THE CINDERELLA STORY OF MARJORIE ANNA CARLS
This story began when Marjorie was born on a little farm in Carpenter Station, Michigan, to wonderful parents who loved her very much. They had two boys, Harold, who was four years old, and Raymond, two years old. When Marjorie was born "they got a baby girl!" and they made her feel real special. Julia, her mother, and Julia's sister, Jane McLachlan, were born and raised on a farm in Alvinston, Ontario. When they were about 20 years old, they both decided to go to Detroit, Michigan, and answer ads to do housework for rich people. This was about 1910. And about the same time two brothers, Fred and John Carls, who were raised on a farm in Carpenter Station went to Detroit and stayed in a rooming house. This was a place where men got room and board very cheap. They both got jobs together as iron workers. Their father Grandpa Carls was born in Germany. There is more about his family in the Carls' history book. He came to America when he was about 20 years old. He said when you were young in Germany there was the rich and the poor and it was hard if you were one of the poor. Grandpa told the story of working for a rich farmer in Germany. He was to take one of the farmer’s cows to market. But after he sold the cow, he took the money and got a ticket for a ship to America. When he got to New York he had no money and could only speak German. He wished he had not come. But he did find some work on way to Wisconsin. On the way he stopped in Michigan where he knew there was a German settlement and he could speak with the people. He got work on the Fick farm. They were a big family with eight boys and two girls. He fell in love with Anna Fick. After they were married, he took 60 acres of wooded land and her brothers helped him pull the stumps, make fences, and build a house and bam. Grandpa and Grandma Carls raised four boys: George, Fred, John and Erwin. A fifth son drowned when he was going out to meet his father in the field and fell into an old well. Two of the Carls brothers met the two McLachlan sisters in Detroit. Fred fell in love with Julia and John with Jane. Fred and Julia soon had a baby boy and named him Harold. Fred didn't like the big city and wanted to be back on the farm. Julia, being raised on a farm, wanted that also, so they bought a little farm back at Carpenter Station. They soon had two more babies, Raymond and Marjorie. Things went real well for ten years. Julia was a wonderful mother wife. The farm neighbors loved her for she had a warm smile and fun time with everyone. Then a sad thing happened to this wonderful family. Julia got sick with a high fever. Fred called the country doctor, who found an infection from a miscarriage Julia had had a few days before. In those long ago days before penicillin, the doctor called a surgeon from Bay City. He came down on the train with his nurse and operated in the house, but Julia died the next day. She knew she was going to die and hugged and talked with all her children and loving husband, Fred. Her parents came from Canada and all her family to bury this lovely young mother, wife and friend to so many people. Marjorie's grandmother took her and Raymond home with her on the tram. The train stopped at Carpenter Station a half mile from Fred and Julia's farm, making it handy for the doctor who came to do the surgery and for Grandma McLachlin to come and stay for a few days and then take the two young children home with her. Grandpa came to pick them up at the station in Watford with the horse and buggy. Marjorie was six years old and Raymond was eight. Grandma had eight children, four boys and four girls (Julia, Jane, Jessie, Katie, Dougal, Sandy, Neil and Gordon). Gordon was a young man who stayed at home and helped his father with farming; Katie, about eighteen years old and the other child at home, was very short and had a crooked spine with a big bump on her back. Everyone called her a hunch-back. The first night Marjorie was supposed to sleep upstairs with Katie and Raymond with Gordon, but Marjorie cried and Grandma came and made up another bed. Raymond said he would sleep with her. He was a little boy, only eight years old himself, but he was her brother in this strange house and so much a comfort to her. He looked after Marjorie like a little father. When Marjorie would cry for her mother, her Grandmother would tell her that her mother was up in Heaven with God and she would always be looking down on her little daughter. For all of Marjorie's life she would look up at Heaven and talk with her mother and feel very close to God. Grandma McLachlin was a tall, thin lady who just went on the run to do all the work to take care of everyone and wait on everyone. Her maiden name was Campbell. The Campbells came to Canada from Scotland. They made coffins. Every morning after breakfast, Grandma and Grandpa McLachlin read from the Bible and prayed. We all sat still and listened before our day started. Soon, Marjorie and Raymond were playing with their two cousins, Marion and Lorne, who lived up the hill. Their parents, Uncle Sandy and Aunt Flossie, were very nice to us. When it came time for school to start up in the fall, we went with our cousins to a little country school about a mile away. So Marjorie and Raymond started school in Canada. They had small slates to write on instead of paper and a wonderful little reading book with a good story about a frog. Back at Carpenter Station their father, Fred, had to have an auction and sell all his farm animals and machines to pay for the doctor and funeral for Julia. Fred's mother had died about three years before and his father, John Carls, was living alone on his farm nearby, so Fred and Harold moved up with Grandpa Carls. Fred drove over to Canada to see Marjorie and Raymond. Grandma McLachlin and Fred would visit together and they would both cry. Fred had been very lonesome and wanted the family back together again. He took Marjorie and Raymond back to Michigan. Marjorie was dropped off at her Aunt Jane's house and took Raymond home with him. Marjorie started school again in Roseville and stayed with her Aunt for a few months. Fred put an ad in the paper for a housekeeper. A lady who had lived on a farm and moved to Lapeer answered the ad. After she had moved to Lapeer her husband had died and she was lonesome. She came to work for Fred and Grandpa Carls for three dollars a week. Then Fred wrote to his brother John and Jane and asked them to bring Marjorie home so he could have all his children together again. Marjorie really wondered what the housekeeper would be like. She turned out to be a wonderful lady, about … years old, who the three children called Grandma Heck. Marjorie slept with her for there were just three bedrooms, one for Fred and Raymond, one for Grandpa Carls and Harold, and one for Grandma Heck and Marjorie. Grandma Heck did not seem strange for long. Everyone soon came to like this great and caring lady. She make bread, churned butter, planted a garden, took care of the children, and saved a crate of twelve dozen eggs to take to Lapeer every Saturday night. We would all go in the Model T Ford. It was a big outing to go downtown to Lapeer on Saturday nights. Grandma Heck would sell her crate of eggs at the A&P Store for enough to buy all the groceries for the week and give Marjorie and Raymond each five cents to spend. Fred and Grandpa Carls would visit on the street with all the farmers. It was a big night out. Since Fred sold all his animals and farm equipment, he went to work delivering bread to the small towns in the thumb of Michigan. He slowly saved some money and bought a team of horses and a few cows and started to farm again on Grandpa Carls' 60 acres of land. He also raised some pigs which would be butchered each fall. He grew lots of potatoes. There was a big apple orchard on the farm. The potatoes and apples were stored in big bins in the basement under the house. The apples would keep until spring down there and every night in the winter everyone would sit in the front room around a big stove and bring up a bowl of apples. Grandma Heck would mend clothes. Marjorie and Raymond played lots of checkers. They became a very happy family again. Fred was lonesome for Julia, but he was so busy trying to put everything back together and make a good home, he didn't say anything. Marjorie would see him sit in the morning with his head down on his hands for a long time before he put his farm shoes on and started his busy day. He was on the school board and took his team of horses and put gravel on county roads with a handmade grader. This work paid the taxes on his father's farm. He also was a barber. He cut Grandpa's hair and Harold and Raymond's hair, and all the neighborhood men would also come to the house for haircuts. It wasn't easy for him to be both father and mother for three children, but he did his best. One year all of the kids and their cousins, who had also lost their mother, walked five miles to the Oregon Church to a Christmas program. There was a big box for Marjorie under the tree. In it was a beautiful doll. It must have taken a long time for Fred to save the money for that wonderful gift. Another Christmas Harold and Raymond used their money from trapping muskrats and skunks and bought Marjorie a big sled. They all had great fun with it. Aunt Jane and Uncle John came out from Roseville with their three kids (Shirley, Ruth and Jack) to spend weekends on the farm. Aunt Jane missed her sister so much that she would try to mother her niece and nephews. Fred was very fond of his brother John. One time in the fall Grandpa and