Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sepia Saturday: Elmer and Lela (Lile) Miller


I introduced you to my maternal grandfather,
Elmer Miller, the little boy on the right
in the formal portrait of the three children from
the Sepia Saturday three weeks ago.

Now it's time for you to meet his bride,
Lela Emoline Lile.


I'm not sure whether this was taken before or after
their wedding, but it was around that time.


As you can see, they were married on October 6, 1920
in Enterprise, Oregon in the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The witnesses were Samuel P. Miller, Elmer's father,
and Sarah Emoline Clayton Lile, Lela's mother.
She'd been widowed only nine months
when her daughter married. I'm sure
everyone missed him that day.

Lela was twenty-one.
Elmer had turned twenty just the day before.
Initially, they lived on Elmer's parents' homestead.
A couple of years after that, they moved to Echo, Oregon
where my Aunt Mona was born.

By 1925, they moved to LaGrande, Oregon,
where my mother was born and her father worked
in the lumber mill.

By the time the Great Depression befell the country,
Elmer and Lela had three daughters,
of whom my mother was the third.
Elmer lost his job at the mill,
but luckily was able to find work on the Grimmett place,
a large farming spread in the Grande Ronde Valley north of town.
My grandmother Lela cooked for all the farm hands
and did their laundry, as well. She grew vegetables and fruit 
and always canned things for the winter. She also sewed and mended, 
did embroidery, and crocheted. Both Elmer and Lela 
were active members of the First Christian Church
in LaGrande, Oregon throughout their adult lives.

During World War Two,
Elmer worked for the railroad for a while.
He eventually got a job with the local power company
and worked there until his retirement.

Lela died on her 73rd birthday,
after going out to a celebratory dinner
with her husband.

They had been married almost 52 years.

For more Sepia Saturday stories,
go visit today's hostess Kat/Poeticat.
You can read her piece about a girl and her car,
and she'll link you to more stories.

9 comments:

mouse (aka kimy) said...

it is so interesting to see the parallels among all our families - in terms of type of work, hobbies, etc.

my mom was born in 1925

wonderful photo

elmer was lucky he was able to find work.

curious, how much longer did elmer live after his beloved lela died... sad to die on one's birthday, but at least she had a lovely night out! hope it wasn't anything she ate that did her in.

Poetikat said...

It's too bad she died at a fairly young age, but nice that she got to celebrate before she went.

My parents celebrated their 50th in August 2008 and my father passed away 3 months later.

What a spectacular wedding certificate! I've never seen anything like it before.

Kat

Barry said...

What an interesting photo, so casual and so revealing.

She seems to have lived a good and full life even through difficult times.

L. D. Burgus said...

Great photo of the time. The marriage document is wonderful. I don't think I have seen one that was so decorated.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Wonderful memories of 'salt of the earth' people who worked so hard for their children and future descendents. Nice that you have photos and documents.

Kamana said...

what a fun marriage certificate. never seen one decorated like that before.

kendalee said...

What a great story - 52 years together, it's amazing! And I know it's a silly thing to notice but I love that their marriage certificate is so pretty - nothing like mine, which could not be uglier and more utilitarian. Perhaps that's why the marriage didn't last? If only I'd known! ;)

Jennifer said...

How did you learn about your grandparents' history? I am sad that I never spoke to my grandparents about their history, and my parents don't seem to know all that much. It is such a waste to have those stories all go without rememberence. So, good for you for recording this for them.

georgia b. said...

oh, i enjoy this series!