The 1960s and Later
An ‘open house’ celebration of the fiftieth wedding anniversary for Kenneth and Zita was held on May 23, 1971, in the Fellowship Hall of Simpson Methodist Church in Des Moines not far from their home. Thepicture below is thought to have been one of several formal portaits taken in honor of that occasion.
Zitaremembered Kenneth in her autobiography:
“Oneof the sweetest things I remember about Kenneth was his beautiful bass voice. He loved to sing. In 1968, I purchased a guitar as a surprise gift and he exchanged it for a banjo. Red Scobee at WHO radio gave him lessons and Kenneth enjoyed playing songs and singing for the grandchildren. Even though I have learned to live alone, I miss him still to this day.” KendraJones Garrett recalls his playing Turkey in the Straw.
Kenneth is remembered ashaving fished from one of the several bridges over the Des Moines River, although no one remembers his having caught anything.
Kenneth alsohad a steering knob on the car he drove that pictured a naked woman, which seems hard to believe. No one knows what happened to it after he died.
Kenneth had a small room in the basement at the house at 2719 E. Grand Avenue where he had his tools and various and sundry things. It was known as the “fuddy duddy” room, though it is not known how it was named or what the name meant. There was a rule that the grandchildren could not go down there unaccompanied. There were two strings hanging down from the ceiling; one turned on the light and one started or turned on the power saw.
Earlypictures of Kenneth show a lanky youth with long combed-back hair. Pictures of he and is brothers evoked impressions of a rough, mean upbringing. In late life he wore his sandy-colored hair cutshort. He was slender all of his life, in contrast to Zita, and in his final years he was somewhat stooped in his posture. Kenneth was not a conversationalist, but there was no doubt that he was listening to the conversation and had an opinion.
Zita retired from the hosiery mill in 1959, and after taking classes at a business college night school to learn bookkeeping and accounting, she took a job at Brady Farm Implements. She worked there for seven and a half years until the agency changed hands and she quit. She worked for Plain Talk Publishing for six months, and then for Robinson Brothers Steel. Zita worked for the Buster Nut Company for four and a half years until the company closed, and she worked as a bookkeeper and office manager for Dr. Paul From for nineteen years until she retired for good in 1981. She was seventy-five at the time.
She flew for the first time in about 1975 when she traveled from Des Moines, Iowa, to Denver, Colorado, to visit her oldest granddaughter Kendra Jones Garrett and her family. Subsequently, Zita flew to Vancouver, Washington, Oklahoma, and Washington, D.C. Zita also traveled in a motor home with her daughter Shirley and husband Art. Some time before Maynard had died and after Kenneth was no longer living, Maynard appeared at 2719 E Grand Avenue to pick up his son Jeff one Super Bowl Sunday afternoon. Maynard was apparently inebriated, and his mother refused not only to let him into the house, but also to let Jeff to leave with him. Grandma J. berated her son in front of Jeff and later continued to tell Jeff that his father was going to hell.
On November 9, 1979, Maynard fell on his war-injured leg andwas transported to Skiff Hospitalin Newton, Jasper Co., Iowa where he was diagnosed with an inoperable fractured hip. He was placed on bedrest. On Christmas Day, 1979, he became so short of breath that he was emergently transferred to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. He was eventually placed on a respirator, but he ultimately died on June 18, 1980. He was buried in the Colfax Cemetery, Colfax, Jasper Co., Iowa.
Shirley’s husband Arthur Beryl Cloud died from complicatons to multiple myeloma on August 5, 1990, in Ames, Story Co., Iowa. He was a general internist and had practiced in Marshalltown, Iowa, for many years. After a heart attack, he and Shirley moved to Ames where he worked at student health. He was buried in Melbourne Cemetery, Melbourne, Mashall Co., Iowa.
In1990 Zita sufferedafracture of one of her hips, which limited her mobility. After surgery for her hip, she had the assistance of Shirley Scogal who provided much needed assistance with activities of daily living.
Zitawas an avid reader, both fiction and non-fiction, and it was humorous to her grandchildren to know that she liked some of the racier novels, especially ones by Jackie Collins. She liked to embroider and to crochet and had hoped to crochet a tablecloth for each of her twelve grandchildren. Robert Maurice Junod, Helen’s husband, died on 11 May 1996, in Sioux City, Woodbury Co., Iowa, after having suffered a stroke several yars before. He is pictured in wheelchair int he above reunion picture. He had been a livestock inspector at the local stockyards. He was buried in Memorial Park Cemtery, Sioux City.