Fred took sweet apples from the orchard to the cider mill and got big barrels of cider. A big fire was made under a black kettle and the cider was boiled down all day. In the evening, the ladies would peel sweet apples and the men would stir them in the black kettle of apple syrup until late into the night. The apple butter would keep pure and good for the whole year round. Jack would come back almost every summer when school was out and stay on the farm. He and Raymond would be out on the farm all day even when they were just little boys. In World War II, Jack went into the Navy. His ship went down in a bad storm in the Pacific and he lost his life. It was like the loss of a brother. Across the road from the farm lived Uncle George Carls and his family. George lost his wife with the flu in 1917, about five years before Julia died, and left him with five small children. Grandma Carls helped with George's family for two years and then she died. George then got a housekeeper, who he later married. She stayed with him for a few years and then left. The four daughters took over the housework. Marjorie didn't have any sisters, so she really liked playing with her cousins, especially Celia, who was Marjorie's age and loved to laugh and giggle. When Marjorie was eleven years old Uncle George sold his place and bought a home in Lapeer so Viola, the oldest girl could go to high school. George did not farm. He was a carpenter so it didn't matter where he lived to do his work. Marjorie missed these cousins very much. At about the same time, Uncle Sandy and Aunt Flossie came over from Canada for a visit. Marjorie and Raymond were happy to get a chance to play with their cousins Lorne and Marion. Early on a Sunday morning they took the Canadian cousins for a walk along the railroad track to see the car of the rich people who had just bought a farm about a mile away. They were the Detricks and had a maid and chauffeur to go with their big Packard. This was exciting stuff for poor country kids. After they saw the car, all the kids went back along the tracks toward home. There was a freight train on the side tracks waiting for a passenger train to pass. Marjorie and Raymond has sat on the bank many times and watched the speeding passenger train sail by the waiting freight train and wanted to show their cousins the sight. As the passenger train approached, Raymond heard the engineer on the freight train yell something to his brakeman. The brakeman was new to the job and in a panic threw the switch that brought the fast passenger train down the side track. Raymond said they should get over the fence and run. He pushed little Lorne over first and the rest followed. As Marjorie looked back she could see the tip of the passenger train hit the freight train and both went way up in the air. Much of the wreckage landed where the kids had been sitting. Fred and Uncle Sandy saw the children sitting by the track just before the awful wreck. They thought the children would all be dead. A reporter came from the Flint and Lapeer papers and took the children's picture for the front page. Raymond was a hero. When Marjorie was eleven years old, Grandma Heck got sick and had to go live with her children. So for the next two years Marjorie went to the county school and did the housework. Grandpa Carls and Harold helped with the family washing on Saturdays and she did the ironing after school in the evenings. She loved to keep house and Fred was real proud of her. The country school just went to the eighth grade. Harold had gone to high school by walking out three miles to a main road where he got a ride with two other boys who had a car. When Marjorie and Raymond, who were in the eighth grade together, finished, they had no way to get to a high school. Raymond didn't care because he didn't like school very much and wanted to help his Dad on the farm, but Marjorie, who was an all-A student wanted to go on to high school. Fred asked her to stay home and do the house work for one year and maybe he could figure out a way for her to go to high school. The next year went by and Fred told Marjorie he just didn't have a way to get her to school and he needed her to do the housework. She was very disappointed, but she loved her Dad very much and she loved to keep house. She cooked and cleaned for all the men in her family. She would often sit with a pencil and paper and the Sears Catalog and dream about the nice home she would have some day. She would write down all the nice things and prices from the catalog that she wanted for each room of her dream house. In summers the thrashers would come to help harvest grain, even the two men who never got married and lived in the woods would come to help. During the winter time, every two weeks on Saturday nights the farm neighbors would get together for a dance. They all brought their families. Sometimes there would be fifty or more people. One room in the host house would be cleared out for dancing. Some hostesses would take out the dining room furniture and other times one bedroom was used. One man, Mr. Hazelwood, would play violin and another a guitar or piano if the host family had one. Mr. Judd would call the square dancing. When each man or boy would come in to the party the host family would sell him a number, made by cutting up a page of a calendar, for 25 cents. The money would be used to pay the men who provided the music. Mr. Judd always started out with a two-step when even one would dance, and then he would call out numbers 1-2-3-4 for the first square dance. The men with those numbers chose partners and danced. The rest would watch. Then 5-6-7-8 would be called for the next square and so on. Mothers danced with the sons and fathers with the daughters, so they all learned that way. After a couple of square dances there would be another round dance, may be a waltz or two-step or Scottish. Raymond loved to dance the Scottish and would ask Marjorie to dance with him. Fred would always ask Marjorie for the first and last dance because he did not have a wife like most of the other men. At midnight the sandwiches, cake and jello that everyone brought would be passed around, and then they would dance some more. When Raymond learned to drive the family car, he took Marjorie with him to a dance hall at Miller Lake called "Moonlight Gardens". They also went to dances in Columbiaville. One time Fred took the family to Columbiaville to a medicine show. A traveling man would put on a show and sell all kinds of herbal medicines. Marjorie took her girlfriend, Arlene Siel. Two young men sat behind them. They were Preston Walker and Hilton Tibbits. They started to talk and flirt with Marjorie and her friend. She didn't see them again for a long time, but later when she went to the dances, Hilton would ask her to dance. He asked where she lived and soon after called on her on a Sunday afternoon and ask her to go with him and his friends for a ride in his car. He kept coming to see her. He told his parents what a nice girl she was and how good she could cook. Hilton was going to the Lapeer County Normal Training School in Lapeer where he just had to go one year and then could teach school. He really wanted to go to college and become a lawyer but his father could not send him because of the great depression. When Hilton graduated from County Normal he asked Marjorie to come to the graduation with him and his parents. The summer after graduation he went to Ypsilanti for more training and then took a teaching job. He continued to go to Mt. Pleasant with his brother, Zane, for more credits. His teaching job was in a country school and taught eight grades. He loved teaching. His first job paid $25 a month and had to drive 35 miles to Lum where he taught at Harrington School. He stayed with a family there. The school had an old organ that Hilt and the big boys took apart and made gifts for their mothers from the wood. He had the big girls bring some thread and needles and helped them embroidery some things for their mothers. Hilton was in love with Marjorie and would come to see her all the time. He was 19 and she was 16. He would tell her how he wanted to marry her, but Marjorie was so young and her father needed her to do the housework. She had mixed emotions. She did not know he would be her handsome Prince and fulfill all her dreams. But Hilton knew what he wanted and kept right on insisting they get married. His parents had a Spiegel catalog that allowed you to buy things on time - a new thing in our poor society. Although people would sometimes get a loan from the bank, no one bought on time or had credit cards. Hilton used the Spiegel catalog credit to order a pretty blue silk dress with lace on it and a small diamond ring and wedding ring for Marjorie. He then went to the Courthouse in Lapeer and told them Marjorie was 18 so he could get a marriage license without her father's consent. Nothing was going to stop him. He arranged with the Columbiaville minister, Rev. Bracy, who he liked very much, to marry them in the parsonage and set the date for January 30th (1934). He asked his brother and sister in law, Linden and Glady Tibbits to stand up with them. His parents tried to talk him out of it and Marjorie wasn't a bit sure but she went with him. Her father Fred was in Roseville doing some carpenter work for his brother John for a few days and that is why Hilton thought it was a good time. He didn't want anyone to get in the way of his marrying this girl. After the ceremony Hilton's mother and father had cake and ice cream for us at their home and they stayed there for the night. The next morning they got up