salt.
He would take us down to see Negroes baptized in muddy Mississippi, and took us to their church services. Visited the Baptist – and he knew the minister and he gave the BYPU (Baptist Young Peoples Union) five gallons of ice cream.
How he loved the lilacs at that house.
Before Elizabeth was married in May 1928, Daddy took us on our last trip as a family to New Orleans. We went on the train – had staterooms and stayed at the wonderful hotel in New Orleans. We stayed a week and what a ball we had. Fresh shrimp, fresh orange juice, went to famous restaurants. Went to a play – and all I remember was a lady sitting in a golden cage on the stage – but evidently it was not a good play for kids, so he took us out before it was over.
One day walking along the wharf, he saw a yacht for sale, so he went aboard and looked at it. He asked the owner how much it cost to run it. The man said, “Mister, if you have to ask that, you can't afford to buy it.”
He hired a limo and we drove along the levee and saw how the blacks lived – shacks with animals under the house. Went up to one house where Mammy was holding a shiny clean pickaninny, and I asked if I could hold her which I did, and Lance was indignant that I did that.
Everyone of the kids could get away from school for those two weeks. But I was a Senior in high school and I asked the principal and he said if Dr Schultz, my chemistry teacher, would let me go it would be all right. So I asked Doc and said, “You go right ahead. Don't even take your books with you. Two weeks of travel is worth two years in school.” I came back to take the exam in Chemistry and I made 30 - but he passed me because I tried.
The day the cyclone hit St Louis was a terrible day. We didn't know until late at night where Daddy was. He said he was on his way to his ice cream factory, saw this twisting cloud coming toward him. He turned right on to LaClede Avenue, passed Stephen Schunkle Shoe Co and two telephone poles fell just as he passed. Then just as he passed the brick chimney of his factory it collapsed and missed him. He was in his yellow Buick roadster. Then he turned right up the driveway alongside the factory, and go part way up but it was impossible to move against the wind. A brick went through the windshield and he said he first though, “Who will take care of the family?” But soon it let up and he got into the factory. His face was black from all the dirt and his glasses were gone. So we did a lot of praying that day. So wonderful to have him come home, finally.
Such fun we had nearly every Sunday. We would go out to dinner to places where they used his ice cream. My favorite was Bevo Mills. Learned to like frog legs there. Always a hustle when the eight of us came up. Had to push tables together to seat us all.
In 1929, as soon as school was out, Daddy took Helen, Mary, Forrest, Alice and Mother on a trip in the black Packard touring car – 8 passenger. He did it because Elizabeth was expecting her first baby and he wanted Mother to be away. Marvelous trip to El Paso, Texas, Saw her cousin Rob Rinehart and Aunt Zaida, cousin Ned's brother. They had had a store together as young men in Brisbee, Ariz. They had a fight over the price of a hat, and never spoke to each other the rest of their lives.
We went thru New Mexico and Arizona. Then home to St Louis after we had heard that Holly Walpole was born June 10th.
Then we went back to Woodland, Michigan. We met Dad's relatives, saw where they had lived, etc, and then to Lockport, New York, where we spent Labor Day, then home. 10,000 miles. Forrest would regale us with made up stories along the trip. All went down into the Grand Canyon, that is Mary, Helen and Forrest.
Daddy certainly encouraged us to learn and appreciate everything. He loved to travel, said he had always wanted to be an explorer.
His family always came first. He loved his children, even though he was very strict and severe. But he mellowed as years went on.
He had a beautiful, well-trained baritone. He could have been tops. A voice teacher in the east heard him and gave him free voice lessons and said he could have had a future, but he met mother.
Mary Holly Higgins
Daddy loved his family – wonderful times we had in Lafayette on Grant St, - Take a picnic and and go to Steeley's Woods. We looked for an named the lovely wild-flowers. He was always finding ways to go on short trips – Turkey Run State Park, a favorite spot. He loved to travel; always wanted to be an explorer. So, as children, he red to us about Roosevelt – in darkest Africa, Bird at the Pole, Scott at the North Pole, Amundson (we heard him lecture) Northwest Passage in that small boat, Beebe underseas, etc. Read to us James Whitcomb Riley, always Dickens “Christmas Carol” and Dingley Dell Party.
