I’ve done a posting on mom, dad, Millie, Dort, Pete, Theresa and Edie so far.  Omie and Ginnie I haven’t done yet although I did cover Omie some in ‘I Started Out As A Child- The Sequel’ and I’ll repost those references here *. 

Omie was born in Eugene in 1936 after the infamous cross-country trek from Philadelphia and her name was Naomi Barbara Ware.  I don’t remember the date except that it was in the fall, probably November.  She was born at Sacred Heart as I was and the same place that dad was hurt and eventually died.  She died in 2002 at the age of 66 and suffered from emphysema and arthritis as did several in our family.  She smoked all her life and alcohol was not her friend.  She didn’t have an easy life and I’m fairly certain that she and mom shared a manic-depressive personality disorder that made it very difficult for them and anyone near them.     

She graduated from Springfield High School in 1954 and left home as soon as she could to live with Millie and Bob in Spokane.  Bob was in the Air Force and stationed at Fairchild AFB and Millie worked at the Crescent department store in Spokane.  They had an apartment and Bob had the basement fixed up like a bar with a purple egg-crate ceiling, a bar and stools, a Wurlitzer juke box and his sound equipment.  They were fun and Omie probably felt that her ship had come in.  She was involved with a friend of Bob’s by the name of Joe Deluccio who was a hot-blooded Italian from the east coast and was always getting into trouble.  However, that never got very serious and when Omie met another of Bob’s friends, Gene Hayes, she immediately fell for him.  Gene had been stationed in Morocco with Bob and Bob said that Gene was always well-groomed and self-contained, even in Morocco where a lot of guys weren’t.

Omie married Gene and they had two beautiful kids, Kelli Ruth and Scott.  They were sent to Germany for a few years and when they returned to the states they were stationed at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls.  In looking back at it now, I think they must have been in Germany at the same time that Millie and Bob were in Madrid.  I don’t know if they ever traveled to visit each other or not.  Omie and Gene had some marital difficulties and maybe Gene’s tour to Vietnam and absence from the family contributed to that.  I know that Omie had attempted suicide once in Klamath Falls and, when they were stationed at Eglin AFB she wrecked their car in the woods and they had to track her down there.  Shortly after that she left Gene and left Kelli and Scott with Patty and me in Mississippi and went home to start over.  We kept Kelli and Scott for a few weeks but they were terribly unhappy and wanted to be with their mom.  When Omie got a job at a rest home in Eugene she had us send Kelli and Scott to her.  She found a pretty nice home on Princeton Street in Eugene and got a government mortgage from Farmers Home Administration (my future government employment) and put down roots in Eugene.

She eventually went to work at a plywood mill in Eugene because the pay was a lot better than she got at the
rest home.  She met Bob Murphy there and they married and seemed as happy as Omie could ever be.  Bob Murphy seemed to be good for Omie and he had a fun and outgoing personality that tolerated her frequent periods of depression and her conflicts with those around her. 

Omie had a lot of sharp edges and was frequently feuding with one or more members of the family.  She also was quite willing to express whatever displeased her and seemed to like to take a contrary position to that of mom or her sisters on any issue.  One way to put it was that she was always spoiling for a fight and usually found one.  The last years of her life she was frequently in poor health and seemed depressed.  She kept her house rather dark and had migraines where she would stay in her bedroom.  She maintained a close relationship with Millie throughout her life and that is one of the great things about Millie.  Millie resisted getting involved in any family disputes and was non-judgmental to everyone.  I think Omie always felt that Millie was there for her.   When Millie died in ’93, it may have hit Omie even harder than it did me because she needed Millie so much. 

Omie was my nemesis during our childhood.  She was five years older than I and we fought throughout our childhood and although, at the time, I was convinced that she was possessed by an evil spirit, in retrospect I can see that she had reasons to hate me.  The one thing she particularly resented was that I had new boots.  I remember those boots, they were similar to army combat boots and I could stomp up a storm in them when I was about five or six years old. They are evident in this picture of the family as it was at that time on our front porch. 

* This is the excerpt from ‘I Started Out As A Child~ The Sequel’…

Until Millie, Pete and Dolly left, starting in about 1947, it was pretty crowded and Omie and I had to sleep in the attic.   The attic was never finished and so the planks for a floor were unfinished lumber and spaced about an inch apart. The walls were similarly constructed and were only in the front part of the attic where Omie and I had our cots. The rest of the attic was rafters and storage and to get around you had to step on the ceiling joists. There were birds and, I suppose, other critters living in the attic and Omie and I could hear them while trying to go to sleep. The only light was from a 60W bulb hanging from a rafter.  One of the things that made it difficult to sleep was Mom’s artificial arm hanging from a rafter as you came up the stairs.Also, dad had a back-brace hanging from a rafter and there were other frightful things about the attic that were more in my imagination than any real threat.  It didn’t help that Omie was an evil person that loved to tell me ghost stories as we were laying there –‘Who Stole My Liver’ comes to mind.

In the summer Omie and I got to sleep in the screened-in back porch and we loved that. During this time, Aloyisus was building a house next door for him and Theresa to live in and he kept his tools and some materials on our back porch where Omie and I slept. We had gotten in the habit of having a coffee can to use- sort of our ‘Can-O-Pee’ bed since we generally slept in the attic and Omie used the coffee can of 16-penny nails she found to do her business one night. The next day Aloyisus came to get his hammer and nails and as he got to work, he grabbed a handful of nails and stuck them in his mouth, which you do since you’ve only got two hands to hold things.  Well, you could hear him yelling and cussing for miles. THAT was a red-letter day for memories.

Omie was in trouble as much as I was and she had a long list of accomplishments. She burned down our barn, she stole alcohol and replaced it with water and she frequently stole cigarettes.  Although, I gotta admit that sometimes she just got blamed for stealing cigarettes because everyone thought I was too young to be doing it. We fought like cats and dogs, had nothing in common and didn’t like each other much.  I’m sorry about that. 

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