Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Many Lives of Dorothy


My grandmother, Dorothy Procter, was small, with dark hair and eyes. She lived in Portland, Oregon when I was a girl and we visited her regularly. The rest of her family always remarked that I looked just like her. I am not so sure about that, except for the small and dark part. In their British way, they called her Dor-o-thy, in three separate syllables. It seems as though her life was lived in separate sections or phases, hence the title of this memory of her.



This is a picture of where her family lived in 1900. I am told that it would have been a very nice home at the time. She was born in York, Yorkshire, England on 31 October 1900 to John Procter and Emily Gourd, his wife. York has an interesting history extending back to Roman times, and Yorkshire is considered to be the "greenest" area in England. It is an area of beautiful landscapes, castles and abbeys, and was an independent Viking kingdom for a time; all of these things giving it a rich and interesting history. Since Dorothy was born in 1900, that part was over by the time she arrived on the scene. To see some photos of the city of York, click here.


Dorothy's family immigrated to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada sometime between 1909 and 1913. In addition to Dorothy, the children at that time were Walter, Percy, Gert, Cecil, and Berniece. While the family was living in Canada, Doug was born in 1913. Shortly after that they moved to Portland, Multnomah, Oregon, where her father worked as a printer. Her sister, Evelyn Maud was born there in 1915. They certainly picked beautiful places to live. This is a picture of Dorothy, Gert, and Berniece (Lu) with their mother, Emily.

Dorothy married Joel Shirley Locke on 19 February 1919. They crossed the Columbia River to Vancouver, Clark, Washington to be married. He was fourteen years older than his new wife. They had two sons, Ray and David, while living in Portland. Ray, my father, is our ancestor.



In about 1924, Joel and Dorothy divorced. Ray moved to Tacoma, Pierce, Washington with his father and David stayed in Portland with his mother. This is a picture of Dorothy with her mother and David.















She sent pictures to Ray and wrote notes on the back of them. It is hard to see since it was written in pencil, but it shows her handwriting, and also something she did to maintain contact with her son.



Dorothy was briefly married to Ralph Lucas. She next married Earl Moses, to whom she was married for fifteen years. Earl was eleven years older than Dorothy. In this photo Dorothy and Earl, at the right, are with her sister, Gert, and her husband, Frank Lamb.



In her later years, Dorothy married Dwight Skaggs, who I knew as Little Grandpa. I think they were married by 1950. He was very good to her, particularly at the end of her life when she was sick. She was an alcoholic who died from complications associated with that.



Each Christmas she sent us a pair of knitted gloves. I remember her sitting on her couch with blankets wrapped around her legs. They lived at Milwaukee, outside of Portland. And there we are, my brother and me, with our "Little Grandma." She died on 9 January 1955.

1 comment:

A Girl Called Dallan said...

I'll say it again: this blog is awesome!

(I don't think you look like her, either, by the way.)