He took us to the Vaudeville. We called it the Line Show. One time, when Helen was about four years old, we saw Sophie Tucker. She came out in a spangled dress and a feather bow around her neck. All was quiet and Helen said in a loud voice, “Oh Spush!” - One of Daddy's favorite sayings.
He taught us to be inventive – don't buy something – make it. He taught us never to be snobbish or think we had something more than the other fellow. He was never a racist. Taught us always to appreciate the black. We went to their churches; always heard Frisk University colored choir, etc.
He was an impeccable dresser; an executive in every sense of the word; took interest in all his employees, and they loved him.
But to me, the greatest gift he brought us was Christian Science.
So as Mrs Eddy says in Ret and Int page 21 - “It is well to know – that our material, mortal history is but a record of dreams, not of men's real existence, and the dream has no place in the science of being. The heavenly intent of earth's shadows is to chasten the affections, to rebuke human consciousness and turn it gladly from a material, false sense of life and happiness, to spiritual joy and true estimate of being... The human history needs to be revised, and the material record experienced. ---- The real man is not of the dust, nor is he created through the flesh; for his father and mother are the One Spirit, and his brethren are all the children of one parent, the eternal good.”
When you asked me to write about Daddy, this is what I found – and it truly is the answer. For I cherish the God-like qualities Daddy expresses now, and those qualities he lived make up my concept of him.
Alanson Perry Holly was born in Woodland, Michigan, of William and Eva Cooper Holly. He was one of five children. William holly was a merchant in partnership with a Mr Holmes in Woodland. Evidently the store did not prosper there, so the Holmes and the Hollys moved to Tulahoma, Tennessee, where again they engaged in an unsuccessful retail store.
As a child, I saw the old homestead in Woodland. It was a two-story, small, frame house. I visited Tulahoma, again when a boy, but I do not recall the Holly home there. My father often spoke of his boyhood in Tennessee, and especially of finding mini balls (bullets) used by Civil War soldiers in the battles of that neighborhood.
The Holly family moved to Lockport, New York, when my father was perhaps in his early teens. I saw the homestead there, a frame house of modest size and style. The old school house where my father attended school was still standing and being used when I saw it about 1930.
My father's parents were pious Christian fold, whose lives revolved around family, church, and work. My grand-father, William Holly, worked for the Holly Manufacturing Company of Lockport or Tonawanda, New York as an erecting engineer of Holly-built steam-engine pumping plants for city water supplies.
Birdsell Holly, an Uncle of William Holly, was an inventor, having devised a means of delivering water to city dwellers by putting the water in underground pipes under pressure. Birdsell also invented the idea of heating by steam and his company built district steam-heating systems in many cities, including Bristol, Connecticut, where my wife, Jean Treadway Holly, was born and reared. More then 2,000 cities of the United States, Canada and even in Europe, had Holly city water systems installed in the last part of the 19th Century and the early part of the 20th Century.
My father was reared in a Puritanic environment, in an age when hellfire and damnation was an accepted creed. He took that false creed in and lived a childhood and early manhood fearful of burning in hell if he ever sinned. He said it was a terrible creed and he was freed of it only when he found Christian Science when he was about 35 years old. That enlightened religion liberated him from such old false theology and he said that after that liberation, only the sky was the limit.
My father attended Mt Herman, a sort of junior college of those days, in Massachusetts. The great evangelist, Dwight L Moody, had founded this school for boys along with a school for girls nearby and called Northfield. My mother, Mabel Barbour Holly, was related by marriage to D L Moody on her father's side. Mabel and her younger brother, Will, were sent to these two schools simultaneously from their home town, Bristol, Indiana.
My father became acquainted with Will Barbour, hence his acquaintance with Mabel Barbour, whom he married in 1905.
The young bride and groom started housekeeping in White Plains, New York where my father was a YMCA secretary. My mother returned to Bristol, Indiana to give birth to her first child, Elizabeth. My maternal grandfather, Julius Barbour, was a medical doctor. He attended the birth of my oldest sister, the late Elizabeth Holly Walpole. My mother had a tough time in delivery, the latter result was that my father quit his job in White Plains and returned to Indiana, where he and his little family moved into a house in Lafayette. There the family lived until all six children arrived; the last, Alice, being born in 1921.
