Name: Nelda Florine WAGNER
Given Name: Nelda Florine
Change Date: 14 APR 2008
Birth: 21 MAY 1921 in Metamora, Woodford, Illinois 1
Death: 10 APR 2008 in Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona 1
My Life Story
My name is Nelda Florine (Wagner) Farrar Poindexter. I've never felt that my last name was of much importance. I've always been just "Nelda" personality and character wise. To quote Shakespeare "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." I have a very good self identity -- can look back and see my good points and my bad. I can definitely laugh at myself and do not have a delicate ego. I'm very much a Gemini -- Twin personality -- which is difficult to handle at times. I like variety and am doing several things at once -- flitting around like a butterfly. I do wish I were more placid and patient. Everything must be done yesterday. I can get very frustrated because of this.
I was born May 21, 1921 on a farm in Woodford County, Illinois. The farm belonged to David Wagner, my grandfather, who was quite wealthy and owned several farms. My dad was told that it would be his some day, so he built a huge white house with a porch all around it. However, grandpa Wagner was offered a good price for it after Dad and Mom had fixed it all up and sold it out from under them.
I can remember Roger's birth there. We three older children were all sent to the basement and the doctor arrived with his little black bag. After Roger was born, I can remember taking care of him and mothering him. Ardith was a rather wild, rebellious child. I recall her climbing to the top of this huge windmill and my folks having a difficult time getting her down. She was quite adventurous and was always in some kind of trouble. I was more reserved and probably lacked the nerve to do anything "far out." Right was right, and wrong was wrong with me. I can remember being Roscoe's slave. I'd push him in the wagon for hours in payment for a lifesaver candy. How I've changed!
Roscoe did some original things such as putting eggs under a cat and was most disturbed that the cat wouldn't sit on them so the eggs would hatch. I walked to a one room country school in the first grade. One day it was foggy and I decided to take a short cut through a corn field. Of course I got lost and ended up at a neighbor's house. I was so afraid the gypsies would get me (my parents frightened us by telling us the gypsies would get us if we misbehaved). There were so called gypsies who camped along the country roads as they roamed about. I'd seen them.
After the farm was sold, Dad and Mom sold all our possessions and we packed our necessary possessions in a covered truck. We then traveled through the south on to Nevada where my Aunt Lillian lived on a big ranch. My uncle was foreman of the U.C. Ranches -- a chain of ranches. We visited them awhile and came on up to Twin falls, Idaho. Dad and Mom bought a place on Elm Street where we lived for several years until Mom had heart problems and the doctor advised her to go to a lower altitude.
We went to Council Bluff's, Iowa. We went to school there. I can remember we four kids packing a lunch and walking for miles across railroad tracks to a big park. Roger was just a toddler (but I took care of him). I sometimes think my mother must have been out of her mind to allow us to do this, but things were different then.
We had a Jewish neighbor who owned a store on the corner near us and they were not supposed to work on certain religious days, so they'd have me come over and turn their stove on and off and cook for them. Then there was this old man, Mr. Musser, who lived in our neighborhood. He had a pet chicken that he took everywhere. He brought it in our kitchen and it messed on the floor. Mom didn't permit him in the house after that. He seemed to take a liking to me and was always giving me quarters. I was too young to understand his motives at the time, but Mom forbid me to go near him.
We came back to Twin Falls when I was in the 5th grade at Washington School. I was always a good student and was well behaved (the teacher's loved me). That old German discipline really kept me in check (too much so). I finally outgrew the nice reserved child business, but it took years. I still won't do anything too wrong. My conscience won't let me and talk about "guilt" -- not good -- it can stifle a person.
We moved back to our old place on Elm Street when we came back to Twin Falls. Somehow the neighbors who rented the place next door to us didn't get along with us and I can remember Dad having a fist fight with the man. Dad went down and bought the place and evicted them. The place was then vacant and the folks just stored things there. In later years Roger bought the place (or maybe the folks gave it to him) tore the house down, and he and Donna built their first home there. I recall in High School if we came home too late at night (Ardith and I that is) Mom would lock us out and we'd go over to the place and sleep there till morning. Talk about tough discipline. I do hope I was more lenient and kinder to my boys.
I graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1940. There were 250 students in my class and I was valedictorian. I started to go with Jack Farrar in my senior year of High School. He then went to Moscow and I went to Albion. I had two of the most carefree years of my life while there. I dated a different boy every week. The drama teacher (a man) gave me the lead in the school plays and I didn't know a thing about acting -- just looked good. I guess Dad, Ardith, and Roger would come up to see me in the plays, but not Mom. He (the drama teacher) was also my English teacher and I can actually remember him asking me for answers about English which he didn't know (some teacher). I did have a very good English background from Twin Falls High School -- my best subject which isn't obvious now.
After graduating from Albion State Normal the war was going full blast. Jack and I got married July 23, 1942 in Ely, Nevada on our way to Burbank, California where Jack had a job at Lockheed building airplanes. We lived there about a year when his folks, who were getting old, talked us into coming back to Idaho and farming. I taught school at a small country school. I taught the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades. I saved every cent I earned for a down payment on a home in Twin Falls. I did not like farming.
Jack got a job as an announcer at KTFI and really took off in that field. He was very good at ad libbing and interviewing. Also a good disc jockey. The Kilacycle Klambake was well known all over the valley. The name bands -- Glenn Miller, Russ Morgan, Guy Lombardo, etc. would come to the Radio Rendezvous Ball Room and Jack would put them on national NBC radio. The band leader would put a big gold star on the wall with his name under it. I would always attend -- dance all I could -- and was coat check girl (some good tips). Florence Gardener, the owner of KTFI, let me do this so I could have something to do while Jack was emceeing.
Finally decided to have a child -- wanted a spring baby as I read a child did best born in spring. Johnny was born April 14, 1949. Big fuss over the radio at his birth. Jack was a dedicated community worker -- into everything. Always emceeing banquets, etc. and giving speeches -- go, go, go. I kept the home fire burning -- took care of the yard, everything.
In 1960 we went to Harrison Hot Springs -- a resort in Canada for the Airport Managers Convention. Jack was now Airport Manager but still did some radio announcing. While at Harrison Hot Springs this little Italian hairdresser (did Marie Callus's hair) came into a Brandy and Coffee party the ladies were having and picked me out of all to do my hair for a demonstration. I was sitting with the Boise Airport manager's wife and she convinced me to do it. Boy did he whack my hair up, but I came out looking pretty good. If a piece of hair stuck out where he didn't like it, he just cut it off. Then at the style show I had to model it. Did I fake it -- never modeled in my life. People came up later and asked me if I were a model. I said, "No. I just tried to act like models I'd seen on T.V." So I got through that all right. I have a picture they gave me of the Hair Do.
When Johnny was about 8 years old, I decided I wanted another child. As before I thought spring was the best time, so Jimmy was born March 2, 1957. He too made a big splash on KTFI. His dad was so proud and kept mentioning it all day on the air. Johnny was so pleased to have a baby brother and told everyone at school. Jim was a very good baby -- cried very little in comparison to Johnny. I think it was because I was more relaxed and knew more what I was doing after having had experience in this line of work.
I had a serious ear infection when Jim was about a month old which really undid me. My nerves were shot with my illness and no help of any kind. (Jack was gone all the time and of no help with the children or the home). But I survived. Really toughened me up to get through Jack's death when Jim was three years old and John 11. We were at the Turf Club at an Aero Space Banquet. Jack was emcee. After the main speaker finished Jack got up to say a few words and collapsed. I seemed to know instinctively it was a heart attack and phoned my mother to go over to our house as I knew John would be watching T.V. and it would be blasted all over it.
An ambulance was called and Jack was taken to hospital. I followed with Jim Munn (now sheriff) in his car. I can remember the car door on my side kept falling open. Jack was dead on arrival. I wanted to go in and see him, but the doctor wouldn't let me as he said it was not a pretty sight. I called Mom and told her of Jack's death. Roger came out to hospital and took me to some friends house where Dr. Hoss met me (my doctor at the time). He wanted me to have a shot of whiskey but I said "no" so he drank it. Then he took me to his office and talked to me and gave me four sleeping pills.
