THE STORY OF LaVERNE While no account, no matter how much is remembered and in what detail, can do full justice to a life, here is what I have been told and what I remember about my mother, LaVerne Elizabeth Howell. Born in Obett's Junction (now part of Columbus) in Ohio on April 12, 1912, the day the Titanic sank, LaVerne grew up a country girl familiar with milking cows, the planting of crops and the demands of farm life. The oldest of three sisters, she lived mainly with her grandparents, never quite knowing why she didn't live with her father, a stern and quite man, and her mother, whom she adored. LaVerne loved her mother's weekly visits, waiting for the commuter train to arrive every Friday. She walked five miles to school, evidently had a solid education, was too sassy and strong-willed to ever please her father. Of her childhood, no extraordinary details have been passed to me, though I remember her speaking of winter sleigh rides to church, nuts and oranges at Christmas, and being raised in a speak-not-till-your- spoken to generation. She grew up in the Depression, saying on her last visit to Dr. Sacksen in Salida a month before she passed that she always had to have some money, not a lot, with her. Her father made tire patch, but lost everything when tubeless tires came out, and died when she was in her mid teens. Mom went to secretarial college, and worked for the Army depot in Columbus during World War II, making over $16 a week and thinking she was "the cat's meow" and was sitting as pretty as was possible. She dated a college student named Vince, and eventually they wed. But Vince died after their second year of marriage. LaVerne, her earlier photos show her to have been quite an attractive woman, had become my father's secretary. My dad, Herbert Howell, worked for the Civil Aeronautics Agency (now the FAA) and, by the time of the death of his good friends Vince, had been transferred to Kansas City as Regional Manager of Airports. But he said he realized that he kept coming to Columbus mainly to visit his former secretary LaVerne in the time after the loss of her husband, and that resulted in their marriage in 1946. I still have some of Mom's first furniture, bought in that year in Kansas City, where Mom lived and conceived her only child, a Valentine's Day boy born the next year. Mom and Dad moved from a small one-story to a larger two-story house with a basement and a backyard apple tree and a sandbox.
Sanctuary House
LaVerne Howell
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