Circumstances in Lafayette were difficult. My father had a hard time making a living for so large a family. He once told me that he walked miles to save a nickel street car fare. The house had no inside bathroom. My mother had been a favorite and only daughter of a doting father, so she was not really prepared for such struggles. But she stuck with it and endured the privations until better times came along later on.
My father once visited his cousin, Stella Holly Stocking, in Detroit. He noticed something in their home which he loved. When asked what it was, Stella said it was Christian Science. She introduced that way of life to my father, who took to it like a duck to water. On the train back to Lafayette, he read Christian Science literature. So impressed was he with it, that upon his arrival at home, he announced to my mother that we were all going to be Christian Scientists. She said we were going to do no such thing. She had had answers to prayer since she was five years old, and she dearly loved her medical doctor father and felt Christian Science would repudiate him.
But once my father was away, my next oldest sister, Helen, was taken with a dreaded disease, one that disfigured her, a beautiful child. In desperation, my mother called for help to a Christian Science practitioner. Clair D Robinson healed the child in one visit, to my mother;s amazement and joy. From then on she accepted Christian Science.
Concurrent with my father's discovery Christian Science, two other families of the Hollys found the same religion. My grandparents, William and Eva Holly, had moved to a remote area in Texas, forty miles from a town. My grandfather was kicked by a mule in the groin. No medical help was available. A neighbor, a Christian Scientist, was called in and grandfather was healed. At the same time in the South, my father's youngest and beloved sister, Marjorie Holly Shearston, and her husband Sears, also found Christian Science. All three families did not reveal this to one another for some years, since they all believed that they would be criticized for leaving the Methodist Church.
My recollections of my family in Lafayette are virtually nil. I do recall my running away from home on a tricycle, and I do vaguely recall the birth of my youngest sister, Alice, but that is all.
We moved to Indianapolis in 1921, where my father took a job as secretary for an association of dairy product manufacturers. He had a job at twenty-five dollars a week with a Lafayette ice cream manufacturing concern and had begun thereby to better meet his family obligations.
In Indianapolis, we lived in a two-story house on Bancroft Avenue. I recall being wakened in the middle of the night to gaze out our upstairs bathroom windows at a house burning down a half block away. I especially remember getting pieces of ice off the back of an ice truck that delivered block ice to us an other families.
In 1923, we moved to Webster Grove, Missouri, a suburb of St Louis, into a rented house at 433 Foote Avenue. My father had been selected by Will and Fred Jones of Indiana to manage an ice cream manufacturing plant in St Louis called City Dairies, a branch of the Furnas Ice Cream Company. The company was an old run down plant, even using draft horses and wagons to deliver the ice cream to retail customers. A stable was nearby which kept a good many huge horses and wagons for the delivery purposes. My father not only turned the old company around financially, but showed a $60,000 profit in the very first year. Later he built a new factory at 4218 Laclede Avenue, a brick, two-story building, which was the main plant. My father resigned as president in 1930, after the company had been bought by the Borden Company in 1929.
I recall a great deal about the family, and my father in particular, during the eight years we lived in St Louis. My father was an early riser and usually left for his office by 6:00 am. Saturdays and vacation times I often accompanied him to the factory where he would first read his mail, then we would go out to breakfast at the Plantation Room in the Chase Hotel.
How clearly I yet see the black women dressed as mammies waiting on table and counter. I liked to go into the factory carpenter shop and build boats to float in the bathtub. The employees of the company were always especially nice to me, the son of the boss, of course. I liked to go into the refrigerated store room where all the ice cream was frozen, albeit you could not stay there but a few minutes since it was like zero temperature. I remember how my father would go to the cashier, Joe Machacek, and cash a check for several hundred dollars and put big denomination bills in his leather case. My father was beloved of his employees, whom he always dealt with fairly. A fine executive, he was a discerner of character and would hire or not hire someone based on their evidence of character or lack of it. He never touched alcoholic beverages and smoked only an occasional cigar. He was serious, decisive, compassionate, stern, witty, scholarly.
He read a great deal, usually the classics, and prided himself in being able to recognize pictures of the writers of his and previous eras1(sic). He enjoyed good food, but was not a big eater. He liked to go to the theater, and often took us children along. We had season tickets for the Municipal Opera, which performed light opera. An athlete when a youth, he was never the less as an adult not athletically inclined so far as sports participation was concerned. He liked baseball and often took me to see the St Louis Cardinals play ball. He loved the Mississippi River, its history, its nature and character, and felt a romance in it.
