JEAN LOUGEAY INTERVIEW
|This is a transcript of an interview by Dr. Karen Meng. Dr. Meng started the transcription, and two eighth grade students listened to the tape and completed the transcript.|
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE WHITESIDE FAMILY
The Whitesides were a highly respected, pioneer family- completely honest, kind, industrious and helpful. Tom and his wife, Olive (Messenger) managed to raise nine children in the small house across the Shiloh Road from the present modern Whiteside school. Lily was the eldest and Daisy, Olive and Dorothy were in that order but Im not sure where the others fit in. Maude married and moved to Oklahoma. Ora married a man named Bernard and also moved away. I never saw them or their brothers, Laurence and Don who, I think was the youngest. Ray was a close friend of my family and visited often, needing no invitation. He was witty and discerning, with an eye for beautiful things and a great appreciation of human foibles including those of his sisters.
Ray married Mary Anne (Mame) Wuertz who had three children, Ed, Margaret and Raymond McCoy from her first marriage. She and Ray Whiteside lived in East St. Louis and had two daughters of their own, Mildred and Marian. Mildred was a very sweet, mild girl who never said or did anything hurtful. After she married Harry Fenn they built a house just west of the original Whiteside home and Ed McCoy, her half-brother, built next door. She and her aunts were quite congenial and enjoyed each others company although Mildred remained hurt that, for some reason, they had never accepted her mother. It may have been because she had been married before, or that she was Catholic.
Unlike her sister, Marian was feisty and determined to have her way. Although younger and much smaller than Mildred, she ruled absolutely, through fear. The story is that she would chase Mildred around the kitchen table wielding a butcher knife. In later years she mellowed and became friendly with her sister. She married a man named Austen Vail and lived in the Los Angeles area where she worked for years at a retirement and assisted living facility. As she described it, it must have been quite beautiful. Many small buildings were scattered among palms and flowers which, in California, bloomed all year round. Curving paths meandered between buildings. Inside, fresh flowers, comfortable lounges attractive furniture provided a pleasant atmosphere. The manager loved parties so there was a celebration for every birthday and every holiday plus a few more just because.
Mildred and Marian spent their last years at Four Fountains Convalescent Center; Mildred until her death last year and Marian until September of this year, 2002. Neither had children, so unless Maude or Ora has descendents, there are none left of that family of nine.