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Bertha Matilda SpencerNot everyone who belongs in a family history is a family member. It seems fitting to me to talk about the Hoover family, because they played a rather large part in our family’s history, and therefore were as close as family. In her young years, my great aunt, Bertha Matilda Spencer and her mother did not get along. The situation continued to be a problem for some time, and at some point it became intolerable.

I don’t know how old Bertha was when she went to live with the Hoover family, or if it was her decision or her mother’s, but she never lived at home again. Many people might think that hers was a horribly sad and lonely life after that, but to me she looked genuinely happy. That makes me think that possibly her move to the Hoover home was something that was by mutual agreement, between her and her mom, but I still have to wonder if the whole situation made my great great grandfather rather sad. I don’t know about Great Great France Hoover - The Shoe MakerGrandma, but the rest of the family, it seems, was very close to the Hoovers…leading me to think that they missed their sister very much. Because the Hoover family was so close to his, my grandfather remained friends with them for the rest of his life, even having his picture taken with two of the Hoover boys, Ed and Joe, two years before his death.

Mr Hoover’s name was France, and while he was a farmer by trade, he also had the ability to repair and maybe even make shoes for his family. I suppose a lot of families learned trades to help save their families money, but shoemaking is something that seems such a strange hobby these days. Of course, for France Hoover, it was not a hobby, it was a necessity. His family needed shoes, and to purchase them was expensive. I found these pictures to be very interesting, as I thought about how the shoes were made or repaired in those days. They were all hand crafted, unlike the shoes of today that are mass produced by machines. The shoes were made out of leather, while most shoes today are made out of synthetic materials. I have a feeling those shoes lasted much longer than our shoes today do too.

Shoes then were not designed for looks so much, but rather they were made in a The Shoe Makerpractical fashion, which would have saddened me, because I love my high heels, and I love different designs and colors. Shoes of yesteryear were quite different, and I’m sure the shoemakers would have thought of me as being half crazy. Maybe I am, but I would be in good company, I think, because there are a whole bunch of us high heel fanatics in this world. These are just different times than those were, and since they most likely had just one pair of shoes, compared to my 50 or more, theirs had to be built to last. While France Hoover was not related to me, I still find him to be an interesting character from the past. Some things he did the old fashioned way, like making and repairing shoes, and some things like cars and tractors, he had to have the latest innovations available. I suppose it just depends on where your priorities are, really, and I’m quite certain that mine are vastly different than France Hoover’s were.

When our girls were little, Bob was quite smitten with them. So much so, in fact, that all it took was a little smile or giggle to get him to give in to their…requests, and yet, not feel one bit taken in by them. The reality, however, is that he was extremely taken in by them. In fact, he lived wrapped around their tiny little baby fingers…and it didn’t seem to bother him one bit. Bob loved his girls, and they loved their daddy.

We had a little joke that the girls and I played on Bob as they got a little older. If they wanted to do something, or wanted to go somewhere, and Bob seemed to be…undecided, I told the girls to flutter their eyelashes and say, “I love you Daddy.” Needless to say, it worked like a charm. Of course, we wouldn’t have used it on something that he seriously didn’t want to do, but I’m not so sure Bob knew that. Through the years, the girls used their Daddy’s Little Girl trick on Bob quite a bit. Even when it wasn’t necessary. If they wanted a candy bar at the store, or a new pair of jeans, Daddy’s Little Girls sweet talked their dad to get what they wanted. Of course, their love for their dad would never have allowed them to take advantage in any big way…just the ones Bob wanted to give in on anyway.

Being Daddy’s Little Girl does take a certain amount of work too…like watching him Daddy's Little Helperwork on his truck, or handing him his tools, but the girls were pretty good at that too. As they grew up, Bob got more and more accustomed to his place in life. Corrie and Amy perfected their…controlling touch over Bob’s heart. They could pretty much get anything they wanted…within reason.

Not much has changed over the years. The other night Amy was at the bowling alley, and well…payday wasn’t until today, so she smiled at Bob and said, “Dad, do you want to buy me a beer?” He looked at her like…”Not really!” And in perfect Daddy’s Little Girl style, Amy said, “I love you Daddy!” Yes, she got her beer…what else is new. She’s her Daddy’s Little Girl!!

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