He was a romantic albeit somewhat restrained in fulfillment of that by a large family and resultant responsibilities. He was never affectionate to my mother in public or in the presence of us children. I think he as a passionate man, but his code was Victorian. He was utterly moral, honest, kept his word always, and faced up to his responsibilities with assurance and vitality. He demanded strict obedience and set an example of good conduct and high moral attainment, and insisted on us children doing and being likewise.
He took me on long fishing trips twice. Once in the fall we went to northern Minnesota to fish several days in gray cloudy weather on a series of lakes. He loved to fish. Again we drove down to New Orleans and then on to Corpus Christi, Texas, fishing there and in Galveston Bay. My father had a 120 inch wheel base Packard, seven passenger touring car with jump seats in the middle. The place was the beach at Galveston at low tide. He walked along the shore as I drove ahead and then waited for him. What a thrill!
My father was generous. He bought my mother about a 1928 Chevrolet Cabriolet which she drove, but timidly. He gave her a two-carat diamond ring, fur coat, etc. Our house, while rented, was comfortable but not pretentious. He had me do daily chores as did the others in the family, even though we had colored help, maid and wash women. I had to empty the coal furnace ashes each day, a real chore. I also had to rise before the family did on cold winter mornings and get the coal furnace started, a furnace which had to be banked at night and which was often stone cold and dead by morning. Work to my father was a way of life, a blessing, and he taught us children to work, to like to work, and to do the job thoroughly even when the result did not show visibly. You still had to do a good job, or you had consequences from him. The consequences were a stern lecture, or a stiff forefinger sternly tapping your shoulder for emphasis. I do not remember his ever spanking me, but I do recall his once spanking my younger sister, Alice, when she was quite small.
My father loved to travel, loved to take his family along. No one ever loved his family more then did he. He adored us all, but never let that affection override his discipline of us. We took a wonderful trip by auto to New England, another to Arizona as far as the Grand Canyon. He took us on shorter trips like Christmas to New Orleans, to Indiana, and visits to my maternal grandmother, Emma Reinhart Barbour, in Bristol, Indiana. He took separate trips with my mother, and separate trips with individual children.
In 1931 we moved to California. My father had resigned from his job as president of the Borden Company, and feeling he had plenty of money, moved the family West. He had received a large block of Borden stock when they had bought out his company, so he had quite a portfolio. However, he did not know that the worst depression in history was upon the country, nor did he realize that his stock values would shrink nearly to nothing in the years ahead, and he without a job, dependent on dividends from stocks tumbling down. By this time, two of the children were out of the nest, my oldest sister, Elizabeth, who had married Walter Walpole and moved to Chicago, and my brother, Bud, as he was known then, later as Lance, who had married and then divorced a girl in St Louis. We first lived in La Jolla and then moved to 1025 Devonshire Drive, Sunset Cliffs, which is on the ocean side of Pt Loma, San Diego. We were just a block from the ocean, in a lovely Spanish-style house, U-shaped, with a patio with fountain and plantings inside the U. I was in the eighth grade, Alice in the fifth, Helen a junior at Pt Loma High School, and Mary in San Diego State College. My mother loved the house. It was the first really beautiful and comfortable house she had lived in in her married life. We children had to work and regularly to keep up the place, inside and out, the girls doing house work and I doing garden work.
My father's car, a 1929 Packard limousine, maroon, seven passenger, with onyx trim inside, and even animal fur for the floor covering in the back, which had jump seats. It was a $6500 car new, but it being used and having 6,000 miles on it, he got it quite inexpensively and traded in his touring car. What a boat that car was! Perfectly elegant. He also acquired for $600 a 1931 Chevy Roadster, with soft top and a rumble seat.