early and Hilton took his bride back to her home on the way to the school where he was teaching. When Marjorie got home she told Grandpa Carls what she had done. He was always such a nice calm grandpa and always so good to Marjorie. It was nice to have him to tell things to. She did the housework and got ready to go to the Plums for a potluck dinner with the neighbor ladies. After dinner the ladies, including Marjorie because she was the head of her household, would sit around the quilting frames and quilt. They called this the "Sunshine Club". Marjorie doesn't remember telling them that she had just gotten married. That night Hilton came for supper with our family. Fred had come home and as all sat around the table, he asked "Well, what have you two been up too." Marjorie then knew that he knew, that she had betrayed his trust, and left the table crying. But Fred said to never mind what is done and didn't say any more. Hilton stayed and became part of the family until May when his school was out. Then he wanted the two of us to live by ourselves. Dad and Mother Tibbits owned a little house on 40 acres of land that they had built for him and Glady. It had been empty since they had gotten work in Flint and had moved. It was a new little house with two bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen. There was no electricity or running water for these things were just starting to come to country farms. When all the neighbors knew about the marriage, they had a wedding shower for the couple at Mrs. Dobson's house across the road where Uncle George had lived. All the neighbors who went to the dances came and brought gifts. Dad and Mother Tibbits got some furniture for the little house and the newlyweds had enough to get settled. Hilton got a job with the WPA, a part of the "New Deal" of Franklin Roosevelt to get people back to work and get the country out of the depression. Hilton worked with a group of men to fix the roads with hand shovels and got a small pay check for the summer. Teachers didn't get paid year around then. While Hilton was at work, Marjorie walked two and a half miles over to her Dad's and Grandpa's house to do the washing, ironing and clean the house for them. Raymond was home, but Harold had got a full-time job with a farm family and stayed with them. Marjorie tried to keep up both places but it was too much work and she was lonesome for her family so Raymond came with horses and a wagon and moved them back to her home. Hilton liked Raymond very much. They got a pair of rabbits and raised some more. When fall came, Hilton applied to several schools but did not get a job. Men teachers in country schools was new and mainly women got hired. The Tibbits doctored with Dr. Zemmer who was also the doctor for the Michigan Home and Training School for mentally handicapped people. There were about 2000 people who stayed at this Home. Dr. Zemmer got Hilton a job there that paid $60 a month - more than teaching school. Hilton would work a month on days and then take the night shift for a month. When he was on nights he would want Marjorie to go to work with him and sometimes she did. They would go around with a flashlight and check to see if the men and boys were alright and then they would lay down on the office floor and sleep some and hug and love. Hilton liked Marjorie to be with him at the time. He was a very loving husband. He stayed with this job until the next fall when he got a teaching job at Sweet School for $60 a month. They moved to Miller Lake, rented a nice furnished summer cottage about two miles from the school. Marjorie made this a nice home for them. Hilton loved teaching and had nine classes from kindergarten through 8th grade. He loved to play ball with the pupils at recess time and noon hour and started the first athletic program for country schools in Lapeer County. He would load all his team in our car and play other schools. Once a year he had a field day with contests involving other schools and ribbons for the pupils. This was a big thing for county schools. Hilton worked very hard with these children and the parents liked his teaching so well at Sweet School that at Christmas time they gave him a raise of $20 more a month. The mothers had a Ladies Aid and invited Marjorie to their different homes once a month where they had potluck dinners, quilting, and business meetings. Once a year they had an oyster dinner at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Scholtz who lived next door to the school. They made big boilers of soup and all the ladies brought pies, cakes and other foods. The children from the school came to eat during their lunch time. All the parents were friendly, loving neighbors and were so nice to the young teacher and his new wife. They asked Hilton to teach there again the following year at $100 a month. The country was gradually coming out of the great depression. By 1936 Franklin Roosevelt's new deal was working. When school was out, the people who owned the cottage wanted it back for the summer, so Hilton and Marjorie moved to Hilton's parents’ cottage and later to the house in Columbiaville where Fitzpatrick Insurance now has its office. They made their three rooms look nice with a little paint and paper. Max and Hazel Rice lived in the other half of the building. During this time the old woolen mill which had been closed for years open its doors again and were hiring lots of people. Marjorie put in her application and was hired. Hilton didn't like it, but her hours were about the same as his and they could use the money. She could walk to work and got along fine, working in the weaving room. Then it was decided that everyone should take turns working nights. Hilton didn't want me there at night. She went anyway, leaving him to go to bed by himself, but at midnight she walked out and never went back again. That was the end of her working career. Hilton's brother Zane also went to County Normal and was teaching at Pearsonville School about five miles from Sweet School. On Valentine’s Day Mother Tibbits and Marjorie made freezers of homemade ice cream and cake for all of Zane and Hilton's students. At Christmas time it was little bags of candy and nuts and a wrapped gift for all of the 30-40 students. These were Hilton's ideas; he loved doing things for these children. Grandma in Canada died at about this time. Marjorie's Aunt Jane wanted Marjorie to go over with her until the funeral. Then Fred, Hilton, Uncle John and family would come for the funeral. So many people in Canada had polio that fall and Hilton did not want her to go, but she felt that Aunt Jane should not go alone. The undertaker said they should just keep Grandma at the Uncle Sandy and Aunt Flossie's house where she died and have the funeral there. Aunt Jessie's family had polio and couldn't go to the funeral. Grandpa and Katie had died a few years before and Uncle Gordon got married and lived in Grandma's house while she had gone over to take care of Uncle Neil's family after his wife left him with three little boys. She went away with another man. So Grandma, being the great lady she was, took care of this family and this is where she got sick. Uncle Sandy brought her to his house and she died a few days later. She was in her seventies. Hilton came for the funeral and took Marjorie home with him. The next day he borrowed his Dad's car and Marjorie drove their car so that they could take the school baseball team to the Imlay City Fair for a playoff game between the two best county schools. When Hilton was busy looking after all this, Marjorie went to the car for a sleep because she didn't feel very well. He came to the car once in a while to see how she felt. When she was feeling a little better, she walked over by a snake show. The next thing she knew people were saying "Stand back and give her some air." Marjorie had fainted and was lying on the ground. When she tried to get back up she fell back again. Some people took her to a first aid station and found Hilton. He was worried that she had polio and took her to Dr. Zemmer for an examination. The doctor said she was just tired from the funeral and would be alright. Aunt Jessie's family got over their polio without anyone being crippled, but what a stress that disease was to everyone in those days. Hilton taught at Sweet School for three years and then moved to Elba School. It was a larger school and then after his first year added a second room and teacher. They paid higher wages too. Hilton took the older students and the other teacher the younger ones. Hilton's big county field day and sports program grew and he was known by all the county schools. He taught there three years and then applied for the LeValley School which was closer to Columbiaville. He got the job and he and Marjorie moved back into the little house on Flint River Road that they had the first summer they were married. This time it had electricity and running water. Dad Tibbits said they could buy this house and 40 acres of land and pay him like rent. They had been married for six years with no babies. The Lord was good to them. Marjorie felt it was her angel in heaven looked after her during that time when they were so young and had no money and no good way to keep from getting pregnant. But now that they had a nice little house and good job, they began to wonder why. The Doctor thought her uterus was tipped, but soon after the examination Marjorie got pregnant for their first baby. They were both very happy. Both his brothers Linden and Gordon had girls, and Hilton knew his would be a boy. Sure enough. They had a baby boy and named him Clark