I was born in Portsmouth, Ohio on January 15, 1931, during the Depression years. My mom and dad, Ruth Isabel Thrickmorton and Walter Leroy Arnold, were living with my dad's grandparents, Minnie Burkhart and Adolph Arnold, at 814 Eighth Stree, Portsmouth, Ohio. My great-grandparents had built the house in approximately 1892. A small cottage had originally occupied the site but it was torn down and the present two-story home built. My father's dad, Walter, who was Minnie and Akolph's only son, left for Colorado after his wife, Maude, and infant son died. He only returned one time, and I don't remember ever seeing him. My mother and father in later years, when I was living in Arizona, visited him and his wife in Colorado.
I was born in the downstairs bedroom at 814 Eighth Street, as was my one borther, David Leroy, and my sister, Joyce Lee. (side note by Cherie Tyler Tait- my grandmother told me that Joyce was born in the upstairs front bedroom.) My brother, Roger Phillip, was born in a hospital because of some problems that developed.
My mother has told me that I walked at a very young age, well before my first birthday. And I was very tiny and would walk up and down the stairs as well as anyone. When my mom was pregnant with my sister Joyce, she fell down the stairs with me, but fortunately, no one was hurt.
My Uncle Mack (Miles Winston Throckmorton, Jr.) tells me that he used to take for walks when I was a baby. And he was one of the first people to see me after I was born. He was twelve years old at the time.
I had a very happy childhood. We had wonderful Christmases, as it was my father's favorite time of year. On Christmas Eve, for many years, we would go to bed and wake the next morning and creep down the stairs and there was the tree and all the presents that Santa had brought during the night. That was a traditional thing for our family for many years. And it still brings wonderful memories to me today. We always had wonderful presents: bicycles, doll babies, etc. You name it, we had it. I don't ever remember wanting for anything that I couldn't or didn't have.
My sister and I shared a bedroom together and we had some crazy times. One time I sprinkled cologne (the cheap kind) all over my pillow, thinking that would make me like a movie star probably. I was sick at my stomach all night. I never did that again. We used to stand up on our beds at midnight when the radio played the Star Spangled Banner, and laugh our heads off. I loved to play with paperdolls, Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable, to name a couple.
I loved movies. I would go to the theater every chance I got. I can still remember marching down the alley between Gay and Chillicothe Streets, on my way to the movie. I usually went alone. We had double features then. It only cots a dime to go to the show. There were many musicals at the time and I loved them the most. That is, until I got turned on by the MONSTER MOVIES! I can remember seeing my first Wolfman movie at the Garden Theater on Chillicothe Street, just around the corner from my home. When Lon Chaney Jr. Started turning into the wolfman, I ran up the aisle and all the way home. Then came Frankenstein. By that time I could stay all the way through the scary movies and not have to run home. Although I do remember having nightmares as a child. (I wonder why?) I regularly would see somlocated now. eone standing by my bed when I would wake up in the middle of the night. I'd just cover up my head.
My dad had this book, and my mom told me not to read it. But I did anyway. It was about this gir, and about "a hand" that was roaming around the house. In the book was a picture of the girl in bed and the hand coming out from under the bed. Naturally, I never forgot that. I still, to this day, do not ... I repeat, I do not sleep with my ad hanging over the bed. Because I had a dream when I was young that a hand pulled me under the bed. Oh boy!
And my name definitely was not Grace. I could never stand on my two feet for very long. Every School picture is an example of my agility, skinned up knees. And to add insult to injury, I had this wart (what an ugly word) right on my knee. And of course, it was always bleeding. I finally had the wart surgically removed.
I went to school at Scudder and at Massie where the City Health Department is located now. I had my one and only hair pulling fight with a girl at Massie School. That's where I met my first boyfriend. Johnny Grooms. He's now a retired policeman and still lives in Portsmouth. He was my first date. He invited me to go to a movie. I went, of course, but not without reinforcements. I took my girlfriend with me, too. So the three of us had a date. Johnny gave me my first kiss. We were in my backyeard and he said, "I bet I can kiss you without touching you." (Can you believe I fell for that?)
I lived in Portsmouth all of my school years, except when we lived in Gallipolis for a brief time. I remember living close to the swimming pool there, and remember a boy stopping by my house to walk me to school. Also I remember swinging a child on our swin, and dropping "it" on the porch. It scared me to death, I guess. I never forgot about it. We would eat cocoa and toast for breakfast. It's still a favorite of mine. We also lived in Huntington, West Virginia, for a very short time. I don't remember anything about that.
When I was possibly about thirteen my Dad brought a new bicycle home for us to share as brother and sisters. There was a big argument about who would ride the bicycle first. Guess who won? Me of course, because I was the oldest, and therefore, I should get to ride it first. I rode to the corner of the next block (on the side walk) and on the way back (with everyone out in front of my house watching me) as I proceeded to cross the alley a car came out and I ran into the side of the car; bent the wheel up, and nobody else to ride it that day. They never let me live that down.
I must tell you about the "Valentine Man". When we were growing up my Uncle Mack would be the Valentine Man. After dark (he would run from the front door to the back door, leaving valentines for us all, and knocking on doors and running and hiding. It was a big time for us all. We loved it. (side note from Cherie- Mom continued to do the Valentine Man when we were growing up. She would leave valentines by the door, knock, and run. We were so excited when the Valentine Man came.)