My memory of the two years we lived in Sunset Cliffs is one of the beginning of melancholy in my father. He was without a job, in his fifties, in a depression worldwide where millions were out of work and the while watching his fortune shrink as the stock market slid. He still had four children at home to educate and clothe and feed. Jobs were just not available for executives like him. There was a melancholy in the air for obvious reasons, and my father was succumbed to that miasma. My mother was not well and that worried him also. While an avowed Christian Scientist all these years, he really never understood it as a science. He had read a great deal but still was like a swimmer who wants to swim but could not let go of the side of the pool. He insisted on us children attending Sunday School, but if we did not, we had to work. So it was work or Sunday School and occasionally, I chose to work; work meaning garden work or washing or polishing a car or the like. He still felt that some organic troubles could not be healed in Christian Science. He still leaned some towards material help, natural foods and such.
When my brother, Bud, or Lance as we shall call him from now on, came back home to San Diego after an unsuccessful marriage, my father sent him out to find some kind of a job or work. He found a ranch in Ramona, twenty acres, north of town on the road to Escondido. My father bought it for $2500 and immediately set up my brother in the turkey business, which was thriving in Ramona at that time. We children all moved to the ranch, and with the help of a neighbor (part Indian), Andy Duran, we built our own cabin situated among pepper trees. My father named the ranch Rancho de los Pimientos, ranch of the peppers. My mother continued to stay mostly on the house in San Diego, which she loved, and my father lived at both places. This was in 1933, in the summer. My father loved the ranch and especially the rural life and the chores we children did and had to do as a way of life. We worked from sun-up to dark with the turkeys, with the orchard irrigating, with the cows and even peacocks. My father bought some peacocks and built a cage for them around a pepper tree right along side the highway. He raised pea fowl and sold hatching pea fowl eggs for a dollar each. During breeding season, the peacocks would shriek and scream each time a car or especially a truck went by, day or night. Many strangers knew our ranch because of the peacocks.
We were not very wise as city folks moving to the country, in that we appeared with a huge maroon Packard limousine, and dressed better then most folks did in those depression days in the country. So when Alice and I started school in the fall, we had a tough time of it. We were persecuted one way and another, called Jews, and generally had quite a time in school. My father continued in that unfortunate state of still watching his resources shrink and with us at home and resultant financial responsibility for the family on his shoulders. The turkey business was not good economically. One year he and my brother lost money due to over production of turkey-hatching eggs, so that the crop of eggs failed to pay off. That was a serious blow to my father, who rather turned my brother loose hen to work it out on his own, which he did.
My father, by this time, was being called “The Boss,” or “Captain.” The girls called him “Daddy” mostly, but my brother and I used one of the other two appellatives. Still in an era of masculine domination, he really was The Boss, and he really did captain the family ship. He still insisted on high moral conduct, called a spade a spade when we did not do our best and in general, he kept his high standards and insisted on us keeping ours.
In appearance at this time, my father had thinning gray hair, weighed about 165, was five feet seven or eight in height. He was distinguished, a beautiful dresser, but often wore sporty clothes such as riding breeches with putees. He maintained a more or less quiet composure, but was friendly and outgoing and had a host of friends who enjoyed and loved him. He sought out those who needed attention or help or recognition. He paid little heed to pomp or wealth or position in others as a prerequisite for him to bow down to. Rather, did he seek out the unfortunate and give them a hand. He called on elderly people and took flowers to old ladies. He helped some in distress and was always considerate of those less fortunate. He was a saintly man, the victim of an economic worldwide depression brought on by international wars culminating in World War I. His fortune had shrunk to near nothing and we had to be careful of expenditures. My sister, Alice, was given $10 a week for food purchases for those of us at home, which was three or four at that time.
My father was of an artistic temperament. He was an artist and could draw with pen and ink or pencil very well. One of his brothers, my Uncle Forrest, was a professional artist. My father had a baritone voice, trained, and sang professionally in the White Plains and Lafayette days. He did not sing to speak of when we lived in St Louis. His emotions must have gone from low to high in a pendulum swing during good to poor circumstances. I never heard him complain, however, except when I was not doing my best. He has had a great impact on my life for the demand made of me to do my best, to never give up, to work and work until the job was done, and done well. Had he not had such an insistent demand on me from childhood, I might not have survived when my own going got rough. I am thankful to him for his standards of excellence. He insisted we children maintain superiority. He himself did not ask of us what he did not already demand of himself. To him, mediocrity was almost a sin. When he had to discipline is children, it was really difficult for him. He told me once that it would make him sick to his stomach when he had to confront one of us with having some kind of misconduct. But he did what he had to do regarding discipline and never failed to call on us when a call was in order. But through it all, he tenderly loved and appreciated us everyone.
