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Florence Pyles

Updated on January 13, 2015

Better known to me as Grandma

Florence Edna Crossley Pyles was born on September 12, 1921 in a little house in Ramsey, Ohio. You will find Ramsey on a map, but should you drive through, you might not be sure exactly where it is along that stretch of road. Ramsey is the name given to a place with a few houses along County Road 6 between Adena & Mount Pleasant in Jefferson County, Ohio.

The daughter of Winona Juliette Calhoun and Orville Wilbur Crossley, Florence lived in humble surroundings her entire life. Her father was taken from her before she was seven. Working for the railroad, Orville stepped in front of a train in 1928. Florence's mother remarried within a couple of years, and though she was never officially adopted, Florence Crossley became known as Florence Stanley for the rest of her unmarried life.

I'm creating this page as a tribute to a woman who impacted my life more than any other single person outside of my parents. The picture you see on the left is from the 1950s. Florence married Glenn Leroy Pyles in 1939, shortly after she graduated from High School. The two had only one daughter, my mother, and four grandchildren. Both lives were cut short by rare diseases, but despite the brevity of their years, I always knew I was loved. I hope you enjoy meeting these special people.

Grandma in the 30's
Grandma in the 30's

Florence, the daughter & wife

I obviously don't know a lot about Grandma's life before I was born. Because she died so young, I didn't even have a chance to hear many stories of her youth. Much of what I've learned, I've heard from my grandaunts (her two younger sisters), my mother and doing genealogy research.

Grandma's grandfather was an alcoholic, so her mother left home early to marry. When you consider that fact along with the tragedy of losing her father, Great-Grandpa Crossley, before she turned seven, we know that life was rough during those first few years of her life.

Great Grandma remarried before 1930, and David Carl Stanley became the patriarch of our family. By the time I came along everyone called him "Pap". Until I was about 12 or 13, I had no idea that this wonderful man wasn't my biological grandfather. So grandma grew up a "Stanley" rather than a "Crossley." My mother shares that when she was very young they often went to visit the Crossleys, but she didn't know until they went to get her marriage license that these nice old people she visited were her great grandparents. I knew Great Grandma very well, and would assume that she was the reason no one spoke about the Crossley connection.

Many years ago my mom gave me Grandma's 1937 diary. From this small book, I learned that Grandma played guitar, helped start the Sunday School at Rush Run United Methodist Church near Brilliant, Ohio and had at least one boyfriend before she met my grandfather. Grandma also was a very good friend of Great Grandpa Stanley's youngest brother, Arthur, who was the same age as Grandma. Her diary has stories of many friends including the Young family. Grandpa Pyles makes his way into her diary by late 1937. His first cousins were the Young children, the same friends mentioned in in Grandma's journal.

Grandma and Grandpa married in 1939. Because his father had walked out on the family, Grandpa had been forced to drop out of school before he was 10. Fortunately in the 1940s that diploma wasn't quite as important as it is today; however, he never had a real opportunity to have a lucrative career. So Grandma and Grandpa lived in a small, but comfortable home. My mom tells stories of Grandma driving a dump truck to church because Grandpa had a job driving it, and it was the only vehicle they had. Not much stopped my grandmother!

Grandpa passed away in 1970. He had a rare disease called Collagen Disease. Most of my memories of Grandpa are of him driving tractor trailer for Sealtest Ice Cream and then being in bed all of the time. He was sick and hospitalized a lot during those last few years. So Grandma only got thirty years of marriage, and the last few of those, she was the primary care giver for Grandpa. Despite all of the hardships I now know Grandma endured, I never heard her complain. In fact, until I got older and understood the reality of the circumstances of her life, I had no idea that her life was less than perfect.

Florence Edna Crossley Stanley Pyles

September 12, 1921

to

August 12, 1979

Grandma

Her world revolved around four grandchildren

Grandma passed away when I was sixteen, yet in those few years, she made a huge impact on me. I loved spending the night at Grandma's. She was ill most of the time, but I remember combing her hair and reading to her. I threaded her needles, and she made me brown sugar sandwiches (I know it doesn't sound that great, but I loved them as a child).

Grandma had these small white pitchers. Each only held a cup of milk or less. Grandma would fill this with milk so that I could add my own milk to my cereal. She had a big box of old dresses that I, my cousins and siblings were allowed to use to play dress up. There was a small box of beads and jewelry we were allowed to use too!

And I remember the "button box". Grandma had a huge tin at least half full of buttons that would keep a child entertained for hours. We'd sort them by size, then by color. We'd line them up and count them. Who would have guessed such a simple thing cut from many shirts, pants, coats and what not, would bring so much pleasure?

