As we begin this part of the story, Beulah and John are still in their family home. Their children are off with their own families. Betty Ruth and Ross Banks with their children had moved to Seattle where Ross had been transferred. Scotty and Frances Fry lived with their family in Phoenix. And John Richard Fry Jr. with his family lived somewhere back east.
A couple of things I remember about the mining town was that a loud whistle blew every day at 12 noon, and the loud blasts of a two toned sound that everyone could hear for miles announcing a problem down in the mine that was serious. Everyone was used to the noon one every day. But when that other blast, similar to a tornado warning was heard, it meant trouble under ground. Emergency vehicles, cars, and people running up the hill to the mine began at once because almost everyone in the town had someone working in the mine. This was just part of life in a mining town.
One morning, Uncle John did not show up for work. He was always punctual so his co-workers got worried. They phoned the house, but no one answered. So a couple of people drove to the Fry home. They found Uncle John dead on the bathroom floor and Aunt Beulah unconscious in bed. They got her to the hospital in time to keep her alive, but nothing could be done for her husband. It seemed that the day before, a new heating unit was installed in their home by a local company. The service people did something wrong and I don’t remember if it was gas or Carbon Monoxide that leaked and took one life and ruined another. Aunt Beulah had some kind of brain damage and would never be normal again and would need care.
After John’s funeral, Betty Ruth took her Mom to Seattle to live with them. Betty could watch out for her Mom and her meds and be sure things went well for her. And Aunt Beulah was able to help with Nancy, Betty’s brain damaged child. (Measles) Aunt Beulah could dress and undress Nancy, and play with her and help Betty some in the kitchen. So it was mutually good for all concerned with the two problems.
I forgot to mention in the first part of this story, that Betty Ruth had a beautiful trained voice. She had sung at Jim’s and my wedding years earlier, when she still lived in San Diego. She also sung at wedding, funerals and in churches.
John Jr. was a national figure who was called before congress over a situation with the Black Panthers in Chicago The story I wrote about his life when he died is on this blog if you want to read about your notorious cousin.
John Jr. also did movie reviews for a church magazine called “Presbyterian Life”. He was very popular for these. One time Otto Preminger said that John was the best movie reviewer out there but he hated his guts, because he was usually right. We got a laugh out of that. He also wrote two or three books on theology that were published. When we got together at a General Assembly Meeting of the Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, Iowa, one year, he signed my copy of one of them.
This is as much as I plan to tell about these relatives. I have to admit I cared about all of this family as I do about most of you. Family is special and friends are special and both have a huge part of our hearts.