|Birth: ||Aug. 23, 1930|
|Death: ||Jan. 8, 2011|
"Calvin J. Hammer, 80, a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant, passed away peacefully at his home after a courageous battle with cancer Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. Graveside service: 3 p.m. Thursday in Mount Olivet Cemetery. Calvin was born Aug. 23, 1930, in Muncrief Township, Okla. The family would like to thank family friend Pat Cebell for her care and friendship of Calvin. He was preceded in death by his wife, Wilma Hammer; stepson, Butch Cebell; former wife, Vernis Lawrence; parents, Leslie and Stella Hammer; several siblings; and one granddaughter, Wanonah Coontz. Survivors: Daughter and son-in-law, Valorie and Donald Potter; daughter, Velma Coontz; son and daughter-in-law, Jim and Yulia Hammer; daughter-in-law, Monita Cebell; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and family and friends." --
Published in Star-Telegram on January 12, 2011
Dad told me about leaving Oklahoma when he was 11 years old, traveling like "the Grapes of Wrath" story Well, not that dire a situation, they had a house rented by their older sons, Cecil & Carl, to go to. Then they purchased farmland with a house on it.
Oldest sister Ellen was married by then & stayed in OK. Ellen told me her dad said they couldn't leave OK til she & Jiggs got married. They went to the preacher's house on a Saturday night, no family present & got married - no big ceremony! Then they took over renting the house with furnishings they couldn't send ahead or carry on the trip.
Dad said they planted the farm with "sticks" - root-stock, which when they took root, were grafted with branches of peach & plum. It took years for the trees to grow & produce fruit, so all who could took jobs. Dad said he got a job picking cherries at an orchard down the street to a real good man who treated him like family & paid him a man's wages, making as much (or more?) as his dad, Leslie.
I got to thinking recently - the farm house was just a little one-bedroom! I asked dad "where did all of you kids sleep?!" ( 10 children in the family, 11 counting Ellen in OK.)
He said, "Us boys slept in the barn, we had a wood burning stove for the cold winter nights. The girls bedded down in the livingroom."
That was Cherry Valley, Calif - it SNOWS there!
And I saw that barn - didn't look like it would keep out much cold or wind - you could see sunlight through the space between the slats in the walls....
No wonder we never went camping as kids! I imagine he felt like he was camping out most of his life ....
I know in OK the water was from the pump in the front yard & the toilet was the outhouse out back. Baths were in a large tin tub on the kitchen floor.
I remember visiting aunt Ellen & uncle Jiggs in OK when I was about 5 - around 1961?, mom taking me to the outhouse with a flashlight & aunt Ellen telling mom to be careful to watch out for the wolves that might be hanging around! I didn't want to use that outhouse much - scary at night & stinky ALL the time!
And we all drank water from the well with a metal long handled dipper hanging on the front porch - who knew about being careful of sharing germs, or bugs crawling on it while hanging there ....
Dad told me that he remembered seeing itinerant farm-work camps, just like in "The Grapes of Wrath" - how sorry he felt for those folks. Not much they could do - his family was just some better than they were. They had their land & house, crowded though it was, & plenty of hard work for all - but they were happy.
One summer as a teenager, a friend said they could make good money by going up north as itinerant farm laborers, getting there by hopping the trains. He left a note for his mom & was gone all summer, but they didn't get rich! He said it was hard work for little money & just barely made it back home!
He said his mom asked where he'd been! Never saw the note! Must've blown away... !
Well, I don't know - maybe she didn't see the note - maybe she was giving him a bad time ...
But it sure was different times! Can't do that sort of thing now-a-days!
Before he graduated high school, he got excited about joining the Air Force - he quit school early & got a GED - I didn't know GED was as far back as 1947-48.
Mom & dad were in the same school, but they really met at a gathering of friends one day... at the end of the day, he said "Your mother was giving a kiss good-bye to everyone - but the kiss she gave me was DIFFERENT!"
That was the start of their romance.
At the time of their marriage, dad was stationed in Oklahoma City, OK. The bridal shower was in Beaumont, Ca at grandma's house - with men included! - I thought that was an innovation of the new generation! Both my grandpas & grandmas in attendance & mom's brother James, as well as several soon-to-be sisters in law, school friends & best friend Margie (recently married mom's brother Fred, and expecting their first child).
Then mom got on the train to OK with her mom as chaperon & they were married at the courthouse, I believe.
There is a photo I've posted of a young Calvin in the Air Force, sitting at a desk - the first time I remember seeing this photo was when I was grown & married with children, mom & dad were long divorced & both were re-married. Mom was giving me photos & I wanted this one, but she said No, this was the one dad had given her before they married, to remember him by when he was stationed away in the Air Force. It still held sentimental value after all those years .... I only got the photo after she passed away....
His granddaughter, my daughter -
Wanonah Elizabeth "Nona" Coontz
David Donald "Hammer" Hammer
His grandson, my nephew
Leslie H Hammer (1892 - 1967)
Stella May Bebout Hammer (1897 - 1988)
Vernis Marie Andrews Lawrence (1930 - 1995)
Wilma Dora Fitzgerald Cebell Hammer (1919 - 1998)*
Cecil David Hammer (1916 - 1946)*
Calvin James Hammer (1930 - 2011)
Franklin D Hammer (1934 - 1969)*
Mount Olivet Cemetery
Maintained by: Velma
Originally Created by: Tim Hawkins
Record added: Jan 12, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 64102473
For Dad, for Father's Day, with love from your children- Valorie, Jim, Monita, & me; & grandchildren & great-grandchildren,|
Added: Jun. 15, 2014
Added: Jun. 7, 2014
For Memorial Day, my dear dad, who cherished his faith in Jesus, and served his country in the USAF. With love,|
Added: May. 25, 2014
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