Douglas Tibbits. Marjorie loved bathing, dressing and caring for this baby. Three years later the Lord was good to them again and they had a baby girl, named Ann … Tibbits. Since they lived in the country with few close neighbors, Clark could hardly wait for the new baby and from the very beginning he played with her and all their lives they have loved being together. When Hilton was teaching at Elba School his father got him to start selling casualty insurance with the Pioneer Insurance Company. In the Spring before Clark was born, Hilton and Marjorie got a nice new car and agreed to help drive the senior class at Columbiaville High School to Washington DC for their senior trip. They had a good time. Later when Hilton went out with the car to sell some insurance another car pulled out in front of him. Hilton's car turned over in a deep ditch and he was thrown out. He was unconscious when a farmer who saw the accident called for an ambulance. Hilton's skull was cracked and he had to stay in bed for a few weeks while it healed. Marjorie usually went with Hilton when he made insurance calls, but this time her guardian angel was watching over them and she did not go. She was six months pregnant with Clark and had she been in the accident they might have lost the first baby that they had looked forward to having for so long. Hilton soon started selling life as well as casualty insurance. He said that when he could make one hundred dollars a month selling insurance he was going to quit teaching school. His brother Gordon had a small fire insurance business, and he let Hilton have this when he moved to Flint. Then Hilton bought another insurance business from a Mrs. Daley and things went pretty well. Hilt and Marge made plans to build on to their house. They put a bath in one bedroom and built a new bedroom with an office for insurance and a garage underneath. Things went real well, but the business suffered when gas was rationed because of the war, When Clark was born this put Hilton in a different class with the draft board. Then he got a job in Flint at Buick where they were making war material. After Ann was born, with two children and working on a defense job, Hilton didn't have to go to war. Hilton was a great planner and when the war was over he made plans to have a dealership for Plymouth and DeSoto cars and Case farm equipment. Hilton's brother Zane went in with him as a partner in Columbiaville. One day Hilton came home all excited and wanted Marge to pack a lunch and take the children to go with him to some land, just outside of Columbiaville, to see where he would like to build a home. He found out that a Professor at the University of Michigan, a Mr. Nickelson, owned the land. Hilton contacted him and bought forty acres. The children always wanted to go there and have picnics and they would say "Let's go to our acres and have a picnic." So this is how the farm was named "Our Acres". Mr. Nickelson liked Hilt and asked him if he would look after the rest of his farms that he owned around Columbiaville. This was the land that Mr. Peters had owned and farmed when he built Columbiaville in the 1800's. Hilton had played in Peters' big barns when he was a little boy. Hilt got some men to take the old barns down and Mr. Nickelson gave him some of the big old beams, so Hilt had a bam built on Our Acres. When Ann was five years old we built a house at Our Acres and sold the land and home on Hint River Road. Clark didn't want to move because he loved the river and the places where he and Ann played there. But he didn't like to ride the school bus, and soon Ann would have to ride a long way on it too. The house they built was beautiful, it was like a dream house. Hilton had planned the house in such a pretty setting so that the big trees shaded it. Marge bought some new furniture. It was the dream-come-true that she had had when she was a little girl of a wonderful husband, a little boy and girl, and a nice home. A true Cinderella story. And good things kept happening. The Insurance business grew and Hilton bought out Ray McPherson's little insurance business. There was one desk for insurance at the office of the auto dealers business. Before they built the new house, when Ann was three and Clark was six, Hilton said he had saved a little money. He and Marge took one of the big new cars, a DeSoto Suburban, and he bought a new house trailer. They were going to take a trip to California that winter. The plan was to sell the car and trailer when they got there to make some money, and then take the train home. They had planned to stay six weeks. Zane was going to look after the business. So they packed up the house trailer on a pretty day in January and started for California. When they got down in Indiana in the evening, they saw a trailer park and had to go down a little hill to park there for the night. When they got parked they all got in the trailer and got the little oil stove going. It was a new stove and there was a smell of oil. Ann was sitting to the table in the trailer putting a puzzle together said she didn't feel too good. Before Marge could get anything she had thrown up all the food she had eaten all day. Marge got her cleaned up, but she still looked sick, so Hilt said he would take Clark and go out and get some supper at a restaurant and bring some home for Marge and Ann. Marge got Ann ready for bed. When Hilt and Clark came back they ate and all settled down for the night. Pretty soon Clark said he didn't feel good and up it all came. They got him cleaned up, but he was so sick he told Ann that if he died before they got to California she could have all his money (about ten dollars he had saved). Hilt said they should turn off the little stove because he thought it was the smell that made the kids sick. They covered the kids real good and settled down for the night. During the night it snowed. The next morning they all got dressed and got in the new car, but the car could not get up the little hill. Hilton went to a garage and they put some chains on the car and finally got going. The children were still sick and Hilton had a little infection in his thumb he thought it would be all right. But his thumb was getting real swollen and the kids were so sick that Marge said they should go home. Hilton said no, that they should go to a doctor instead. The doctor gave the kids some medicine and looked at Hilton's thumb. He also gave them the name of a doctor to see in Rola, Missouri, where they were going to stop that night. The second night of the trip was spent in Rola, Missouri, where they got a motel room. They all went to a little restaurant and the kids thought they could eat some toast and a egg in a glass, so Marge asked and the cook made it for them. Hilton took them back to the room and he went to the doctor for his thumb. Hilton said this doctor was the biggest man he had ever seen. The doctor sat on a stool and the nurse did everything for him. They opened Hilton's thumb and let the infection out, dressed it, and Hilt returned to the motel. The Tibbits all slept very well, so they didn't sleep in the trailer again until they got to Phoenix. When they stopped the next night, Hilton went to a doctor that the doctor in Rola had told him about where they dressed his thumb again. His thumb began to feel better and the kids both felt fine. Soon they were all singing "California here we come" again. They stopped at Carlsbad Caverns, and then went on to Phoenix, Arizona were they stayed in a trailer park. Now the sun was shining and it was nice and warm so the children could play outside. Hilton bought a paper, looked at some ads and said they should go out to a horse ranch. It was a beautiful ranch. Hilton liked a one-year old stallion and asked them how much money they wanted for it. Then told them he would take it. He made arrangements for it to be shipped by train in the spring when they got back home. Hilton paid five hundred dollars for this beautiful golden horse. The man he bought it from seemed to really like Hilton and told him where to go in the San Fernando Valley so they could visit other people who had bought golden horses from him. One was Roy Rogers! The Tibbits stayed in Phoenix for two weeks. They went up to the Grand Canyon and stayed overnight. When they moved on to California, they found a trailer park in San Fernando Valley with an English walnut grove, where they could pick up the walnuts and eat them. Hilton took Clark out to Roy Rogers' ranch. Roy wasn't home, but his people at tire Ranch brought the famous Trigger out and Clark had his picture taken with him. This was a big thrill to this Michigan boy who had been to see Roy Rogers' movies. The Tibbits stayed there a few days and then went on to San Diego where they took a picnic lunch to the San Diego Zoo. Then they got in touch with Mel Southerby and his family who used to live in Columbiaville. They took Hilton and Marge to Tijuana for the evening while Clark and Ann stayed with their children. They also went to a real Cowboy Rodeo in California. From there they went on up to San Francisco where they knew a fellow who sold cars and they thought they would buy the car and trailer from him. Well, they couldn't get enough money for the trailer and wouldn't make a profit on the car, so they put a 'For Sale' sign in the window of the trailer and started for home. When they got back in New Mexico they sold the trailer for a nice profit and drove the new car back home. On the way, the kids came down with the Chicken Pox. They weren't very sick and went into restaurants, so Marge always thought she had given Chicken Pox to