The Barkus Family - 1930s:

A 4 September 1930 article from the Malvern Leader noted that "Lou Barkus the past week leased the east room of the Hammer's building across the street from the Green Bay Lumber yard and moved his garage and used car stock to the rear part of the building and his cream and produce station to the front. This will make him a convenient place for his business with plenty of room and in a good location.”  With his brother George he maintained an agency and garage for the Chevrolet Motor Corporation.

1930 United States Federal Census, Malvern, Mills Co., Iowa:
Last name:    First name:    Age: Relation:    Born:    Occupation:   
Barkus Louis 40 Head Iowa Automobile Sales
Edith 37 Wife Iowa
Betty L 6 Daughter Iowa
Betty Lou and Louis A Barkus Location and Date unknown, possibly 1931/32

Betty Lou and Louis A Barkus
Location and Date unknown, possibly 1931/32

B. Lou Barkus Jones wrote in her memoirs entitled, "Never Lead from a King”:

“In my early growing up years, Daddy had taken a job managing the local creamery .... Daddy had two or three employees and things went well for a couple of years. Then it became apparent that Daddy'ship and lower limb arthritis, resulting from his wartime experience in the water-filled trenches, became so severe that he had difficulty walking and could no longer work. ... As a result of Daddy's arthritis and Grandma's (Bushnell) infirmity, we moved in with Grandma when I was around eight years old. The move was difficult for Daddy. He became one of the original house husbands. He would be there after school to listen to my stories and concerns. Being a good Marine, he also taught me many of the songs of World War I.

“Mom and Daddy had always been quite sociable. · Dad belonged to the Masons and Mother served for many years as secretary for the Eastern Star (the women's organization associated with the Masons.)  She also belonged to a bridge club that met downtown at the tearoom on a specific afternoon. The women had lunch and then played bridge.

Bridge Invite to Edith Barkus Believe postmark is for Monday, May 14, 1928

Bridge Invite to Edith Barkus
Believe postmark is for Monday, May 14, 1928

“However, when Daddy was no longer able to work Mom didn't have time for those social activities because she had to find employment. She became a full -time clerk at a downtown dry-goods store where she sold fabric, notions, clothing, shoes, and stockings. It was a big adjustment for her to become the breadwinner, and I believe it was just as difficult for my father.

“By the time Mom had to go to work, Daddy was so crippled from arthritis that he became inactive and eventually almost bedridden. He couldn't bend over, and, for as long as I can remember, I tied his shoes for him. He used a cane when the two of us walked together downtown to pay the grocer bill because he was finally getting some small amount of veterans' benefits. However, he had a cheerful attitude and made jokes, and he continued to be easy-going. When I returned home from grade school with all kinds of ideas and experiences just spilling out, he was the one who listened to me. He was five-feet-ten-inches tall (his Marine records in Jun 1918 listed his height as 5 feet seven and one-half inches, grey eyes, black hair and ruddy complexion) with beautiful white hair. I thought he was very handsome. He'd keep himself busy reading Life magazine or, as we got a radio, listening to Fibber McGee and Molly, The jack Benny Show, or Amos and Andy shows on the radio.”

Around the same time as Louis was becoming so disabled that he was unable to work, his mother-in-law Etta was throwing out a bucket of water and fell from the well platform in front of her home. Unfortunately, she suffered a fracture of her neck that resulted in her being bedbound for a lengthy period of time.

As a result of these two events, Louis, Edith, and Betty Lou moved in with Edith's mother Etta Bushnell at 107 1st Avenue in Malvern in about 1932. Edith continued to reside in this home until her death in some thirty years later.

Bushnell/Barkus home, Malvern, Iowa Photo taken in 2007

Bushnell/Barkus home, Malvern, Iowa
Photo taken in 2007

The Malvern Leader announced on 1 March 1934 that Edith had taken out nomination papers for the Republican nomination for clerk of the district court. She lost the election when Mills County went Democratic.

 

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