Mary Brindle Walter

Honored by:Darlene Walter Williams
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"A loving mother is the heart of a family's happiness."

I wish to honor my mother, Mary Brindle Walter, a wonderful woman who unselfishly gives to others in many ways, whether it is as a mother to my sister Marilyn and me, a farm homemaker, a neighbor, a 4-H leader, a camper, a grandmother or a political helpmate.

The following article, written by my mother, is just a small example of her many and varied accomplishments.

-Darlene Walter Williams

Young life on my parents farm was different than now. My brother Luther taught me how to milk a cow so we could hurry up and go play house. The chicken house was near and eggs were plentiful which would make our mud pies stick together. The whites of eggs made such nice frosting.

We walked a mile to the country school until the Conrad, Iowa school consolidated. We rode in a horse drawn bus leaving in the dark of the morning and returning in the dark of evening. The next year, Dad arranged with the school board so we could take one half of the children in a 1914 Model T Ford. I was 15 years old two days before school started, and Luther was a year and a half younger. There wasn’t any age limit to drive at that time, and Highway 14 wasn't even graveled! The next year Dad got another Model T Ford and we both drove. I drove while 15, 16 and 17 years old, then graduated. Luther drove until the school got all motor buses.

Our parents always trusted us. When Dad or Mother, J. P. and Effie Brindle, needed a repair or some groceries one of us went after it. We paid for things by check and signed his name with our initials under it. None of us four, Clark, Joy, Mary or Luther, ever got into trouble over it. We knew they trusted us, and we wanted to keep it that way. I said something to Luther recently about it, and he said "It just wasn't the thing to do, to not do as they wished."

We lived in Grundy County. They asked me to be a 4-H leader for our Felix Township, while I was still in college. Each township could enter a demonstration team. Bessie Wheelock and Fern Pemberton, were chosen and their topic was "Alteration of Patterns". They gave their demonstration where there was competition, and won 1st place in every district so were eligible to compete at the Iowa State Fair.

When all of the demonstrations had been given, the judge came out onto the platform. She began with third place and gave their names and what they might have done to improve their demonstration. My heart was beating in my throat! I thought our girls surely did that well and hoped they would get recognition. Then the judge gave names of the 2nd place winners and suggestions. My heart sank. I thought they surely did that well. The judge wasted no time and announced "Bessie Wheelock and Fern Pemberton won 1st place!" We three hugged long and tight! They had won 1st place in the State of Iowa making them eligible to go to the Chicago International 4-H Convention! In Chicago they won a blue ribbon on their demonstration and judging!

Paul M. Walter and I married in June, 1927. We moved to our farm in Hardin County, between Union and New Providence. In 1931, I was asked to be 4-H leader for Providence Township in Hardin County. Adah Frazer and Lois Reece were chosen to be the team to demonstrate, and they chose "Alteration of Patterns."

They demonstrated in every township in the county that had competition and won in Hardin County and were eligible to demonstrate at the State Fair! Again I was so excited! I knew they had their demonstration well in hand, but could it be possible they might win? They won! 1st prize and were eligible to go to the International 4-H Convention in Chicago! In Chicago they won a blue ribbon on their demonstration and judging.

In 1945, it was war time so there wasn't any State Fair or demonstrations. Our daughter Darlene Walter, won on her 4-H records and achievements in Hardin County, and also in the State of Iowa. She won a free trip to the National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago. She was a freshman at Iowa State College at the time of the Club Congress.

I was a Hardin County Farm Bureau Women's committee woman for a while, and also chair of Hardin County Federated Women's Club two years and Hardin County Republican Women's Club for two years.

While my husband, Paul M. Walter, was in the Iowa House of Representatives for 16 years (never defeated), I belonged to the Legislative Ladies League and held three different offices. Ladies of the Legislative League were privileged to go to any of the adult classes in Des Moines and I attended different classes.

My husband and I were active in the Chester Friends Church for many years. Paul was Superintendent many years, and we both taught Sunday school classes. I was on the Ministry and Counsel and served on various committees. We both served on our local school board many years.

I'm writing a family book and also finished our line of Hadley's that go back to Charlemagne, king of the Franks and Emperor of the Romans.

Paul and I became rock hounds (or at least Pebble Pups) in 1957 and traveled in many states, British Columbia, and lots of the Canadian Provinces including Nova Scotia. After hunting rocks, we purchased the equipment and cut and polished mostly semi-precious ones. We made jewelry, and after taking a college course, I became a Silversmith. Paul would cut and polish the stones and I would make the silver mountings for many of them, such as rings, bracelets, and bola ties. We even made many tables with slabs of rocks in resin.

We have been to Cuba, Hawaii, Alaska, and every state in the United States, except Paul who hasn’t been to West Virginia.

The most enjoyable thing that Paul and I have done is take all eitght of our grandchildren on a trip for about a month, usually when they were thirteen. Three times we took two at a time, and twice it was single girls. Then we would send them home on  a jet for their first jet rides.

I have their trips written in My Family Book (to be published someday), which includes stories of their trips with us, and letters they sent back to their parents. There were trips to many National Parks, Seattle World’s Fair, and to the Pacific Ocean.

Now wer are at the Ember’s Retirement Center in Marshalltown. It is a lovely place to live with good folks and lots of activity. I helped organize a “Don’t Come Crabby Club.” We do various activities and crafts. Also we have a kitchen band, and I tell them I help keep it tuned up.

One more thing, I am 88, my brother Clark is 95 years old, his wife Gladys 96, Paul 90, and my brother, Luther is 87 years old. We are all living here in Embers, and we really do like it this way. We can help each other and usually sit at the same table with a few other friends.

-Mary Brindle Walter

Submitted on 12/14/94