Zita’s oldest daughter Shirley died onMay 24, 2000, in Oneida, Scott Co., Tennessee. Shirley had been a registered nurse since 1946. She was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was buried alongside her husband.
Zita suffered several falls withfracture of her leg in the latter part of 2003 with several hospitalizations. While she was in a nursing home, her only surviving child Helen Mae Junod died after a brief illness on 24 December 2003 while hospitalized in Sioux City. Helen had been trained as an x-ray technician. Helen was buriedin the Memorial ParkCemetery in Sioux City. Zita was not able to attend the funeral; all were concerned that this event would hasten Zita’s own death.
Zita continued to recuperate butdeveloped pneumonia, and she died on the morning of Tuesday, 20 January 2004. Funeral services were held the following Saturday at Simpson United Methodist Church in Des Moines, just a few blocks from her home. As the funeral procession left the church, it turned down Grand Avenue and in fact passed by her home of nearly 60 years on the way to the cemetery. She was buried beside her husband at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
The evening before the funeral service, all of the grandchildren and some of the great grandchildren met at the church to share some thoughts with the minister who was to perform the funeral service.
The minister’s name was Dodds, though he said she always called him Pastor “Dobbs”. He was trying to get information about Grandma J’s religious involvement. All could recall that she had a Bible by her favorite chair, but could not recall her giving testimony or being “religious”. She was a Sunday school teacher for many years at Simpson Methodist church and called shut-ins until shortly before her final illness as part of a volunteer program called “Generations”. She liked gospel music and was a fan of the Statler Brothers.
She was recalled as being 100% supportive of her grandchildren. She knew what was going on with everyone and was lovingly called “Grandma Central”. When Tamia Cloud Bible moved to Milwaukee when she was still single, Grandma J found her a date in Milwaukee.
Grandma J must have enjoyed the Christmas season since she always sent presents to all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as their spouses. Commonly she would give magazine subscriptions along with another gift, but always there would be a bag of Avon products for each recipient. There was the thought that the Avon sales person would likely be out of work now Grandma J had passed away. The last Christmas just before her death was the only Christmas she did not send out presents. Sharon Junod McKimpson would sometimes help her with the presents and remembered that Grandma J did not work from a list and could always keep the presents straight. Homemade “food for the gods” was also a favorite gift, though was not always eaten by recipients.
A lot of the memories involved food, including rabbit pancakes, apple pie, the bear cookie jar, and individualized desserts. At meals, she tried to have a pie that was the favorite of each person at the table. A slice of Velveeta cheese was required for a slice of apple pie.
Her pancake recipe included: an egg or two; buttermilk; baking soda; and flour. She then beat the batter with a fork “until it sounds right”. Another cooking style was to “adding water to cover”. She also like kitchen gadgets, both giving and receiving them. Like any modernmom, she had many souvenir magnets on her refrigerator.
Other memories included being at her house during the time of the Iowa State Fair. The grandchildren would be in their pajamas and would watch fireworks from the house at 2719 E. Grand Avenue. The driveway and yard would be used for parking for fair-goers.
Grandma J was an intelligent woman who worked most of her life. In the latter part of her life she was a Republican, though had been a Democrat in earlier years.
Zita was not a slender or petite woman, but suffered from a weight problem throughout her life. Some early pictures and movies showed the demeanor of a woman who looked like she should not be “messed with”, far from the comforting grandmother figure she demonstrated in late life. While not outwardly religious, she did not smoke or drink and had little tolerance for those who did. Her husband, who did a little chewing tobacco, would have to go outside to indulge in his habit.
The house at 2719 East Grand Avenue was untouched at the time of Zita’s death. It was filled with pictures, furniture, treasures, and memories of two lives who had resided there for almost sixty years.
The following two paragraphs are taken from the epilogue ofher autobiography: “If I ever have a day where I just get up in the morning and look for the night to come — that’s not a good day. I try not to have too many like that and usually I don’t. Once in a while I do — we all have days like that.”
“I still have dreams! One of them is to see New York City. Kenneth and I traveled out West and that was fun because he was quite a rock hound and liked the hills and mountains. It seems funny that, with all the trips we took, we never went east. There seems to be some little voice in me that is saying, ‘Go east young woman, go east.’ Who knows, maybe someday I will!”