December 27, 2015, Fleta Allen Powell Merk, would be 98 years old. Below, I am sharing her life in pictures. Her husband loved photography and we are blessed with the images today.
And below at the pond with the cows: l to r: Daddy, Thelma, Truman, Fleta, Winnie, Floyd and Grandma.
From the words of her daughter:
The S of O Years
Grandpa had done a lot of research about where his children would get the best education during these very tough times and he found School of the Ozarks. It is still located in Hollister Missouri, but now is a 4 year college.
Thelma was the first to go and truly excelled, to this day her name is still on the Honor Roll Fountain. Then came Willis, followed shortly there after by my Mom. She said that following in her siblings footsteps was difficult because they both had made a reputation at the school.
S of O always held a very special place in my parents hearts for that is where they met. They both say that that S of O saved their lives.
Mom found out that she was really a good basketball player and volleyball player. By making the teams, it gave her opportunities to travel to other schools. Daddy caught her eye very early on and since S of O was a working High School, she volunteered early on to iron Daddy's shirts. Daddy came from a very dysfunctional family (Grandma divorced several times), but she always found ways for him have nice clothes. Mom said she always spent extra time working on his shirts.
At S of O they lived through years of the Depression and Mom always talked about how cold they were when they worked hours in the canning factory canning tomatoes. Daddy always worked on the school newspaper and worked the printing press for the yearbook. All four years they flirted with one another, but were always dating other people - they were really good friends.
Winn had to wait until there was an opening at S of O for another Powell - they had rules about how many siblings could be there at the same time. I think Aunt Winnie and Mom were only there one or two years together.
Mom and Dad both graduated in 1936 and Dad went to St.Louis to work and Mom went up to Michigan to work as a Nanny for a family....how they got together is another story at another time. But for now~ know that their ashes are scattered atop Inspiration Point at S of O in Hollister MO, the place where this beautiful love began. W. J. S.
Story told by her daughter:
The courtship after S of O
I've heard the story, but now some of it is fuzzy. It seems that after graduation Dad went to St.Louis to work for Mono-coupe and was engaged to someone named Jane. I think Grandma Merk broke up the relationship. Well, anyway Dad got Mom's address where she was working in Michigan and wrote that he would like for her to come down to St.Louis.
She scraped up bus fair and went to St.Louis and met Dad and then they drove down to meet Grandma and Grandpa. The courtship was short because it was obvious to both of them that they really had been in love for a long time. They were married in Harrison Arkansas by a Justice of the Peace on May 27, 1938. They said the lady that was their witness gave them a scouring pad and told them that they were now going to have to "scatch for it". That was the only wedding present that they received.
They moved to St.Louis and lived with Grandma Merk (not a good situation). The first time Grandpa Powell met her he said, "Flete you better watch out for that old gal - she is a mean one!" Truer words were never spoken!
They lived in St.Louis until the summer of 1939 and then they moved with Monocoupe down to Orlando Florida - another story later. W. J. S.
Here is what I found about Monocoupe:
Monocoupe Aircraft is a term that refers to a line of small light airplanes, and the various companies that produced them (late 1920s to the late 1990s, intermittently).
In the late 1920s, Monocoupes were famous for introducing relatively inexpensive, compact, affordable, convenient, sporty, speedy and efficient flying to the light plane market. In an era of large, expensive, open-cockpit biplanes, the Monocoupe was the first popular, compact, enclosed-cabin, two-seat, light plane in the United States.
Light and clean, by comparison to other aircraft of the time, and affordable to own, the Monocoupe soon became popular for racing, and was soon one the most successful brand of airplanes in America's popular air races of the 1920s and 1930s.
Throughout the 1930s, and into the 1950s, the Monocoupes evolved through a series of increasingly powerful models, and remained popular. The design was briefly revived and produced in the 1990s by Aviat Aircraft.
Fleta's life changed after her only child was born in 1942. Below, baby Winnie, with two cousins visiting Grandparents on Sunny Lane Road. Fleta's daughter did not venture into the dishpan full of naked cousins!