Grandma was so creative! A seamstress, she sewed most of her own clothes, and she had more than a dozen pair of shoes. I don't know what they looked like when she bought them, but by the time I saw them, they were covered with fabric to match dresses she had made. Grandma made quilts (each of the four of us have one she made) and was always doing some sort of needlework. She always had cookies in the freezer. She put them in empty coffee cans, and it seemed as though there were always three or four different kinds of cookies in the freezer at any one time.

In her last years, after Grandpa died, Grandma was the secretary at the church. My sister and brother and I took turns going to work with her. We loved to help run the mimeograph machine and fold the bulletins. After I got my permit, I drove her everywhere, including work all Summer.

Because there was just the four of us, when one of us had a birthday, we each got a small gift. Grandma didn't have a lot, but she would often come over and give each of us a dollar or two just for spending money. She was just about the only babysitter I ever knew. There were only a few times, when Grandma needed to be someplace else, that one of the neighbors' older children would stay with us. I think Grandma would have done anything for us, and as I've grown older, I've come to appreciate her even more. Keep reading to discover more of how Grandma made a difference in my life.

That photo up there was taken in the mid 40's. It's a pic of Grandma in her prime! Not sure who the photographer was. That little blonde is my mom! (Who still sports coal black un-dyed hair) I found it in an old box of photos my mom let me have.

How Grandma Influenced my Life

Grandma was a strong Christian. There was no doubt about her faith and the weight of her love for Jesus Christ. She was incredibly humble about her faith, but in all of her trials, that faith was evident. No matter when or why she had to go to the hospital, she was positive and upbeat about it. She talked about Jesus whenever possible and told us often about His love and grace.

Because of her enthusiasm in the faith, I was always confident that God was exactly what He said He was. Grandma was a living reflection of the love of Jesus Christ. Grandma always showed love. Not just to me and my siblings, but to everyone she met. It bothered her when her when others weren't treated right. She gave of herself in every way possible. Grandma "paid it forward" before the movie made the concept popular. She was a beautiful woman with a love for life, a love for her family and a love for Jesus Christ. This love and living example played a huge part in making me who I am today. Grandma made a difference in my life and I hope to be at least that inspirational in the lives of my own grandchildren.

The Disease that Took Grandma

Grandma was diagnosed with Lupus even before my mother was born. Back then it was a relatively unknown disease so Grandma was on a lot of medication that was still somewhat experimental. Plus the Lupus caused her to have rheumatoid arthritis. When I was young I had no idea the pain associated with this crippling disease. Grandma's fingers were shaped much like "7's" by the time I came along, so you can imagine the pain she was in most of the time. As an adult, I came to realize that the reason there were always cookies in the freezer was probably because Grandma baked on the days when the pain was less severe so that she would have snacks for us every time we came to visit. I knew that Grandma was sick; however, I had no idea the severity of her disease. I don't ever remember hearing Grandma complain about her illness. I do remember her being in the hospital a lot. One year my grandfather was able to bring her home from the hospital for Christmas day and then she had to return. I was very young then.

Click here to find out more about Lupus

or Click here to find out more about Rheumatoid Arthritis

Who Influenced Your Life

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    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm back with a blessing. This will be featured on my You've Been Blessed.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      How wonderful that you've preserved these family memories! Thanks for sharing them here.

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Congrats on LOTD! It's a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. My grandpa was one of the biggest influences in my life. His faith and his love for his family were huge.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      I still have my great-grandmothers small milk pitcher, which I remember my grandmother using when I was a child. This is a nice tribute, and I congratulate you on your LOTD honor. The diary must be one of your greatest treasures.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      I think my grandmother did when I look back on it. She taught me so many important lessons!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Lensrolled to My Dad the Gold Standard and welcome to the LOTD club!

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 6 years ago from USA

      Coming from a large family, I was influenced by many good people. Congrats of your wonderful LOTD.

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 6 years ago

      How sweet this tribute to your Grandma is. Congratulations on a well deserved LotD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Congratulations on receiving LOTD for this wonderful labor of love! Your grandma sounds s lot like mine right down to the dollar or two that we would look forward to in our birthday cards. Her cookies could also be found in the freezer in coffee cans. Like yours, there seemed to be nothing she couldn't do when she put her mind to it and she was so fun besides. She would entertain us as she cut out paper animals freehand or turn her hands into puppets with whatever she had on hand. You just stirred up some sweet memories for me, thank you!

    • Joyce Mann profile image

      Joyce T. Mann 6 years ago from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA

      I love tribute lenses such as this one. A wonderful way to remember your grandmother.

