Elsie Jewell McLaughlin Glass at 98 years old, passed through the gates of Heaven on the day they are at their widest; Christmas 2020.
Elsie was born at home on the farm to Harland Chester and Edyth Jewell Jones McLaughlin on Feb. 19, 1922, in Jasper County, Iowa. She was the middle child between two brothers, Bob and Harland Jr. During her childhood, she lived a farm rich life in a time much different than that of today. She learned to bake, garden, tend animals and display great work ethic at a young age.
Elsie wrote down stories of her childhood, and one explained how at 13 she recalled the Depression having little effect on their livelihood. What she remembered was not a lack of food or money, but of being busy and happy working on a self-sufficient farm.
During winters there was a lot of snow, making for great sledding but also a lot of difficulties. She recalls having to wear spiked footwear just to make it to the barn to feed the animals. One winter there was a blizzard that caused her school bus to get stuck and she had to stay at the nearest neighbors overnight. The next day Elsie grabbed her frozen lunch from the bus and got a ride home on a horse drawn sleigh complete with bells.
During summers she enjoyed picking gooseberries and blackberries with friends and canning produce with her mother. Her first summer job was when she was a junior in high school caring for two babies in diapers that paid $5 a week.
Elsie graduated from New Winsor High School in 1941. She then attended nurse’s training in 1942 followed by enlisting in the Army in 1943. It was when she signed in at Ft. Stevens that she met Walter E. (Ernie) Glass. He gave her a candy bar and told her to think of him while she ate it. Romance bloomed and they were married on Nov. 25, 1945. After their discharges, they moved to Richmond, Calif., for a refresher course in mortuary science. Ernie took a job with Meininger Funeral Home in Redding, Calif. However, when Ernie hurt his back loading a patient into the ambulance and realized he was allergic to the embalming fluid, they decided to switch careers and move to Hayfork.
Ernie’s parents owned a building in Hayfork on Main Street which would be the perfect location for a variety store. Elsie and Ernie moved into the apartment upstairs and with their saving of $1,800 they started “The Glass Variety Store.” Elsie remained ever diligent and faithful as she worked alongside Ernie in the store through 21 years of marriage and six kids.
One of Elsie’s favorite things to do in Hayfork was to ride her bicycle through town to visit family and friends. As much as she loved Hayfork, she still made time every year or two to visit her folks back in Illinois and she especially took delight in riding the train to see them. Elsie enjoyed being a mother to three girls and three boys, and remained an active part of the community that she loved while at the same time assisting in running the store. Strong and capable were undoubtably some of Elsie’s defining qualities.
As determined as she was, it is no wonder that she left this life with so many accomplishments to her name. From serving in the military, to nearly never missing a day at church.
On May 19, 1965, she was initiated into the prestigious Order of the Eastern Star.
Another notable achievement was her success as a real-estate developer. A bit of an entrepreneur for her time, she went on to purchase many properties in Hayfork and had them developed into homes; some to be sold, others to be rented. Her involvement with the Rodrick/Hayfork Senior Center should also be commended as she was a dedicated patron and volunteer.
A woman of many talents, both in business and in art, her creativity flowed and shined into the stories and poems she would write. Her following poem was one that was published in the “World Treasury of Great Poems” (1989, p. 982).
Elsie J Glass
“A Mother’s Prayer”
Give me strength to be cheerful tonight.
Not yelling at my kids noises to curb-
Or argue starting another big fight
Growling at all as a lion disturbed
Please don’t break dishes and bang the lids
God help me be understanding with my kids
Yes my dear I got you the mail, washed the blue shirt and bent that nail-
Waited months for you to fix that door
Starving you on purpose, have some more.
Turn off the TV, throw out the pup
Mop up the bathroom, Band-Aid his cut.
Shall we sneak out for coffee? Sure I’m beat.
Missed those kids and aren’t they sweet?
Later in life, family and friends will remember the many beautiful hooked rugs and afghans she would make for us. Elsie was a strong, and loving woman who nearly made it to 99. She passed peacefully in her sleep in the early hours of Christmas morning. In these trying times, perhaps Elsie would want us to read this poem going into the new year, where we all might appreciate a friend.
One who feels our joys and sorrows
And helps to comfort in need
The one who will brighten our tomorrows
With a ready smile or deed
Willing to share part of our burden
And ask but a smiling face
A friend in riches or poverty wouldn’t
Change their friendship a pace
They recognize our qualities,
Or’look our faults acknowledge our fame
They strengthen our ambitions and abilities
They like to speak our name
If more or better things are had by man
It must be from above
For on earth one can
Find no more except: love.
— By Elsie Glass
She is survived by five children: Joyce Smith, Kathleen Dudley (Ed), Gregory Glass (Jolynn), Lawrence Glass (Diane), Sherelyn Brownlee (Robert), 10 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
She was preceded in death by her parents Harland and Jewel McLaughlin; brothers Robert and Harland McLaughlin; and one son, Donald Robert Glass.
Services will be held at a later date, and donations can be sent to the Roderick Senior Center in lieu of flowers.