I had a lot of fun at Portsmouth High School. My grandfather, my father, my children, and my grandchildren have all gone to Portsmouth High School. I was a drum majorette. It was a lot of fun. I only had on half-way serious relationship with a boy in high school. Goeroge Obrist. One night when we had gone to the county fair and returned, the police nabbed us and questioned us both. It seems his father, who was a doctor, had been found murdered. And they suspected his son, George. He never was charged, and they never found the murderer either. I saw Goerge one more time since then. At a flea market out of town. He was with his wife. He had quite a life of his own. He went out to Utah and committed several bank robberies and spend quite a few years in prison. He also joined the Mormon Church. I've lost tracl of him now.
When I was a senior in high school I came down with diptheria. I was the only person in the City of Portsmouth who had it. All my friends at school had to be vaccinated so they wouldn't get it. My siblings had to move out of the house. My mom was the only one that stayed there with me. I had terrible nightmares, due to the high fever. I can still remember them. My mom was trying to kill me with a knife. I recovered just in time to graduate with my class. Then I took my finals. It's a good thing I was a good student or they wouldn't have let me do that. My dad told me that I got it because I always had my fingers in my mouth. Maybe he's right.
Not long after high school, I began working at a photography studio. I was a receptionist and tinted photos that my boss took. He was out at the steel mill in New Boston taking photos one day and happened onto two Mormon missionaries touring the facility. He took their picture and told them they could have a free picture if they wanted one by coming by the studio. That's how I met Vernon Leo Tyler, which I would venture to say was a turning point in my life. He was twenty-five and I was seventeen. (almost eighteen) It was December 7, 1948, and since I wouldn't wait for him for two years, we eloped to Greenup, Kentucky where I lied about my age, and we were married by a justice of the peace. We rode by bus all the way to Mesa, Arizona, where his sister Eloise Cluff and his borhter Carl (Toy) lived. We moved to California and stayed with another brother (Joe) for awhile, and then found a room with a nice little old lady, Mrs. Kessler. I used to watch wrestling matches with her on her T.V. "Gorgeous George" and the "Black Panther". I think I cried every night for months because I was so homesick. I worked for Bank of America and rode the bus to work. I got pregnant in California and had a miscarriage. That's when I decided I wanted my mommy, and we moved back to Ohio.
We lived in Cincinnati for a while. I worked for a lawyer, and Vernon went to school to be a mortician. After visiting a morgue (and I was with him) he decided that it wasn't for him. We were poor. I remember taking my lunch of soda crackers to work and eating them in the stall of the restroom so no one would see me. This is where I was baptized into the Mormon church. From the first time I heard about what they believed, it was as if it was something that I had always waited for. Then we moved to Portsmouth and Vernon worked for an insurance company. That's where my first little baby girl, Cherie Jean, was born, on November 25, 2950. She was born during a huge blizzard that paralyzed the city. The doctore had to walk home from the hospital because there was so much snow. I was stuck in the hospital for a week. Of course, in those days they kept you in the hospital a week anyway after you had a baby. I wanted to name her Gail (because of the blizzard, and because the doctor thought it that would be a good name for her, too) but her daddy won and we named her Cherie. (I have since found out that it was an old girlfriend's name, but I didn't know it at the time.) (side not from Cherie - according to my father she was not an old girlfriend, she was a girl he knew, but never even dated, but he admired her name and the way it was spelled.) We lived in a second floor apartment on Scioto Trail. I spend a lot of time at my Aunt Naomi's house on Glover Street when Cherie was a little baby. The only time I have ever seen my aunt angry was when I accidentally flushed a dirty diaper down the toilet and it flooded the bathroom. (Uh Oh!)
We moved to Akron, Ohio and that's where my second darling daughter, Gail Ann, was born on December 29, 1952. Her daddy was Branch President of the Akron Branch at the time. He worked at Goodyear Tire Company. I got the "baby blues" after Gail was born, and cried every day that I was in the hospital. They wouldn't let anyone in to see you except the fathers. When I left the hospital I cried all the way to the car in the wheelchair, and all the way home. I called my mom and said get up here and take care of me. And she did. We lived in a second floor apartment and later lived in a house in Westerville, Ohio. It was quite a change going from one child to two. But it didn't take me too long to adjust. Chere was very jealous of Gail, and we had to watch her like a hawk. I think she wanted to do her in. We met many friends there in Akron. A couple I still send Christmas cards to Helen and John Hight and Waye and Jean Bush.
We made a big move next - all the way to Mesa, Arizona. I remember driving with Vern's dad and it took us forever to get across the state of Texas.
My next baby was born in August, 1956, a "blue baby" Cynthia Ruth Tyler. She only lived three months. She had dimples and the longest eyelashes. She only weighed five pounds when she was born. She died in California. We went there to the Children's Hospital to see if there was something medical that could be done to help her. She was buried there. When we returned home the neighbors had moved the baby's crib and things out, so it wouldn't be so hard on us.
I got pregnanat right away, because I was afraid that if I waited I would lose my courage to have another baby. That's when my first little boy, Daniel Arnold Tyler, was born on August 9, 1957. I always had thought boys were "rotten" but he changed my mind right off the bat. I didn't know a little boy could be so sweet. Then two years later my darling David Paul Tyler was born on October 3, 1959.