Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Lola Mae Yeakley - Aunt Lola

"L" was taken for Uncle Lee. We always used her middle name with the first name so technically, I can use the "M" for her.

Lola Mae Yeakley, the youngest child of Ernest Marvin Yeakley and Nancy Ellen Jones.
Wichita Falls High School

Her timeline on Ancestry.com reads like this:

1926  Wichita Falls, Wichita, Texas United States
11 Apr

1930  Residence
Age 4  Wichita Falls, Wichita, Texas

1940  Residence
1 Apr   Wichita Falls, Wichita, Texas

1942  Residence
Age 16  Wichita Falls, Texas

1993  Residence
Age 67  Renton, WA

2009  Death
16 Dec  Renton, King, Washington
Age 83

This is what we run into when we start tracking our ancestors. Facts are OK but there was a whole life lived between the sources. Aunt Lola was more than just a list of sources for me. She was a very real person who fell in love, married, had children, and lived life on her own terms. 

Lola Mae was 20 years younger than her oldest brother. There were 6 other children between them and Ellen, my grandmother, was 39 when she was born. She was the baby of the family and was treated as such. She was four when my grandparents had their first grandchildren. Because of the age differences, by the time I was born, most of my cousins had children my age. It was no different for Aunt Lola. Her playmates were her cousins and not her brothers and sisters. 

Ellen died in 1938 when Lola Mae was 12. It was difficult for the family but at that point, the only children at home were Lola May, Gene and my mom, Ruby. My mom was 20 at the time and a college student. 

This was a photo taken at the time of Ellen's death. It is all the kids and my grandfather. Back row: Noel, Don, Marvin (my grandfather), Jay Dee, and Lee. In the front, Eugene, Ruby (my mom), Ruth, and Lola Mae. 

It was decided that Lola Mae would accompany my mother to Denton, Texas and live with her. My mom went to college and Lola Mae attended school the local elementary school. I have several letters my mom wrote to her siblings about how hard it was at times but how much fun the two of them had. Any activities my mother attended, so did Lola Mae. Gene stayed home. He was 15 and attended high school, old enough to fend for himself until his dad got home from work. 

I have to stop here and explain why Aunt Lola's name changes from sentence to sentence. Her siblings never called her anything but Lola Mae. The nieces and nephews called her Aunt Lola so in this narrative, I find it hard to write and call her Lola Mae. To me she will always be Aunt Lola. 

Lola Mae and Ruby moved back home when my mom graduated. Lola Mae finished high school in Wichita Falls. When Lola Mae was 17, she met John Gerald Curtindale. She must have met him at the USO, the same church where my mom met my dad. My mother was not fond of John Gerald Curtindale and didn't want Lola Mae to marry him but Aunt Lola always did what she wanted. For the 50 some years Uncle Johnny and Aunt Lola were married, my mother was always there for them. While I think she never got over the fact that Aunt Lola married him, he was accepted as part of the family. 

Uncle Johnny could be charming but he was not always the nicest of persons. However, Aunt Lola was no fool and they had an interesting life together. 

Johnny was an entrepreneur. I remember when he had a gas station in West Seattle. He always had some invention or business that he was working on. I remember the worm farm on the side of the house. I thought it was gross but he did explain how beneficial the worms were. 

They lived in West Seattle for many years. From the balcony off the back door, you could see the Space Needle and downtown Seattle across the Puget Sound. The home also had a basement where we would stay when we visited. It wasn't exactly finished but did have bedrooms and a bathroom. There was a very large (and I do mean large) holly bush in the front yard. We learned early it was prickly and you didn't want to hide in it. Aunt Lola worked a Boeing for more than 30 years and was often the sole support of the family. She liked her job and it kept her busy. She was also a Weight Watcher Lifetime Member and remained trim for most of her life. She attended church on a regular basis.   

Uncle Johnny and Aunt Lola had two children. We spent a lot of time as children together. They would come to California or we would go to Washington. I still am in touch with my cousin Paul and we are grateful for the relationship. His younger brother Jerry passed away recently. 
My mom holding me, Paul standing in front and Lola Mae holding Jerry. 

John Gerald Curtindale passed away on October 4, 1996 at the age of 79. Aunt Lola outlived him 13 years passing away on December 16, 2009. I can still hear her voice and laugh and I miss her. 


  1. "Life lived between the sources" -- that would make a great title for your memoirs! I enjoyed this story very much. My mother-in-law had children over 20 years, so there's a big generation gap in the grandchildren. My kids are closer in age to their cousin's children than to their own cousins.
    Wendy at Jollett Etc.

  2. This is such a heart-felt story about your Aunt Lola Mae. The pictures are so touching - Your Aunt Lola must have been a very happy woman, by the looks of them. Thanks, Ann. This was really enjoyable to read.


  3. 20 year age difference is a lot but was common back then. My grandfather was one of 13 kids.

    Following from Blogging AtoZ.
    I'm writing "Things My Husband Has Broken" A to Z at http://AMomsPointOfView.com
    Come by and check it out.

  4. Enjoyed reading this story--it gives life to your beloved aunt. My mom was one of ten kids, the oldest born in 1910 and the youngest in 1929.