half of the U.S.A. It was still a wonderful trip. In the spring, the beautiful golden horse arrived, in his own box with lots of straw, by train in Lapeer. Hilton went down to Lapeer to get him. The press was there and there were lots of people to see this horse. Later there was a nice write up in the paper. This was just what Hilton wanted. People began to come with their mares and he made nice stud fees. Hilton bought a nice chestnut mare and raised wonderful colts that the sold for a big price. The horse paid for himself many times and Hilton just loved him. The Tibbits had him for twenty some years and then he was buried on the farm down by the front lake under the big rock. Hilton had the car and farm equipment dealership about for five years and went on with the insurance business all the time on the side. He worked very long and hard hours with the car business, so he thought he should sell it and just do the insurance. He ran an ad in the paper and soon sold the business. The insurance business was moved to the basement of the new house and Marge and Hilt also began to raise some sheep, cattle, and horses. Hilton had great knowledge as to how to make money at every turn and soon they had the new house all paid for and some money in the bank. They bought some more land from Mr. Nickelson and soon had one hundred and fifty acres of land with two pretty lakes. They made the lake in the back of the farm first. They were all thrilled with it. They bought some bluegill and bass minnows and by the first spring they had fish big enough to eat. There was also a low place closer to the house and Hilton decided they could make lake there too. Lyle Ide came with his big digger and they soon had another lake. The years rolled along. Hilton was on the school board, formed and ran a baseball league for young boys in nearby towns. Clark played on the Columbiaville team, Ann helped keep score, and Hilton coached the team. Hilton joined the Rotary Club when it was first started in Columbiaville and worked hard with the club members. As a Rotarian, he started the "Columbiaville Horse Show" and invited Governor "Soapy" Williams to come to the show. It was the largest group of people ever in Columbiaville. Marge and Hilton had the Governor for lunch at their house because there wasn't a restaurant in town. He came with his aides, a police escort, and the Chairman of the Democratic Party for Lapeer County. The Governor rode in a horse and buggy in the parade that started the show. Hilton led the parade with Golden Glow and everyone enjoyed seeing his beautiful horse. Hilton didn't put Golden Glow in the show because he was so outstanding and Hilton didn't think it was fair to have him win when Hilton was running the show. The Columbiaville Rotary Club made a good amount of money at the show by serving hot dogs and coffee. It was all a very big success. Hilton was always a wonderful planner with incredible foresight. He suggested that the Rotarians use the money from the horse show to buy some property on Gilbert Street where they had the horse show. The Rotarians had this property made into lots. Hilton got a builder to put up homes on these lots that were just shells and the people could buy them cheap and finish the house themselves. All the homes on Gilbert Street were the result of this foresight that Hilton had. Using the money from selling the houses, Hilton suggested that the Rotarians buy the old N.Y. Railroad Depot that was empty after the train had stopped running. The Depot building, built by Mr. Peters, was more than 100 years old and had pretty beveled glass windows and nice architecture. The Rotarians bought the building and Hilton had a carpenter make a meeting room, bathrooms, a kitchen, and one room to rent to a branch of the Lapeer County Library. Marge helped to decorate the inside and it is a beautifully restored Historical Building to this day. Then Hilton made himself a committee of one to get some new businesses in Columbiaville. He found out who owned the Old Woolen Mill that had been closed for years. The windows were all broken out and everyone said it should be torn down. But the owner, Mr. Tanner, had great faith in Hilton because he had a way of getting things done. Mr. Tanner said for Hilton to go ahead and fix it up and he would get an auto parts machine shop he had an interest in to come up there. Hilton hired the Staley boys, who didn't have any work, and they worked real hard and soon the factory was going and they all had good jobs there. They made parts and painter parts for the Ford Motor Co. The insurance business grew and so did Clark and Ann. They were good students, and Marge and Hilt worked hard to pay for their house and get some money ahead to send the kids to college. There was just one thing missing. Grandma McLachlin had a deep sense of religion and she passed this on to Marge when she was a little girl. She had told Marge that her mother was in Heaven and would look after her and Marge would always feel that she was with her. Therefore, Marge wanted to part of a church and raise her children with that same faith. She would ask Hilton about going to church with her, but being the busy man and good husband and father that he was, he would say that she should go and take the kids. But Marge didn't want to do this so she would just pray that he might want to go with her. And her prayers were answered. Their good friends were urging them to come to church with them and soon they got in the habit. Hilton was always a good giver, even when they didn't go to church and soon he got interested and loved the friends, fellowship, and learning about God and His goodness.
[I hope as the years go by that our grandchildren and their children who might read this little book might keep the faith and know when you look up to the Heavens, there is a supreme being.]
Mother and Dad Tibbits were wonderful people. They were always there to babysit the kids. They always had Marge and Hilt for family get-togethers, for Christmas dinner, and suppers at the cottage at Miller Lake. Mother Tibbits seemed like a mother to Marge. She didn't have any girls, just the four boys, so she and Marge would do lots of things that mothers and daughters do. When Marge was pregnant for Clark, Grandpa Carls died. When Marge knew she was pregnant, he was the first person Hilton and Marge told, the same as he was the one she told first when she got married. He was a quiet loving man to talk with. He played lots of solitaire when he grew older and always seemed so wise. Marjorie wished she had talked more with him about his life in Germany, his parents and his early life. Back when Hilton and Marjorie moved to Miller Lake, Marjorie's brother Raymond got a job doing iron work as his dad and brother, Harold, had done. Raymond met Maxine and got married; they had a boy and a girl named Bob and Janet. Raymond, like his dad, loved the farm and bought a farm on LeValley Road in Columbiaville and he farmed and worked at the iron works, driving to Flint and Detroit were there was work. At the same time, Marjorie's dad Fred got remarried to a lady who had never been married, Rita Romans. She had come from West Virginia to visit her sister and sister's husband who was an oil well driller; Fred was leasing his land in Lapeer County to the oil company. Fred met Rita and soon they were married, which was nice for him and Grandpa Carls as they were living alone. Rita was younger than Fred (about twenty years younger). She and Fred lived on what was once Grandpa's farm, which was then Fred's farm. When Grandpa got sick the last couple years of his life, Rita took good care of him. It was nice for Marjorie for she now knew her dad was not so lonesome as she used to see him when she was a little girl. When her dad was sixty-nine years old he died very suddenly with a heart attack. He was buried on Hilton and Marjorie's twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, January 30th, 1959. The young Tibbits family did a lot of nice things over the years. Hilton always put some money aside and they had some nice vacations to Niagara Falls, Washington D. C, and Florida. They took a new Buick to Florida for a dealer after Christmas and came home on the train so the kids would have a ride on a train. They had fun in Florida in the winter, stopping off to visit Professor Nickelson and his wife Helen, who we had bought Our Acres from. We also would go up to Lake Michigan to the Nickelson's cottage with them for nice summer vacations. They used to tell Marjorie and Hilton what great children they had and how Ann and Clark played so good together and didn't quarrel. Marjorie and Hilton were very proud of their children themselves. The years rolled by. Ann took piano lessons, did cheerleading in school, played basketball, and was soon helping her dad some in the office. Clark was in school plays, played basketball, worked for a short time for the undertaker Herb Reynolds, and then at the Drug Store. They were mostly all A students and both graduated Salutatorian of their classes. The first summer after Clark graduated from high school he went down to work at Kemper Insurance Company in Ohio. He met a professor and students from Bowling Green who encouraged Clark to come there to college. So he started college while Ann started her first year of high school. Marjorie and Hilton enjoyed having Clark at B.G.S.U., and went down for Parents' day every year. Clark was a very good student. Marjorie's father had died in January of the year Clark started college, and the following September, Hilton's father died, both very suddenly. They missed