I didn't sleep a wink that night. Mom, John, and I slept together in our King bed that first night which was a nightmare. Of course Jim wasn't told until morning. All he could say for days was "Why can't I have my daddy." Broke my heart. John was very stoic and spent time shooting basket in front of the house.
The next day the house was filled with flowers and visitors, food, etc. Then the trauma of the funeral arrangements and the funeral. Hope I never go through an ordeal like that again. So I have instructions -- no funeral for me -- just cremation. Easier for all concerned. This happened January 20, 1961. President Kennedy was inaugurated that day. The funeral was at the Methodist Church and it would not accommodate all the people. One of the largest funerals in Twin Falls as he was very well known and liked.
He was a very remarkable man and a good person. I often thought of the phrase, "Only the good die young." Jack and I had a very good relationship and would talk for hours. He was an avid reader, played accordion well (on radio when he was a small child). He would take different courses and study far into the night instead of sleeping and getting his rest. He was a smoker. He couldn't say no to speeches people asked for or Master of Ceremonies. Jim has a lot of his qualities.
I joined a singles dance group to get on with my life. Met Flora Larson who had lost her husband with a heart attack too. We became very good friends. One night on the way home from the singles dance Florence and I stopped at the Turf Club to have a drink and look the situation over. Paul was sitting across the bar from us and the next thing we know he was sitting next to us. Introduced himself (Flora already knew him) and then proceeded to zero in on me. Bartender -- Bob Latham now has Latham Motor Co. was zeroed in on me too -- kept filling my martini glass so I began to think I hadn't drunk any of it. Anyway, Paul and I danced the night away. The bartender sat in a chair and napped and Bob kept our glasses full. The bar closed at 1:00 and the band went home. Chairs were on top of the tables so we danced with the jukebox until 4:00 am and then went to eat. Would kill me off now.
Paul was a very good dancer, which I liked. So from then on he was in hot pursuit of me. Asked me to marry him after a few dates and I told him I didn't even know him. Mom was completely against my marrying again -- anyone that is. I think she was very instrumental in my marrying Paul with her negative attitude. When someone forbids me to do something that's exactly what I'll do. I don't think anyone of age likes to be told what they can and can't do. So we went to Nevada June 22, 1962 and got married. Went to Reno and Lake Tahoe for a one week honeymoon. John and Jim were left with an older woman baby sitter.
Mom refused to meet Paul, so I had no contact with her for 10 years. John came home from college and was going out to visit Mom and Dad (after 10 years) and talked me into going with him. So we patched things up. Typical Wagner procedure.
Paul was Bardahl Distributor for several states when we first married -- traveled a lot. After several years he bought into Itex with Karl Wilson and sold office equipment until Karl died. In the meantime we had fun buying up rental income property so we had a good income from that. We then bought the Snack Bar in Lynwood and ran that for several years.
During all this time we took nice vacations with John and Jim and saw a lot of interesting places. Paul and I took Ballroom dance lessons and became quite good at it. Every Saturday night we were out practicing and the best looking couple on the floor -- so some people said. Ha. We did enjoy it.
In 1981 we bought a mobile home in Wickenburg and spent our winters there. We bought a large commercial building there also. In 1987 we bought a townhouse and fixed it up. We lived in it a couple of years, and sold it in 1990. Also sold the building and made a good profit and decided to live in Twin Falls year round.
Father: Elmer Joseph WAGNER b: 3 JUL 1897 in Roanoke, Woodford, Illinois
Mother: Martha Luella HINCK b: 22 SEP 1897 in Metamora, Woodford, Illinois
John Franklin FARRAR b: 10 DEC 1922 in Twin Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho
23 JUL 1943
in Ely, Nevada 1
- James Frederick FARRAR b: 2 MAR 1957 in Twin Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho
Paul Edward Poindexter b: 10 AUG 1928 in Rupert, Idaho
- Abbrev: Kate McCarter
Title: Kate McCarter of Portland, Oregon