Nancy Brumley Weik – my mother, she would have been ninety-eight years old this month. She was born in Kansas City, Wyandotte, Kansas on December 6, 1920, to Nellie Opal Sells and John Leo Brumley.
She was the first child born to John and Nellie Brumley and had four siblings; Leo Isaac 1922, John Brumley, Jr. 1925, Gerald Raymond 1928, Baby Brumley 1935 and Shirley Ann Brumley 1938. All were born in Kansas City, Kansas.
Nancy grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930s, her father had a hard time finding work to feed the family and she told me stories of the bread and soup lines that he would wait hours in just to bring his family food. In the summertime, there were Fresh Air Camps in Kansas City that you could send your children to for two meals a day along with learning life skills and interacting with other children in your area or neighborhood. She loved that experience and told me stories of the many friends she made that were just like her.
By the time she was twenty-one years old she was working, one of her first jobs was working in a laundry. Other teenagers were working as well and she made new friends quickly. World War II had broken out and everyone was asked to do their part to help the war effort back home. She was able to get a job at Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Jackson, Missouri. She made a good salary while still living in Kansas City, Kansas. She would ride the city bus every day because it was too expensive to have or even drive a car.
The war was winding down and she was laid off from the Ammunition Plant she was able to get a job at the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) in Kansas City, Missouri. The job was closer to home and the bus ride was not as long. She enjoyed this job, she was making bottle tops and making pretty good money for those times. While working one day she meant a man who would later become my father, Merle Otto Weik. They were married on November 8, 1946, in Olathe, Johnson, Kansas
My father had a few different jobs in and around the Kansas City Metro area, such as working with show horses that he would help groom and train for the American Royal that came to town each year. They had their first baby in 1947 a son but it only lived two hours. My father then had an opportunity to work in the steel fabrication business that took them to Davenport, Scott, Iowa. They began their family again with the birth of me (Diann) 1950, Richard 1952 and John Weik 1954.
He had other work opportunities in Rock Falls and Joliet, Illinois also in steel fabrication. It was in 1957 another job opening came about in the area of Streator, LaSalle, Illinois as plant manager in a steel fabrication business in the very small town of Kernan. Mom and dad moved the family to Streator and enrolled us in school. One day my mother had a school conference scheduled and when the teacher told her that I (Diann) would have to do second grade over again if they didn’t stop moving around was a wake-up call for my mother. She firmly told my dad that this is where we would live until everyone was out of school.
My parents waited until we all had graduated from high school before moving again back to Kansas. I lived in Missouri with my family so they were closer to visit. My mother and I were always close and worked on our family genealogy, celebrated holidays and birthdays. In between, we talked every Saturday on the phone.
She loved growing flowers in the Spring and Summer months and took pride in them when anyone came to visit. She also was a great cook and some of her favorites I still prepare today because they became my favorites. My father would always go fishing and bring home catfish for her to fry up in the frying pan. I will never be as good as she was preparing fried catfish.
She loved her dogs over the years and had many throughout her lifetime. She liked the terriers the most.
The greatest joy was the birth of her granddaughter and then seeing her twin great-granddaughters come into this world. It was the sole reason she stayed alive even though her health was failing.
I miss her every day and I catch myself often doing something she taught me years ago to do. Her spirit will always be with me.
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