both of them very much. Hilton's father was a former rural mail carrier and still brought the mail up to Hilt's office every day where he helped some in the insurance office. He was real proud of Hilton's success and was a wonderful person. Mother Tibbits missed him so much, and since she never drove the car, she and Marjorie became even closer. Marjorie would do her house cleaning, plant a big flower bed for her each spring, get all her groceries, and help her with her entertaining. She was a pleasant lady to be with and she loved to watch Dean Martin on TV. He did have a wonderful show and a great voice. Marjorie and Hilton made some of his records into tapes, which bring back fond memories of Mother Tibbits. Marjorie can still see her smile when she would talk about him and watch his show. Ann graduated from high school and Clark from Bowling Green the same year, with Clark again second in his class and Ann in hers. Marjorie and Hilton were very proud of them. Ann gave the same speech Hilton gave at his graduation thirty-two years earlier, as she said with great pride in her speech. The first summer Clark was at B.G.S.U., he and two of his high school friends drove out to California and got jobs at Disneyland. So at the end of the summer, Hilton and Marjorie got tickets to go to California. They left from Lapeer on a train with sleeping compartment, one bunk bed above the other. When the porter came to make up the beds at night and Hilton said just make the one on the bottom up, the porter rolled his eyes. Marjorie thought the porter thought they were just married and they let him think so. They had a great time on the train, the dining was in a dome car and everything was served so nice and the scenery was beautiful. When they got there, Clark picked them up at the station and they stayed in Clark's apartment and went to Disneyland the next day with them. They were so thrilled seeing Disneyland and having Clark and Ian Hunter show them around Los Angeles. Then they came home with the boys up the California coast and across the northern United States to Yellowstone and home. Grandma Hattie stayed home with Ann. By then Marjorie and Hilton had a new Lincoln and .Ann had just gotten her driver's license, so she and Grandma Hattie went some places together. The fall after they both graduated, Ann started at B.G.S.U., and Clark went to Harvard. Well, no one from Columbiaville ever went to Harvard before, and Marjorie cried when he left. They were such happy tears. He would be so far away and Ann away to Bowling Green. But Hilton won a free trip from Kemper Insurance, first for a flight on a plane to Chicago, and after a big celebration for Kemper's Fiftieth Anniversary, on the train to New York and then on a cruise ship to Bermuda. They had never been on a cruise and went first class - Kemper owned the ship! They were so thrilled and had a wonderful time. Hilton rented a horse and carriage in Bermuda to take them all over. The driver was so proud of his horse and soon Hilton was visiting with him and he told them so many interesting things. It was like a wonderful honeymoon for them after twenty-five years of marriage. What a fairyland Margie was living in, with two children in college and a cruise to Bermuda all her dreams and more than she could imagine were coming true. A real Cinderella story. Marjorie knew she had a guardian angel, her faith grew and she promised to God to do all she could to make this a better world. She knew people who expected to find God by reading the scriptures as if it were a textbook. The truth is that the Lord is spirit and as such must be worshipped in spirit. The Lord's spirit brings thoughts of things past, present, and future through impressions and symbols. He chooses to instruct and guide in our daily lives. We need a personal spiritual fellowship with Christ if we are to know him as our Lord. They needed Sunday school teachers in the church in Columbiaville, and Marjorie thought she would try it. She knew that with God's help she could do it and did for several years. More and more children came each year. Then when Hilton retired, he and Marjorie took an adult class which they both enjoyed it very much. That class grew too, until it was the largest adult class the church ever had. Hilton made a great leader, and they had a great hour with the class each Sunday before church started. The Tibbits volunteered to take missionary students who would come and stay one year in the church and help the pastor and work with the youth groups. For three different years they had one stay with them. The last one was Doug De Merchant. He was an outstanding young man who soon seemed like one of the family. The church grew, and Doug will never be forgotten by the young people he helped. The church loved Our Acres. Once or twice a year the Sunday service would be back at the lake on Sunday morning and there would be a big picnic after the service. One time while everyone was sitting quiet during the service, a large flock of Canada geese came and landed on the lake, just like it was time to come to church. Now in the 1990s Clark is making this land a sanctuary (called the Hilton and Marjorie Tibbits Land Stewardship Center). My grandchildren and their children who may read this book will know that their Grandpa and Grandma sat back there and prayed with all their friends as the church service was going on. I used to say that the front of the farm along Columbiaville Road is Our Acres but the land around the back lake (Lake Marge) is God's Acres. In 1990, ten thousand evergreen trees were planted. Hilton was so excited when he would tell me about his plan to make the road back there and put blue spruce trees at the outer edge of the evergreen planting surrounding the lake down in the center of the hills. And now because of Clark's efforts, the animals and birds can all be free to live there with God. After they went to Bermuda, the Tibbits made a trip out to Boston, with Raymond and Maxine, to visit Clark. They had a great time and later went to Bowling Green to visit Ann again on Parents' Day. Two years slid by and soon they all planned a trip to go out to Harvard for graduation. They went through Canada to Niagara Falls. They stayed the night there, had dinner up in the high restaurant over the falls, then went on to Boston. They had a nice dinner with Clark's friends and their parents. Then during graduation they sat outside on a beautiful day and saw this young man walk up for his diploma from Harvard. Marge knew that she was the only mother sitting there who had only gone to the 8th grade in school. But she also knew that her career as a mother, wife and homemaker was successful. The Tibbits went on to New York the next day. They went to the World's Fair, to the Stork Club for Ann's birthday, and really had fun as four adults. Being country folks in New York City was fun in itself. Ann and Marjorie got off the subway in the middle of New York coming back from the Fair to shop at Macy's. They thought they could get a cab back to the hotel, but all the cabs passed them by. They went back to catch the subway and asked which way to go and got off at the right place. Marjorie thought they really must have looked like country folks. They were really thankful they did not live in New York! They took Clark back to Boston where he took a flight to Germany for the summer. The excuse was to study the German language, and have fun. Marjorie was sure that he did. She thought he got an education in other things also, for crossing Europe on his way home he traveled with a young lady. When he got home in the fall he started at the University of Michigan to work on his Ph.D. When the Tibbits were travelling out to Harvard, Ann was doing a lot of talking about Larry (Lawrence of Arabia). She was also talking about not going back to Bowling Green. She thought two years of college would be enough and Larry was talking about getting married. Hilton and Marjorie agreed if that was what she wanted then it was fine with them. Hilton suggestion she go to Lansing and write the insurance exam so she would be able to work with insurance if she ever wanted to. She did and passed the test. Marjorie and Hilton invited Larry's parents, Naomi and John, over for a Sunday dinner and found them to be wonderful people. Larry was studying in Flint and would finish in January. He and Ann thought this would be the time to get married. Hilton and Marjorie suggested they get married in the fall because the weather might be so bad in January. So the date was set for the weekend of Thanksgiving. It was a pretty wedding, and they all had fun planning it. Larry finished his course and started working at Chevrolet Motors, where he is still working today. The summer before he went to Harvard, Clark worked for the Romney for Governor Campaign, where he met a pretty red haired Romney girl and talked a lot about her. Three years later, on Mother’s Day, he said he would like to bring this Peggy Cummings and her parents for dinner. They did and announced their engagement. They were married in August and left for a honeymoon in Banff and Lake Louise in Canada. Then they got teaching jobs in Corvallis, Oregon. When they settled in Oregon and wrote how beautiful it had been in Banff, Marjorie and Hilton made plans to go on the train in October. Larry and Ann took them to Port Huron to get on the train that took them to Toronto, where they got on the Canadian Pacific. Again they had a nice little compartment, ate in the dome dining room, and had a wonderful time. When they got to Banff they rented a car and toured the beautiful