Continued from An ambulance arrives

Noni died in April 1957. True to form, mom raised eyebrows in the wake of her mother’s death. No lengthy, black-clad, grieving for her. She had plans! Her father’s business partners, Fred and Ernest, knitted their brows and rung their hands the day she marched into the office and announced that she intended to sell her inherited share of the company. Ernest had promised Herman that he’d look after Yry and the girls in Herman’s absence; it was a promise he discovered none too easy to live up to.

“But Yry, what will you do? What will you live on?” asked Fred.

Ernest chimed in, ” You are worn out, dear. You need some time to recover from the shock of losing your dear father and now your poor mother.”

“You’re right, Ernest. I am exhausted. But I’ve no intention of burdening you two with my ineptitude. I have no interest in trade. I never did. I have no role in this business. I want to be free of it.”

“But Yry, of course you have a role here. You’ve been a wonderful help to us whenever we needed you during inventory or tax time. We love having you here in the office with us. Everyone loves you. You must think of your future . . .”

“Thank you gentlemen, for being so concerned about my welfare. I’m sure my intentions come as a shock. My father loved this business. He devoted his life to it. I think he gave his life to it. But this was his dream, not mine. I’ve waited long enough to get on with my life. I’ll not wait a moment longer.”

Fred interjected, “You’re not thinking clearly here. You mustn’t rush to make rash decisions that will impact your life forever.  . . .  And your children. You must think of them . . .”

“Ha! My children! Do tell. I’m doing this for them as much as I am for myself. No child of mine will grow up trapped in this concrete fortress. My children will know the sky, the sunshine, the mountains, the prairie sage! My children will play on the back of a horse, not in a grimy alley. My children will thrive and grow strong, breathing crystal clean air. You must understand, Fred and Ernest, that this is no rash decision on my part. I’ve been thinking about this . . . well, all my life, actually. My hands were tied until now.”

My mother had indeed mapped a course for her future. She closed her ears to the remonstrations of the Steins and to those of her and her parents’ friends. While Oppie, her father’s attorney, prepared the necessary documents for the sale of her third of the partnership, mother packed household items, sorted and disposed of things she couldn’t take with her, and re-established contacts in Wyoming. She contacted Mr. Dever, an insurance agent whom she’d met while taking courses at the university. He owned some rental properties in Laramie and was well acquainted with the local real estate market. Mother wired $500 to Mr. Dever, to be used as earnest money for the purchase of a house for her. She gave him free rein to find the appropriate property, as long as it met the following conditions: an older, single-family property; within walking distance of a school; must have a private yard; and preferably near the university campus.