Mary and he had a good comradery. By this time, she was a working girl in San Diego, living in a hotel, and coming to the ranch weekends. Alice was my father's joy for her honesty, industry, and obedience. My brother, Lance, was less differential to our dad then was I, so sparks sometimes flew a little between the two of them. I was less independent and wished more to please my father and perhaps tried harder to do so than did my brother. However, my father and brother were always on man to man terms, but flew somewhat in separate mental orbits so far as their natures were concerned.
I had a high school sweetheart named Blanche Cannon, two years my junior. She was blonde and pretty and I really liked her. We went steady. My main concern with her was that she smoked and I thought smoking a “no-no,” especially for girls, urging her to give it up. She did. A year later, one day my father said, “I thought Blanche had given up smoking.” I replied, “She has.” My father then proceeded to inform me that she had not only had not given up smoking but she had smoked all the time and behind my back. I was so disenchanted and disillusioned that I burst into tears for the deception. It was a real blow and I learned a great lesson, that insisting on another doing your bidding may involve them in deceit and putting it underground. I vividly remember the confrontation with Blanche; and our relationship, though continuing, was never the same. Later, when I was home from college due to eye troubles, he offered to help me marry her if I wanted to. I did not want to and this and this I show only to indicate his selflessness in the interest of his children, willing to help me marry a girl if I wished, but one that he disapproved of. Self immolation characterized this great man's nature.
I was hurt in football in my junior year and had to drop out of high school accordingly. I lost the sight of one eye and instead of going to school, I worked at various farm jobs, putting up hay, milking cows, and the like. I still graduated from high school, but in the next class after my own. My father helped me write my Valedictorian address in June, 1937. He was a staunch Republican and brought us children up in that political philosophy. The Roosevelt years were of anguish to my father, for Roosevelt practiced and stood for violations of principles which my father deemed immoral, self serving, and a deferring of solving problems into tomorrow. My father was a man who faced up to problems as and when they occurred and did not approve of pushing problems ahead in order to have a happier today. Check out our national debt and attitude now in the light and see if my father called it correctly or not more then forty years ago.
Now I must speak of my own difficulty in order to show again the nature and character of my father. He urged me to go to college. His dream was that I should go to Harvard, but my sight problem would not allow this. So, interested in the dairy industry, I went to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. There I studied for one semester, but my sight fled and I had to return home, having lost my sight. This was a terrible blow to my father and he took it very hard. Add this problem to all of his others, especially financial, and here was a real low blow for him. He agonized over my misfortune. I was taken to a hospital and specialists. One doctor said that surgery might give one chance in a thousand of healing. However, my father offered me the expensive surgery if I deemed it worth it. I deemed it not worth it and besides I deigned to go to surgery even if it had and even chance of success.
I underwent a dreadful pained condition for weeks and we were living in the little town of Ramona, where we were like in gold fish bowl. So my father took me to San Diego and rented an apartment, which we called Egypt, it being like taking a little child out of an errant atmosphere into a better one. Christian Science practitioners, one by one, failed to meet my eye case until Mrs Rollins of La Jolla was called upon. Mental progress ensued and after several weeks, we returned to the ranch in Ramona.
I was twenty years old and had to start my life all over again on uncertain ground wit unexplored and unknown experiences pending. I suffered, yes, but not as much as did my father for me. Feeling his anguish and realizing his need of comfort, I was rather forced involuntarily but providentially to undergo disciplines the like of which I had not known. For example, I would stand at the dinner table, unexpectedly, and pretend I was giving a testimony of healing of profanity and include a word or two of mild swearing in the testimony, or, testify as to the healing of stuttering and stutter through the whole thing, and wind up with a stuttering statement that the healing was permanent. That broke the tension, encouraged me to live a normal life and work it out, and lessened the dreadful burden that my father and family carried around. It was time for growth, for spiritual growth and human dominion, and we worked through those dreary days and came out the other end with some victory. However, I do think that my father never really recovered his poise concerning my problem, and I think he agonized to his dying day over it. I know he would have joyfully taken on my problem if he could have. He could not and wished he might.