countryside. The first night in their hotel, Hilton went up to the front desk and asked about going to Lake Louise. An older couple was asking the same question. The buses had stopped running there, so Marjorie asked Hilton to ask the couple to ride up with them, because they seemed so disappointed. So Hilton asked them and the next morning they left together for Lake Louise. They had a nice day, and were surprised to find out the older couple were a Lord and Lady from England. Years later Marjorie and Hilton enjoyed a nice dinner with them in London. When they were back in Banff one day they got box chicken dinners and had a nice picnic. They enjoyed each other so much. This was another dream and honeymoon come true. Hilton and Marjorie went on to Oregon, visited Clark and Peggy, and went home across the US again having a wonderful time. The train took them right back to Columbiaville. Having lived by the railroad when she was a little girl, Marjorie was always thrilled with trains and used to dream about where they go and what people did on them. Hilton felt the same way because long ago, before TV and radio, the arrival of the train every day in Columbiaville was a big thing. This is why they loved the train so much - it was a connection with the rest of the world. Two weeks before Clark and Peggy were married, Ann and Larry had a baby boy. Craig was our first grandchild and what a joy he was to all of them. Hilt and Marge had made a subdivision on our land next to Columbiaville. It was called Our Acres Subdivision, with Golden Glow Drive curving through it .They also bought an old house next to the subdivision that has been the old Peters’ farm house. The house was done over just when Ann and Larry were married. They saw how nice it turned out, asked to buy it, and moved in after they were married. It was wonderful to have them close by, with the new baby that the grandparents could see every day. A year later Clark and Peggy came home from Oregon for the summer with the news they were joining the Peace Corps and were leaving for Africa the day after Christmas. Clark had ear surgery to cover a hole in his ear drum and in the fall they went to California to take a language course for the little country of Lesotho. The whole family had Christmas together. Craig was a pretty white haired little boy and learning to walk. A young Black man who had been teaching the Lesotho language to Clark and Peggy was also there, along with John and Naomi, Clare and Peg Cummings and Grandma Hattie. It was a great Christmas day. Clark and Peggy left the next day for two years in Lesotho. The tears rolled! But everyone had faith they would make a difference in the world. Many things happened during the next two years while they were away. Marge and Hilt decided to build a new house up on the hill where they would often sit after feeding the sheep. They had dreamed about how beautiful it would be to live there and look out over the farm. They also wanted a new office room for the insurance business. Their old house of 20 years sold very quickly. Plans were drawn up and the new house started. They were so excited to think of being in it before Christmas. In October of that year (1969) Marjorie's brother Raymond, who she had been so close to all of her life, was killed by an accident with a crane that he owned and operated in Hint. She felt like part of her was buried with him when he was laid to rest in the Oregon Cemetery next to Marjorie and Raymond's mother and dad. The health of Mother Tibbits also started to fail. This was hard to bear because she had been like a mother to Marjorie. The good news was that Ann and Larry were expecting another baby. Life goes on. The new home was once again like a dream come true. Hilton had a nice new office from which he could look down on the farm he loved so much. The next spring 10,000 spruce trees were ordered and a young man with a tree planter came to put them in. Hilton drew the plans for the trees with blue spruce around the outer edges. They hoped they would live long enough to see the beauty of what they were doing, and they did. After two years Clark and Peggy came home to see the new house and all the little trees and to tell all the good news that they were going to have a baby. So Troy was born in June of 1969 and Nathan was born a year later in September. Both were fine healthy babies. Clark and Peggy picked out a nice spot on the back lake and built a house. When it was finished they moved in with their new baby. Now the grandparents had three baby boys they could see every day. About three years later, in October, Matthew was born and became a fourth boy living on the farm. At about this time a nice young field man came to our office from Kemper Insurance Company. Hilton came around to the kitchen and said, “Let’s ask this young man to have lunch with us.” It was clear why Hilton liked him so much, and when he was leavin g after lunch Hilton asked him if he would like to come to work in our agency and buy into the business so Hilton could think about retiring. Hilton was busy as one of seven on the new County Commission formed to run Lapeer County. Hilton had also been doing income tax for himself and helping some of his friends with their taxes. This was a new thing for rural people, who used to laugh about the rich having to pay income taxes. It had hit everyone. Companies were withholding taxes and people were anxious to get some of it back. Soon Hilton started helping many people and charging for the service. From December to April he worked late in the evenings. He was happy when Denny Fitzpatrick came back in about two weeks and said he would like to be part of our business. He brought his new bride, Peggy. They were looking for a baby and had moved to Michigan from Iowa. Peggy's mother had died with cancer when Peggy was eleven years old. Marjorie's heart went out to her because she had also lost her mother at a young age. The Fitzpatricks moved into Grandma Hattie's house that was empty since she went to a convalescence home. When Lori Fitzpatrick was born, Hilton and Marjorie went to the hospital to support them and had Peggy bring the new baby girl to our house where they stayed for a week or so. It was fun to be grandma and grandpa to a baby girl. In about three years Denny and Peggy had a baby boy named Chad. They were nice little additions to the Tibbits family. There were now six grandchildren with all the birthdays and holiday get-togethers. It was fun in the wintertime to live on the hill and sled down and be pulled back up by snowmobiles. Marjorie really came to know what the word "grand" meant. Grandchildren were in and out each day, everyone was so busy, and the years just flew by. Clark and Peggy went back to Africa for two years, where Clark was setting up a business course at the university in Lesotho. They rented out their house and took their two little boys with them. Hilton and Marjorie travelled through England and Scotland and then took a ship to southern Africa. They stayed about a month with Clark's family and had a wonderful time. They flew to South America on their way home. Marjorie could not believe she was doing all these things in faraway places with strange sounding names. She could remember when as a little girl the automobile had just become available for people to buy. She also thought of the thrill of running out to see an airplane when they heard it coming. Now she had flown half way around the world and men had walked on the moon. Radio too, with sound traveling unseen through the air, was such a thrill and mystery. Her Dad was the first person to buy a radio in their farm neighborhood. It was an Atwater Kent, with a horn and operated on batteries. This was 1930 and electricity had not yet come to rural Michigan. Neighbor friends would come and sit around and listen to this wonder. Then when Clark and Ann were small, people were talking about television. Now pictures too could be sent through the air like sound, first in black and white and then in color. In 1980, when Troy was about 10 years old and they were staying overnight with their Grandma and Grandpa Evans, the police came to tell Naomi that John had been killed in an auto accident. John had just retired from GM and was returning home from Lapeer when a young man went through a stop sign and hit his car broadside. Naomi died two months later. The doctors said she died of a broken heart. These deaths were shocking and sad. Because Larry was an only child, Marjorie and Hilton had become good friends with his parents and the two families got together for birthdays and holidays and even vacationed together in Jamaica. Clark and Peggy and their boys returned to the farm to live after their stay in Africa, but they soon decided to move again to North Carolina. Hilt and Marge started going to Florida for three months each winter and would stop to visit Clark's family both going down and coming back up to Michigan. Denny moved the insurance office to a building in town and the business continue to grow. They built a house next to the farm, and Ann and Larry built a new house in Our Acres Subdivision. Hilton was really enjoying his time away from insurance and doing projects on the farm. He was Chairman of the Mental Health Board and remained active in civic affairs. Marge and Hilt started a big beautification campaign for Columbiaville, working with young people to make them proud of the little town they lived in. Their motto was the prayer "Others":
"Lord help me live from day to day, In such a self-forgetful way, That even when I kneel to pray, My prayers shall be for Others.
