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Elna's Amazing Life

My name is Elna Jeanes I was born on a goat ranch in Rocksprings, Texas in 1922. I am 101 years old and I want to tell you about my life. I'm telling my story to my daughter, Marietta, as I can recall it.
Select a topic to read its stories! This are 101 years worth of stories coming so check back often!


I have lived in many countries. I lived in Japan at Okinawa in 1951 and 52 then from 1958 to 1961. I lived in Germany. My husband was in the military so we went with him as a family. I learned much about the cultures and peoples of the countries. By (28)
In 1991 I inherited part of my family farm in Poteet, Texas and named it heritage Oaks and started raising cattle. I joined the Texas Polled Hereford Association , and travelled all over the United States to attend conventions and exhibitions. Once I was honored to hosted an event at my ranch, and it was one of my greatest satisfactions.By (27)
Starting in 1984, I helped a friend with construction projects. The county landfill was nearby and contractors could dump on Saturdays so that's when I scavenged for building supplies and used fixtures. I built him an outside bathroom (I framed it myself) with large shower and renovated his rental house.By (26)
In about 1982 or 83, I worked with a contractor to build my sister's two-story house until the outside was finished. By (25)
In 1979 I had moved to Uvalde Texas, and there I studied food service management at Southwest Junior College, and was state certified as a professional food service supervisor. This certification allowed me to become the supervisor of food service in a nursing home in Uvalde for one and a half years.By (24)
1975, I took a course in furniture refinishing and cabinet making at the north east independent school district and I received my certificate. With this knowledge, I shopped for old and broken furniture, and restored them to new. I also studied buffet catering at the San Antonio Restaurant Association and got my certification. I was a caterer for a few years.By (23)
back to San Antonio in 1962 where all the children enrolled in school and in art or music lessons. Because I had been a builder, too, I enclosed our carport, converted the laundry room into a bathroom, and added a family room onto the back of the house. I also built a detached garage that was entered through the alleyway. I hired the concrete, framing, plumbing, and roofing. I did all the windows, doors, sheetrock, insulation, siding, painting, flooring, and finishing with the help of my children. My husband wasn't handy but he was good at reading instructions to me.By (22)
We moved to Del Rio, Texas in 1961, when my father was stationed at the base near there. We camped out on the river for a month before moving into town. Mom looked all over for a place to rent and found an abandoned adobe house near downtown that shared a fence with the high school football field. She found out who owned it and offered $50 a month to rent it. So we got started cleaning it up. The weeds were over my head in places, there was a huge pile of brush and grass in the backyard. It was the worst place you can ever imagine and there we were, right on the corner where everyone driving to town could see us.

We spent long hours pulling weeds and planting flowers, cleaning the house, making repairs, and painting the entire thing! We fixed the fences, refinished the floors, a complete renovation.

After it was complete, Mom had an open house and art showing in our lovely new home. It really, really was pretty and an amazing accomplishment. By (21)
In 1958 we moved to Germany and in 1959, I studied conversational German and got my certificate. In 1960 I went to art school where I studied oils, watercolor, pen, and pencil. Then, in 1961 I took hat making in a factory at Weisbaden, Germany. I learned to make all kinds of hats, felt, straw, and other materials. While I was in Germany, I was a professional seamstress, and took in custom orders from many American women, including for the commanding general's wife. I created every type of clothing from casual, to business wear, to ballgowns. I continued sewing my entire life. My children took piano, cello, art, and ballroom dancing lessons while we were in Germany.By (20)
In 1954 I studied manicuring at the Johnson beauty Academy in San Antonio, Texas where I got my diploma. I worked at the Saint Anthony hotel barbershop for many years, other shops, and then on my own until I was 90 years old. My last child, Douglas, was born in 1956.By (19)
Back in Texas, in 1952, we bought a house and enrolled two older children in school where they started taking music lessons and joined the Scouts. Then in 1953 I studied cake decorating, food service, and party organizing to become a caterer and continued custom sewing.By (18)
The Korean War started and my husband went to Korea and then Okinawa for three years. We joined him in Okinawa from 1951 to 1952 and I worked as a secretary at the military command.By (17)
I have lived in Texas, Kansas, Florida, New York, Washington, Japan, Germany, and Canada, and have traveled to Switzerland, Netherlands, England, France, Luxemburg,, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Belgium, Mexico, and BelizeBy (16) ~ Kansas ~ Florida ~ New York ~ Washington ~ Japan ~ Germany ~ Canada ~ Switzerland ~ Netherlands ~ England ~ France ~ Luxemburg ~ Poland ~ Czech Republic ~ Austria ~ Italy ~ Belgium ~ Mexico ~ Belize
After the war, we lived in San Antonio where I had two daughters, Marietta and Rene'. In 1949 I enrolled in a homeschool named The School of Commercial Art from Dallas Texas. I used pen, pencil, brush, and charcoal.By (15)
The war started and I was asked to work at the Fort Sam Post Exchange and I eventually was given an exchange to manage. There I met and married my husband. The war started and I followed him all over the Unites States as he was transferred to train troops.

