For years, when I would research the Spencer side of our family, I continued to run into a woman named Alice Viola Spencer. I kept wondering how she fit in exactly. Early on in my quest for my ancestry, the relationships were a challenge for me. As I ran into her again and again, I learned that she was my great aunt…my grandfather, Allen Luther Spencer’s younger sister. She somehow seemed a bit out of place compared to the rest of his siblings. All the girls were ladylike and feminine, but Alice had a very regal style. I have often wondered what she might have been like, and I find myself wishing I had known her. I think I need to locate some of her grandchildren so that I can ask them about her.
Alice Viola Spencer was born in Mondovi, Wisconsin on May 5, 1884, and was married to Dennis Alburtice Dunahee in Ladysmith, Wisconsin on May 14, 1902. Their son, Bertie Raymon was born on Feb 19, 1903 in Ladysmith Wisconsin. At some point after Bertie’s birth, they moved to Dewey, Oklahoma, and in 1920 they would move to Twin Falls, Idaho, where Alice lost her husband on March 22, 1938. He was only 59 years old at the time of his death. By the time of his father’s passing, Bertie…who now went by Raymon, had moved to Los Angeles, California. I’m sure that having Raymon in California, and her husband Bert’s passing were the main reasons that Alice would leave her home in Twin Falls and move to West Covina, California, which is where she was at the time of her death, on December 11, 1944, at the young age of only 60 years.
It appears to me that Bert and Alice would only have one child, and that their son, would follow in their footsteps and have only one child as well…LuAlice Irene, who was born on December 5, 1930 in Twin Falls, Idaho. LuAlice would marry, Walter C Ball, and Alice would finally receive four great grandchildren. I’m sure that after two generations of only children, LuAlice and Walter’s children would be a bit of a culture shock…and not a bad one either. I can’t think of anything more fun than listening to a house full of giggling children. I wonder what Alice thought of all those little great grandchildren. I’ll bet it was the thrill of her life.
Travel these days is so common that we really don’t give it much thought at all, but travel or moving in days gone by, was a very different matter, or perhaps it is just that some things worry people of different ages more that other people, or shall we say older people. I was reading a story written by my cousin Raymon Dunahee, who is my Grandpa Spencer’s sister, Alice’s son. The story begins, “I slept soundly (I guess we all did) all night and woke up the next morning to find that I was still all there. If anything had carried us off during the night they brought us back before morning.” When I read that, it reminded me of some of the camping trips my family took when we were kids, and my sisters and I kept waking my dad up so he could put another log on the fire to keep the bears away…like that would have made any difference. As I read through the thoughts of a little boy as he embarked of an unknown, and maybe a little scary future, my thoughts turned to how different travel was back then.
As I read through the rest of his story, and the continuing mishaps they had, I could see why he felt a little apprehensive about things. The vehicle they were traveling in had a couple of “bum casings” and he was concerned that if the roads got bad at all they might end up stuck in a very desolate place. They were trying to make Kalispell, Montana that day, and they still had a hundred and twenty five miles to go. They were in the mountains when the rear tire blew. The spare was not good either, so they limped along the six miles to the next town and got a new tire. It was another forty miles to Kalispell, but they made it without further mishap and bought another tire there. The trip to Kalispell was a side trip to visit his grandparents before they went on to their final destination…Twin Falls, Idaho. During the visit with his grandparents, they decided to go on to Twin Falls, Idaho with them. The rest of the trip was filled with similar troubles and I’m sure that Raymon wondered if they would make it at all, and if he even wanted to go to this place when it seemed that everything was against their move as it was.
Then, to add to Raymon’s concerns, their trip started to become very slow going…not because of car problems, but because of fish problems. It’s hard to imagine that fish could cause such big problems, but they can for a boy who is really ready to get where they are going. It seems that over the next three days, they family only made twelve miles!! “How could that be?” you ask. Well, they were traveling in an area where there were lots of mountain streams, and every time they came upon another stream, the men wanted to stop and fish!! I don’t think they caught very many fish, but according to Raymon, there were plenty of mosquitoes, and he was really ready to be away from them. I’m sure he was thinking, “Let’s just go!!” And there was no reason to even ask, “Are we there yet?” because you have to be moving for that question to even make sense. In the end, they did make it to Twin Falls, Idaho, where they lived out their days.