Growing Up in Scattered Places: Floye
At some point she went by 'Floye' rather than 'Lorena.' As recorded earlier, the name 'Floye' apparently did not originally have an 'e' at the end. Family legend has it that she thought adding the 'e' made the name sound more sophisticated. While it is not known when Floye adopted the name she would use for the rest of her life, it obviously would have been long after the death of her birth mother.
Floye was raised mostly by her maternal grandparents, Martin and Delvina Moon Jessup. Floye lived for a time in Lamar, Colorado. The writer mentioned in the previous section also wrote the following:
The family had a claim in a southern Colorado town so made the trip via covered wagon. No carpeted rooms nor floor-length drapes, but there was a rough table and a feather bed on the floor. Two "plug" horses drew the canvas-covered conveyance down the poor roads, with 2 cows walking in back. The Ute Pass and other places were so narrow and steep, riders had to walk also a lot of the time. Incidentally, the cows got such sore feet they never got to their destination. The 250-mile trek took a long time, but our Floye didn't complain and showed her true colors even then.
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Martin Jessup died 18 September 1901, in Madison Co., Iowa and was buried in Moon Cemetery, Macksburg, Madison Co., Iowa. His cause of death is unknown. After Martin died, Delvina and the girls moved to a house on 6th Street in Escondido, California, though Delvina continued to keep a house in Macksburg. Delvina and the family traveled between Escondido, some property in Colorado, and Macksburg whenever 'her foot itched.' Delvina's brother James S. Moon and a relative Alonzo Rush Moon, kept track of the houses in Macksburg and Escondido respectively . When staying with James Moon in Macksburg, Floye and Hallie would sleep upstairs on a four-poster bed with rope slats and cornhusk mattresses.
So Floye and Hallie would follow their Grandmother Jessup to Escondido, California, Colorado, and Iowa. Floye returned to Iowa and had some schooling at Diagonal, Ringgold Co., Iowa, though it appears that she did not graduate from high school at Diagonal or from anywhere else for that matter.
Floye had an autograph book that she inscribed 'Floye Beard. 1906.' Nearly every page was filled with a poem addressed to 'Floy', dated 1907-1 909 and all from Escondido, California. The following is a typical example of the writings:
Make your life like a rose,
That out of earth's gloom,
Springs up to the sunlight,
With beauty and bloom.
As a young girl, Floye had artistic talents and collected pictures of the latest fashions, poems and miscellaneous newspaper articles which she pasted in a scrapbook made from a hardcover catalogue. She inscribed the book "Lorena Floye Beard 1909."
During her growing up years, Floye began a lifelong habit of writing frequently to the newspapers, often sending in poems. At least five of these named the author as "Miss Floy Beard", with several listing her age as 12 or 13.
Thus, Floye's formative years were marked by the untimely loss of her mother, the apparent estrangement from her natural father, the death of her maternal grandfather when she was only about 9-years-old, and much moving about to Colorado, California, and Iowa. Grandmother Jessup, who was 45 years older than Floye, was the sole parent figure for about 10 years following the death of her husband. Floye could not have recalled much if anything about her natural mother, and it may have been very difficult for Delvina to be the mother that Floye and Hallie needed, especially when Delvina was herself recently widowed.
The following article was written by Floye and published in an unknown newspaper, thought I suspect it was the Winterset Madisonian. It is not dated but was found in her 1944 diary, and it is entitled "Reminiscences."
"120 acres of good farming land," read a small ad in last week's News (sic). Perhaps some of you scanned it or gave it a casual glance. Probably most readers didn't even see it. To me, it signified many things.
"It meant Red June's and Maidenblush apples in the old orchard which used to stand west of the house, and woodsy violets by decaying stumps. It meant meeting Grandpa (Jessup) at the cornfield gate and riding old Coalie' s broad back to the watering trough. It meant watching Grandma do the family wash out of doors, the clothes boiling merrily in the homemade soapy water, in an old-fashioned fifty-gallon iron kettle over a bonfire by the smokehouse.
"It meant a broken hearted father trying to tell his little girl why he wasn't "going to bring momma back." This same little girl sat on the kitchen steps and believed the turtle's (sic) dove's coo was her mother calling. She would tell her fantastic ideas to a-smaller, non-understanding sister.
"It meant carrying small pails of water to a threshing crew on the '40' and admonitions to 'stand back' while watching, awe-struck the great machine belch out straw.
"It meant Grandpa coming from town with a 'music box' he had won at John Callison' s store; the same old fashioned machine you can hear play eight tunes yet, if you should care to ask me.
"Again Grandfather came home with a tiny black puppy on the buggy beside him. To our excited, "Did you bring us anyything (sic)?" he looked down and laughed. Good old Major became our faithful, adoring bodyguard during the lonely days in Colorado after Grandfather left us. (He died in 1901.) I could go on and on, but don't we all have memories like that?
"It was my childhood home."