Help me in all the work I do, To ever be sincere and true, And know that all I'd do for you, Must need be done for Others.
Let 'self be crucified and slain, And buried deep and all in vain, May efforts be to rise again, Unless to live for Others.
And when my work on earth is done, And my new work in heaven's begun, May I forget the Crown I've won, While thinking still of Others.
Let this my motto be. Help me to live for Others. That I may live like Thee."
Hilton was a great person to help a lot of people, with both good advice and money. His and Marjorie's hearts went out to people in trouble because they too were poor when they were growing up. And they were grateful for their good fortune. Hilton was on the United Way Board for years, and he and Marjorie helped deliver presents and baskets of food and fruit at Christmas, but kept the giving under their own tree very simple. Christmas dinners were enjoyed with all the family. They gathered around the table after dinner to play cards or bingo with the little ones and winners and losers alike could reach into a sack of little prizes. They will all remember the Easter hunt when they would hide gifts on the farm and Ann would write a funny poem about where they could be found. Marjorie always gave kites because she loved to see them fly over the hills of the farm in springtime. And they will remember the gifts of trips to Florida and Jamaica that Grandpa Hilt gave them at Christmas. He was so generous to share his good fortune with his family and other people. In 1980 when Hilton was 66 years old he went to the doctor for tests. They found cancer and suggested radiation to be followed by surgery. The high hopes and faith of both Hilt and Marge help him to live well for the next three years. Their 50 wedding anniversary was coming up in January of 1984 and the fall before Clark and Ann planned a big party to celebrate. What a beautiful party it was, with all the relatives and friends there. Hilton and Marjorie started the dancing with a graceful waltz. Hilt had had a cough for two weeks before and held off going to the doctor until after the celebration. Tests showed that the cancer was back again. More tests were done and more radiation, but he died on December 12, 1983. Marjorie was happy for him because he did not have to be sick and bedridden for long (the Lord was good to such a great guy), but her heart was broken. After Christmas Clark and his family went back to North Carolina. She was alone in the big house. But the Lord had other plans. She volunteered at the hospital three days a week and did everything she could think of to keep busy. When she was alone in the house though, she would cry from lonesomeness and missing him. The next winter she asked a good friend who was a widow also (Ethel Farnsworth) to go to Florida with her for company. She volunteered at a resale shop that benefited abused children, and there she met a nice widowed man who also had been married for 50 years. They danced and went to theaters and he asked her to marry him, but she wasn't ready and went back to Michigan in the spring. And was again alone in the big house and wanted to die, to be with Hilton. But then a wonderful thing happened to answer her prayers. The phone rang and a wonderful voice said how he knew about me from friends telling his son. He said his wife had died of cancer. He asked to take Marjorie out to dinner and she went. I wondered what this Dr. Max Sherman, a blind date, would look like and what he would be like. It was May. Marjorie got dressed for the dinner, stirred up some fresh orange juice and soon the doorbell rang. A friendly, smiling man was standing at the door. She asked him in and offered a glass of juice. They sat out on the beautiful patio overlooking the farm and got acquainted. They went to Detroit for dinner and he asked if he could come again. He liked to play cards and so she invited him to go with her to her 500 Card Club. Everyone there seemed to really like Max because he was so friendly. He came again with tickets for the theater in Detroit, and again for a Tiger baseball game. He had lots of fun things planned for them to do. When Marjorie told Max that a male friend from Florida was coming to Michigan soon, he asked her to call him when the visit was over because he was serious about her. She did and he came back with brochures for an intercostal trip by ship to Alaska. He wanted them to go as husband and wife. Marjorie knew he was as lonesome as she was and she agreed. The wedding date was set for June 29th. Ann and Clark were pleased because they liked Max and didn't want their mother to be alone. Marjorie and Max were married on the patio of her home with both families there. Everyone went to Flint for a nice dinner. A month later they went to Alaska and the Canadian Rockies for their honeymoon. They also went to Niagara Falls because Max said all newlyweds should go there. And they traveled again to Wisconsin to see the house on a rock there. Max was fun to be with and so good to Marjorie that she knew she had found another Prince Charming and was falling in love for a second time. Max and his first wife Vivian had five children, three boys and adopted twin girls. When they adopted the twins they had five children under 10 years of age. All the children are now married, and Marjorie now has 9 more grandchildren, eight girls and a boy, to love and help raise to become happy adults. The first summer they were married Marjorie had to make a big decision. They were trying to live in both his house and hers and soon found this going back and forth would never work. Knowing that Max was happier in his house on the lake and that she would still feel broken hearted for Hilton in her house, Marjorie agreed to move. The house sold in the fall and after a big auction to sell the furniture she moved into Max's house. They went to Florida for the winter and the following spring she began working on Max's house to make it a home. There was a lot to be done because Vivian had been sick for many years. After having it painted and doing the decorating herself, Marjorie felt good about being there. It is a pretty place, with a nice garden and the lake for swimming and fishing. They do lots of entertaining in this nice home and she is very happy with Max. They have taken wonderful trips to England, Norway, Ireland, California, Hawaii and Galapagos Islands. They bought a condo in Florida together and we have a good time there every winter with our friends. They stop in North Carolina coming and going to visit Clark and Peggy and boys, and this year in South Carolina to visit Max's son Bob and his wife Carol. Marjorie thanks God each day for all of her family and Max's family and all of their many friends, which grew in number with their marriage. Her advice to all of her family is to take charge of your own life, keep yourself healthy, with good foods, lots of exercise and no drugs (coffee, tea, smoking, pops, beer and mixed drinks). Take vitamins and as you grow older you will have the healthy life.
To Ann: Sweet special girl, wife and mother, You fill us with joy and love and admiration. Brave girl, may your life be ever easy, On calm seas, with kind people. Gentle breezes, sunny days, and Wildflowers to pick. And if storm should ever come one day. Remember how much we love you. We have been proud to be your parents.
To Clark: For whom there never was, Never will be or never could be, A greater love than ours for you. You always lift us. And all the people you are with. You have the smile and, Laughing personality of your Grandma Julia. It is a gift from God. We have been proud to be your parents.
To All my Family: If I could, I'd write for you a rainbow, And splash it with all the colors of God, And hang it in the windows of you being, So that each new God's morning, Your eyes would open first, To Hope and Promise.
If I could, I'd wipe away your tears, And hold you close forever in Peace, But God never promised I could write a rainbow, Never promised I could suffer for you, Only promised I could love you, And that I do.
I Am Free Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free, I am following the path God laid for me. I took his hand when I heard him call, I turned my back and left it all. I could not stay another day, to laugh, to love, to work or play. Tasks left undone must stay that way. I found that peace at the close of day. If my parting has left a void, then fill it with remembered joy. A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss. Ah, these things I too will miss. Be not burdened with time of sorrow,I wish for you the sunshine of tomorrow. My life's been full, I savored much, Good friends, good times, a loved one touched. Perhaps my time seemed all too brief. Don't lengthen it now with undue grief. Lift up your heart and share with me. God wanted me now, he set me free.
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Father: Fred Carls
Mother: Julia McLachlan
February 13, 1917
Carpenter Station, Lapeer County, Michigan
June 8, 2007
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