|Birth: ||Dec. 5, 1936|
|Death: ||Apr. 6, 1968|
San Bernardino County
During my kindergarten school year, I lived with my Aunt Rieta and her family on their horse ranch above Lake Elsinore in the Cleveland National Forest. It was exciting for a little city girl to have horses, dogs, cats, chickens, goats, even pigs for a short time, bee hives, a fruit orchard and a hay loft!
My little sister was not yet enrolled in school, and so she went to live in Corona with a great-aunt during the school week.
Because I was in kindergarten, I was released earlier than the "older kids" and road the school bus home alone. Once dropped off at the bus stop, I would have to walk the long dirt and gravel road up "The Hill" to the endlessly long driveway of my aunt's ranch. Once I got in the house, however, I spent some special time alone with my aunt. This is when she taught me how to tie my shoes and gave me my first piano lessons. On the weekends, we were allowed to ride their horses.
My Aunt Rieta was a strong Christian, an accomplished horse-woman (barrel racing), the 'bee lady', and a loving but very strict mother. A few months after we moved in with her family, my aunt became ill, and so my three cousins who were in third, fifth and sixth grades stepped in and nearly acted as full-time caretakers and mother.
A few months later, me, my uncle and father, and my cousin Diana and brother, climbed into my uncle's truck. We pulled out of their circular driveway in front of their ranch house, and onto the long driveway which led to the main dirt road down the hill. My uncle was driving and talking quietly to my dad in the front seat. Something was said and I asked a clarifying question (I can't remember what), and the entire truck instantly grew silent and tense.
I turned to my cousin and asked, "Where's Aunt Rieta?" and she quietly told me, "Shh! She died." I didn't quite understand so Diana clarified that she was in heaven. Being still young and not yet thoroughly understanding how children were seen and not heard, I continued with my innocent questions. Quickly understanding that heaven was a destination, I further asked the backs of my father and uncle's heads when she was coming back. The silence from the front seat was deafening. With everyone listening, Diana quietly answered by simply saying, "She's not coming back. She died!" and to shush. I could sense the incredible tension and saw the look on her face that now was not the time.
Later, my three cousins, brother and I were sitting on our beds in the children's bedroom talking about my Aunt Rieta and heaven. My two oldest cousins were clearly close to adulthood (about eleven and twelve) and knew just about everything. =) I was so confused why Aunt Rieta couldn't come back, even just for a visit, and they explained heaven to me. I thought if heaven was so great, then why would we want to go there if we could never come back to see our family? Why did Jesus take Aunt Rieta, take her away from her kids and family, and not let her ever come home?
My first impression of death was more about confusion than pain, however, the death of my Aunt Rieta and the absence of our scheduled time after school was another upset and dramatic change in my young life. Unfortunately, her untimely death was to be the first of a long string of traumatic deaths during my childhood with the passings of my little sister, Tammy, and mom, and then into my young adulthood with my beloved paternal grandfather, followed by my beautiful paternal grandmother, only six days later by my paternal great-grandmother, Meme, and ultimately by my precious first-born child, Timmy.
My Aunt Rieta left behind a devoted husband and three young daughters. She was survived by both of her parents, Edward DeWitt and Rachel Irene Barger Carpenter, her brother, and two nieces and a nephew. She is still sorely missed.
Descendant of Philip Barger, survivor of the Draper's Meadow Massacre of 1755.
Listed in The Descendants of Timothy Carpenter of Pittstown, Rensselaer Co., New York, 1976 [2012-8 pg. 108, pg. 188]
Cause of death: Cancer
Edward DeWitt Carpenter (1910 - 1982)
Rachel Irene Barger Carpenter (1913 - 1989)
Corona Sunnyslope Cemetery
Plot: Blk 34, Space 59
Created by: M'Lady
Record added: Jan 23, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13097892