I had my first child, Kent, in 1944.By (14)
In 1941 I graduated from high school in Poteet Texas with my diploma where I studied four years of sewing, dressmaking, and cooking. After graduation, I enrolled in the San Antonio College of Art and worked with charcoal, pencil, and brush.
By (13) ~ 1940s
Daddy raised and trained horses, eventually taking them to the race tracks. He led me around on a horse the first time when I was three and he taught me to care for horses, and to ride and rope. When we were little, he had an old gentle horse that would let us pull him around and crawl all over and under it. After I learned how to ride, I taught my brothers to ride on that same horse. I was on horseback until I graduated high school.By (12) ~ Daddy ~ Howard ~ Tootsie ~ Horseback
The sheep were raised and sheared for wool and Daddy hired migrants from Mexico for the shearing seasons so I got to continue growing up with their children and eating their good food. My brothers and I would go out on horseback and search for "dead wool". Sheep that were infested with botflies were reduced to only skin and bones so were relatively clean. We collected the dead wool and Daddy would take it to market with the sheared wool but it would bring a much lower price.By (11) ~ Melvin ~ 10s ~ Horseback
I got my first gun and started trapping when I was ten. I soon had my own line for fur to make money to share with Ada B. Alvis had a line, too, and she shared her earnings with Alta Belle. Early every morning before anyone got up, I worked my trap lines for fox, ringtail raccoons, and opossums. Daddy would skin them and stretch them out to dry before they were taken to market. Because I was out on my own, sometimes in the dark, Daddy made sure I had a good horse, a trained dog, and that I was a good shot with a rifle. I trapped until I graduated from high school then continued hunting and fishing until I was 90.By (10) ~ Daddy ~ Alvis ~ Ada B ~ Alta Belle ~ Horseback ~ Trapping ~ Fishing ~ Hunting ~ 10s ~ Texas
In Sabinal, I had two little brothers the same age to look after so we got into all kinds of activities. I taught them to ride on a gentle old horse that would let them crawl all over and under it. We played with the animals, built, explored, played games, fished, hiked, climed hills, and waded in the creek. The girls were doing the inside chores and I made sure I stayed outside because if they caught me in there, they'd holler at me to do something for them. When they'd holler, I'd run back outside!By (9) ~ 0-9 ~ Howard ~ Tootsie ~ Texas
The only way to get around the ranch was on horseback so Daddy always had horses and he carried me with him from when I was tiny. I got to sit on it by myself when I was three when he led it around the yard. I don't remember it but saw a picture.By (8) ~ Daddy ~ Horseback ~ 0-9 ~ Texas
Rocksprings was all hills, rocks, and streams. Daddy and Momma had a ranch and raised angora goats because the terrain would not support sheep or cattle. We had migrants from Mexico to come twice a year to sheer the goats. The migrants camped out in tents or in our barn for a week or so until they finished all the shearing. They brought their families along and I would take food and supplies out to them. I got to play with the children and eat tortillas right off the camp fire. They would play music and sing at night around the fire.By (7) ~ Texas ~ 0-9
Daddy took me with him around as much as possible and I became his closest outdoor companion. I followed him around, handing him tools and nails. I was always the little one, the brave one, who could crawl into spaces he couldn't see into. When I was seven, he found a hole between the rocks on the side of a hill and sent me into it, tied with a rope. It was dark so I had a stick with a rag wrapped around the end and lit afire. I crawled a ways in and it opened up to a cave with stalactites and stalagmites, with an underground stream.By (6) ~ Daddy ~ 0-9 ~ Texas
I was too little to be of any help in the house and my baby brother, Howard, needed watching, so I looked after him by playing outside most of the time. We made stick horses, built forts, dug holes, explored, played with the dogs, and tried to ride goats. Eventually, we got good enough to perform goat rodeos for visitors.By (5) ~ 1920s ~ Howard ~ 0-9 ~ Texas
My older brother, Melvin, was special friend, always my helper. He took me with him everywhere and taught me everything he knew. We were together as much as possible because our personalities were the closest. We both loved the outdoors and to explore and build things. We rode our horses together way out into the fields and woods. On one of our rides, my horse got spooked and threw me off and my head hit a big rock. I couldn't walk so Melvin carried me in his arms a mile to home. Daddy took me to the doctor and my head was broken in a big H pattern. The doctor kept me at his house for a while, then I went to family in town, then finally home. For a full month, I was not allowed to lift my head from the pillow. Everyone took turns feeding and bathing me. I was ten years old at the time.By (4) ~ Melvin ~ Horseback ~ Medical ~ Texas ~ 10s
My earliest memory is of Daddy crying outside against the house. I went inside and saw Momma lying in her bed holding some flowers. I tried to touch her and the flowers but was told not to. She was buried on my fourth birthday. My next clear memory was in 1927 when Rocksprings was hit by a Category 5 tornado that missed us because we were in a canyon. Sometime after, we went to town and it was just all torn upside down. We lost several family members who lived in town. By (3) ~ Momma ~ Daddy ~ 1920s ~ Death ~ Texas ~ 0-9
Daddy worked as a butcher before he married, so he taught me everything he knew. I can process goats, deer, calves, chickens, and pigs for food, and I can gut, skin, stretch hide, butcher, process, and make sausage.

When inside the house, I learned to cook, bake, sew, quilt, knit, and crochet. I rode horses, hunted, and trapped until I graduated high school. By (2) ~ Daddy ~ Learning ~ Texas ~ 0-9
Momma's sister was left alone with five children without resources, four boys and a girl. They were Edward, Wesley, Melvin, Stillman (Tootsie), and Dorothy. Our family was Alvis, Alta Belle, Ada B, me (Elna) and Howard... four girls and a baby boy... so it seemed the perfect arrangement for her family to join ours so we were ten children raised as one family on a ranch in Sabinal.By (1) ~ Alvis ~ Howard ~ Tootsie ~ Dorothy ~ Edward ~ Ada B ~ Alta Belle ~ Wesley ~ Melvin ~ Momma ~ Aunt Ora ~ Texas ~ 0-9

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