    • HtCares profile image

      HtCares 6 years ago

      What a wonderful tribute to your Grandma. She sounds like she was indeed a wonderful person. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      Ruthi 6 years ago

      A fantastic tribute you've created for your Grandma. Congratulations on Lens of the Day!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 6 years ago from New Zealand

      Great Lens, it is how I remember growing up, we did not expect a lot and treasured everything we had. Trying to remember who influenced my life cannot think of anyone especially, maybe it was going to Sunday school every sunday, but I stay a Christian to this day, and have brought up my 5 children with those goals, all though I never go to church, it is in my heart.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 6 years ago from Concord VA

      Loved the story about your Grandma, thanks for sharing! My mom was also born in 1921, and will be 90 years old in August. Congratulations on LotD!!

    • JenaleeMortensen profile image

      JenaleeMortensen 6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading about your grandmother. Learning our family stories and sharing them is one of the most important things we can do. Family stories affect our lives and help explain why we are the way we are. Thanks for sharing your grandmother's story.

    • profile image

      tw006e6375 6 years ago

      I am also a grandparent and I do not accept that my responsiblities are over because there is another generation being brought into this world. I think of myself as head of this family and accept that responsaibility gladly. I am quite willing to sit back and let parents be just that but where guidance is due I try to provide it. My wife is the granny and she is the one that doles out the presents although all but one of my grandchildren are now of adult age. My dearest wish is that they become a credit to their parents.Tom

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love to read these tribute lenses. Thank you for sharing so much with us about your Grandma! I know I so miss my own! :)

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I really like this lens and enjoyed reading about your Grandmother. My Mom and my step-father influenced me. I never knew either of my grandmas or much of my father. I have two lenses about them, The Man Who Became My Dad and Memories of Mama. Thanks for sharing the memory of your grandma.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! today it would have been my mothers Birthday, she passed when she barely turned 60...I miss her and try to be an example of my upbringing, she was and still is a big influence in my life...lenrolled to 'my Mom Micky' lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Beautiful story. Congrats on LotD! My mother and my step-mother were the biggest influences in my life. I lost my mom when I was 13 and my step-mom passed last year. I do miss them!

    • Geekgurl profile image

      Kimberly Hiller 6 years ago from Chicago

      Great story! I would have to say my mom influenced me the most.

    • mich1908 profile image

      mich1908 6 years ago

      My dad influenced me the most and though gone now, I missed him dearly. However, reading your lense made me think of my grandmother - It's been so many years since she's gone. She's great in so many ways. Your lense is such a loving tribute to your grandma.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing, Lynn! Love hearing stories like this!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      My Nana was a big influence on me. I lost her when I was nineteen - more than 40 years ago - but I still think about her often and strive to create as close a connection with my own grandchildren. Sweet memory and obviously a from-the-heart LOTD.

    • ludyshubs profile image

      ludyshubs 6 years ago

      You made me remember my grandma. She loved me so much! Thank you for this great lens.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      Very happy that you had such a nice grandmother! Congratulations on LOTD.

    • Stacy Fordham profile image

      Stacy Fordham 6 years ago

      My birthday is September 12 like your grandmother's. That's what made me notice this lens. Congratulations on earning Lens of the Day.

    • profile image

      BabyBloomer 6 years ago

      A fantastic tribute, congratulations on gaining LOTD, you deserve it.

    • profile image

      axelly 6 years ago

      Great Story. Congratulation on LOTD. Your story brought back memory of my own grandma

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 6 years ago from Sweden

      Besides my God and Creator, my closest family is GramaBarb - our lensmaster a person that has helped and supported me so much! She is a golden friend. There is a lens about her https://hubpages.com/relationships/atruefriend

    • profile image

      tssfacts 6 years ago

      What a wonderful story. I am so glad you shared it with us. Congratulations on LOTD.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow, a great family history. This lens deserve LOTD. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • akumar46 lm profile image

      akumar46 lm 6 years ago

      very touching story.Thanks for sharing.

    • SheilaVine LM profile image

      SheilaVine LM 6 years ago

      interesting lens idea

    • SheilaVine LM profile image

      SheilaVine LM 6 years ago

      my grandmother too

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!!! - well deserved

    • Airinka profile image

      Airinka 6 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!!!

    • howtocurecancer profile image

      howtocurecancer 6 years ago

      Congrats for the LoTD. You deserve it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      It is wonderful to have such an influential grandma, thanks for sharing her life story.Congrats on LOTD.

    • moskit profile image

      moskit 6 years ago

      Super lens! This was an interesting read.It has been Blessed!

    • Johncatanzaro profile image

      Johncatanzaro 6 years ago

      Congrats on the lens of the day......great lens, I enjoyed reading it

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Great lens, well-worthy of the recognition with Purple Star and Lens of the Day.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      There is a massive trend in the UK away from multi-generation families - to the immense loss of all concerned, in my opinion.

    • profile image

      GrowWear 6 years ago

      Grandparents can be so influential in a child's life. You were very blessed in yours.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this with us!

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