Jean lived with her daughter Jean and Jean’s husband Joe in her later years. She loved and enjoyed having the kids and grandkids come see her. However, she did not like to stay anywhere over night. Jean was good with kids. Her great-grandson Scott (grandson of her daughter Jean) would go into her room every morning, put his little hand on her cheek, and say good morning. She could also console about any baby. She would plop the baby face down on her lap and it would settle down. She had the magic touch.
Jean and Joe Shirts and family.
Keith and Lilly did not know if their first boy was going to live week to week. Due to damage around the brain, the doctors said that Buddy would not be able to do certain things. The young lad always made liars out of them. Jean was always concerned about how her grandson was doing. She would visit them from time to time. That was quite the thing for her since she was not feeling very well herself back in those days. Buddy loved being with grandma. He would recognize her and giggle. She was very close to him and wanted to spend as much time as possible with Buddy.
Keith and Lilly Wessman and family.
She was always concerned about all of her grandchildren. She knew some of the problems that growing up entailed. She also wanted to know what was going on in their lives. As with her children, she wanted her grandchildren to be happy.
She had the knack of making people use their thinking power. She was the ultimate on making comments to make people think. She also had the ability to put things in perspective. Even though she was very quiet and did not share much personally, she knew what was going on. She also had the talent of being very organized. She liked things to be in order. Everything had its place.
Lorraine Wessman's (Paul's wife) first impression of Jean is that of being a very lovely person. Jean had gone to the movies with Paul and Lorraine before they were married.
Paul and Lorraine Wessman and family.
The family always had a house with electricity. Back then, that was not the case with many families. When television came into being, she was not too crazy about it. She thought it was a waste of time. She would rather play the piano. However, she thought it was remarkable.
Jean was very active in politics. She was Democratic. However, she was not as active like her famous political mother. Her mother was a very strong Democrat.
It was very hard when an animal (which they always had) or loved one died. Ernie remembers at the age of five when his grandfather died. It was about 1927 and the Wessman family was living on Van Buren Street in Ogden.
When her beloved Henry died, that too was very difficult. She felt overwhelmed many times. He had left Jean a little insurance money, which did help some, but times were still tough. The money lasted about two years.
She coped very well even though it was very difficult. She was heart broken and wept. Some of the children only remember the empty stillness of the house during that time. Jean (daughter) remembers going into the bathroom and crying all by herself. She does not remember anything else about that day.
Henry had a hernia that had bothered him for many years. He also suffered from ulcers later on. His wife made him eggnog to take to work hoping that it would help in someway. Henry had gotten sick with ulcer complications and so a couple of doctors were called in for consultation. The decision was made to take him to the hospital. The condition of peritonitis was too far advanced to save him. At that time, there were no antibiotics or painkillers. It was very difficult for Jean to watch her husband suffer so much in pain. He had done so much for her when her health was poor but at this point of time, she could not help him. That bothered her. She did not want him to be in pain. The death of Henry took many by surprise especially his children.
Dick had been away from home a couple of years working and he had just got home before his father died. Henry talked to Dick, Harry and Jean at the hospital. He told them that they would have to pull together and scrape together a living. He had told Jean that he could not go through this illness again. He knew that he was dying. He had been through something similar years earlier when he was 13. He almost died then with peritonitis.
After talking, the family left the room for a short while. Joe Wessman was in Salt Lake and wanted to come to Ogden to see his brother. However, he could not leave his business unattended. Therefore, Dick went to take care of the business so Joe could go. That was when Henry died a very painful death.
To be continued...