Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas Archibald, 1907-1997, and Wallace Archibald, 1896-1970

This is the grave marker for my maternal grandmother and step-grandfather, "Nani" and "Po-po". They are buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Houston, Texas, which is near the intersection of Interstate 10 West and Loop 610 in Houston, not far from the neighborhood where my family lived from 1959 into 1964.

Sara Melzina Wolfe is the daughter of Louis Henry Wolfe and Addilee Shelton Wolfe Harris. There is some confusion as to whether or not my grandmother was born in 1907 or 1908. I believe my grandmother thought it was 1907 (she had that part of her gravestone pre-engraved), but apparently some documents indicate it was 1908. Her first name came from her maternal grandmother, Sarah Ann Spikes Shelton, and her middle name came from her paternal grandmother, Margaret Melzina "Maggie" Carroll Wolfe.

Nani worked for the US Postal Service (then called the Post Office) for many years. She arranged for my class to have a field trip at the downtown Houston post office when I was in elementary school. After retiring, she was very active in NARFE, the National Association of Retired Federal Employees. She lived in Houston from at least 1920 until her death. I remember spending many nights at hers and Po-po's house on Bay Oaks, and later at the houses she shared with her sister, my great aunt Edith Elizabeth Wolfe Smith Murff Brown Gould Knox, and finally her condo just a couple miles from our house in Sharpstown.

Nani had a hard childhood and raised her family during the Depression, so she was very frugal. However, she was very generous with her five grandchildren, and I was able to pay my own way through college with the help of the many contributions she made to my college fund. She also contributed to my son's college fund, and helped me financially and emotionally through my difficult divorce from my son's father.

There is more about her life, but I'll save that for future posts. I will have to write more about my step-grandfather in the future too, because I don't know that much about his family. He took numerous home movies when my siblings and I were children. They've all been transferred to videotape (and need to be moved to a digital format), and I still have all of his 16mm rolls of movie film.

© Amanda Pape - 2010

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