As I began to get back on my feet, I joined the Christian Science Society in Ramona, and became a working church member. So did he at my request, as I recall. He gave testimonies Wednesday nights and they were good ones. He became president of the Rotary Club in Ramona and presided with dignity and poise. His interests continued to be his family. His dream was that we children should all find our mates and then live near each other and be friends all our lives. He once wrote a letter to Marjorie Shearston, his sister in Miami, and said that the joy of his life that morning was to hear his children singing at their work on the ranch. Singing at their work. That was his kind of thing, and he loved that reality in us, his children.
Glendora Rollins of La Jolla, my Christian Science practitioner's daughter, invited me to write to her classmate, one Jean Treadway of Bristol, Connecticut I did so. Jean was without sight since age twelve, so at least we had that common denominator. Jean's first letter to me in answer to mine came, and my father read it to me. At least he knew a little of Jean, albeit he did not know then, nor did I, that she would become my wife and the mother of four of his grandchildren. My next letter to Jean recounted the passing of my father, and recalls that letter indeed.
It happened thusly. Alice and I returned from San Diego in the late morning. As we pulled into the yard, Mother ran out of the house and said that Daddy was dying. I entered the porch and found my father slumped in a chair, in a state of expiration. He was not conscious and the experience of passing on was evident. Out loud I prayed. He quietly ceased to breathe in a few moments. His life struggle on this planet was over, and he had gone on to, I earnestly hope, a brighter and happier life. He loved his family and was loyal and true to them with his every breath. Even with his last breath, was he considering family, for he had just bought four cords of fire wood and noted to my mother that she would be warm this coming winter. He had a premonition of his demise. In fact, he had had a spell across the highway on the Duran's one day, and told Mrs Duran that one day he would succumb to these spells. I suppose it was what would be called a heart attack, but I do not know this for sure.
Thus ended the life on this earth of this noble man, husband, father, example, and friend.
This account has been written to and for his grandchildren, since most of them never knew him. The heritage that you, his grandchildren, have from this saintly man is with you every moment of your life, both here and hereafter. He lived and loved and wept and won, the while standing for idealism and excellence of character and performance. Those qualities you have inherited.
God grant that you, too, exercise them as did he, that your children may feel towards you as his children feel towards him. God grant that one day we all may know him again.
“For their work continueth...broad and deep...Come, the Life Story of Elais Ingraham” by Forrest M Holly, page 218, published 1975 by Fleming H Revell Co
February 19, 1979
Dear Alice, Helen, Mary B and Mary K,
This year is the 100th anniversary of the birth of our father. His grandchildren in some cases, never knew him at all, albeit some of the older ones in the Walpole family may remember him. It occurs to me that it would be timely and useful if all five of us wrote our recollections of AP and put them together in a little pamphlet to be given to all of The Boss's grandchildren. Wouldn't that be a worthy idea and a memorial to a great man? I think so, and hope you concur. The material by each of us could be as long or as short as we see fit, and while we each may cover something that the other one does, that would not matter, since it would be different in any event.
Please let me know if you will do your thing in this matter, and if you will not, I may pout with my green pout worse then you ever saw it!
Forrest M Holly
A Centennial Memorial – 1879 to 1979
Alanson Perry Holly
08/14/1879 to 08/21/1942
Alice Holly Matlack, Nogales, Arizona
Forrest M Holly, Escondido, California
Helen Holly Brown, Ramona, California
Mary B Holly Higgins, Ashland, Oregon
Mary K Holly Pinkard, Roman, California
William Perry Holly -- 01/08-1847 to 10/30/1914
Eva L Cooper – 10/25/1852 to 02/20/1927
Brothers & Sisters of Alanson P Holly:
Duvillo Clyde Holly – 05/21/1872
Forrest Cooper Holly – 10/09/1874
Addie holly – 09/11/1880
Marjorie Holly – 04/30/1891
Alanson P Holly married in 1905
Mabel Elizabeth Barbour
04/11/1882 to 05/06/1964
Alanson P Holly issue are:
Elizabeth Barbour Holly – 09/19/1906
A P Holly, Jr (Bud or Lance) – 02/13/1908
Mary Bernice Holly – 07/06/1911
Helen Louise Holly – 07/22/1914
Forrest Merton Holly – 08/05/1918
Alice Janette Holly -- 06/21/1921