My mother wrote a short story about the day she was born and I will begin with that.

“I was born February 5, 1918. During a blizzard. I’ve heard many times abut daddy going out the upstairs window and over the porch roof to “fetch” the doctor. When the doctor drove his buggy into a snowdrift he had to walk the last mile on foot. Arriving at our home he had to climb up over the porch roof and the upstairs window. 1918 was the year of a big “flue” epidemic. With a new baby and a young son, mother did very little visiting throughout the spring and summer months. Our family was fortunate and none was stricken with the illness that killed many during that winter.”

Thora Bufington (my mom) was born in Jackson County, Ohio. She was the second child of Frank and Orella and the only girl they would have. Her brother, Thomas Lamar was born in 1916. Her father , Frank was a coal miner as were all generations in his family before him as far as I know.

Before the 1920 census, the family moved to Indiana. The coal mines in Ohio needed less workers so the family traveled by horse and a flat-bed wagon to Indiana where there was more work for Frnk in the coal mines.

The family moved back to Ohio before 1927. This was the year that Orella Whetsel Buffington died. Thora was only nine years old when her mother died. Thomas was eleven and the youngest child (Frank Junior) who was five years old.  Mom said she tried to take charge of the house without much success. She was not a cook, but she said her dad never complained.

In 1930, when Thora was twelve years old, her father married Jewell Nelson. Jewell had a young son at the time of the marriage and the couple would have three more children together.

While still a young girl, Thora would leave home to live with other families. She cleaned their homes to earn her keep and pay for school books. She graduated from high school in 1936. That was an achievement considering the circumstances of her life at the time. She had a brief marriage from August 1937 to August 1938. The divorce decree states that her husband did not support or live with her after October 1937.

October 7, 1939 was the date of the marriage between James Alfred Gatwood and Thora Lynn Buffington (Mom and Dad).

I remember Mom did some volunteer work at the recreation center located on the grounds where we lived. She would do the art work in the local paper/newsletter. One thing I recall was she drew paper dolls with clothes to color and cut-out. At the back of each issue of the paper/newsletter there was always something for the kids to color and these were creations of Thora Gatwood. This lead to a permanent position and she worked for the Columbus Recreation Department to some degree untill she died at eighty years old.

Thora was 5 foot, 2 inches tall; she had blue eyes and brown hair. As an older woman, she had snowy white hair. She had a million-dollar smile which included the biggest dimples you can imagine.

Thora Buffington Gatwood died at Mt Carmet Hospital in Columbus, Ohio on October 7, 1998, exactly 59 years to the day that my parents were married.












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