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Remembering Aunt Ida Turner Gassaway

by Geniece Leftwich Marcum
Reprinted with permission from Senior Quest Magazine 9/15/06

Its always so nice to stumble across a bit of forgotten news about an ancestor who is no longer with us. So when I discovered an old clipping of GREETINGS by Alan M Trout I was pleasantly surprised to find the name of my mothers sister, Mrs. Ida Gassaway, included in his column.

From the gist of this article, dated August 16, 1955, it seems the columnist had a question going among correspondents at the time about the size attained by paw paw trees and whether or not the taste of their fruit was desirable to the human palate.

Being a faithful follower of Trouts column, my Aunt Ida settled the debate on paw paw trees and their fruit with the following letter to Mr. Trout:

I have not one, but 16 paw paw trees in my back yard. The largest is 28-inches in circumference and about 30-feet in height. It has borne fruit for at least 15 years. I am 75 and have spent most of my life living in Metcalfe County. The fruit of the paw paw tree is relished by young and old alike in my neck of the woods.

THANK YOU, Mrs. Gassaway, Trout had responded in his column, I will say, offhand that Metcalfe County is as good a place as any, and better than most, to spend 75 years in. Places where trees grow seem to wear better than average. Nothing stirs hope in a breast quite like a naked tree in winter time, and nothing fulfills that hope so bountifully as a tree in full leaf in summer. Friends move away and faithful dogs die, but trees remain as comfort to a mans person, balm to his spirit, and utility to his needs.

Mrs. Gassaway was well known in the community of Cave Ridge, Kentucky where she spent most of her life, less than a mile from her childhood home. She was a daughter of Joseph Alexander Turner and Almedia Anderson Turner. Her father was a surveyor by trade and in the early 1900s he worked for the old EdmontonNews. He had his own column which he wrote under the pen name of Paul Revere. (If anyone has access to any of those columns which ran in both Edmonton and Columbia papers, please contact us).

As a young woman she married Jobe Gassaway, also of Cave Ridge. Early in their marriage the couple moved to Grass Valley, California to live but soon returnedhere where they settled on a farm near Cave Ridge and started a family. Their children included Lesley Gassaway, Irene, (Mrs Reubin Bowles,) Harry Gassaway,Adelle, (Mrs. Guy Mitchell,) and Mary, (Mrs. Murrell Bryant). Another son, Ray, died in infancy. When their youngest child, Mary was still quite small, Jobe Gassaway came down with pneumonia fever from which he never recovered. He died leaving behind his widow and their five young children.

Realizing that her husband was gone, Ida faced the hard facts that she alone was now solely responsible for making a home for their children, for furnishingfood and clothing for them all. Her only means for accomplishing this task, was the farm which she and Jobe had owned. So putting aside her own grief, Idataught the older children how to raise crops of tobacco and corn and how to care for livestock and gardens to feed them, and they learned well.

In that day and time life was rough for a woman on her own with young children to bring up, but bring them up she did, to become fine upstanding men andwomen in the community throughout their lifetimes. Only one of the Gassaway children still survives, a daughter Irene Bowles, now well into her nineties.

Ida Gassaway died January 3, 1970.

The above story of Ida Gassaway triggered the following memory from Linda Waggener (Genieces daughter and Idas great niece)

I adored my Grandmother Addie Turner Leftwich. She was a hard-working, pretty lady with opinions on things in the family and in the world. She was flirtatious with Dr. Emberton and other gentlemen callers and she was one who loved anything lavender, an occasional sip of Mogan David wine and a daily dip of snuff, and who often told me I should have seen her when she was young, singing alto in the Presbyterian choir in her high lace colar.

One of her roles was sister to Ida and Bessie. I knew them mainly through her discussions with and about them, and often on the phone, with "Sister Idee or Sister Bessie."

One historical highlight I remember is the day I overheard my Grandma Leftwich dialing up her "Idee", Ida Turner Gassoway, who lived a few hills and hollers away toward Glasgow.

I heard Sister Addie say in disgust, Idee, did you ever?! They have cancelled As The World Turns to show that old Moon stuff...

To this day I never hear news of a lift-off without going back to her living room with its black and white TV where, when things were quiet, and they seldom were, she would tune in to see what Lisa and Bob were up to that day. And she'd be right vexed if something happened to bump their show, even the US space program.
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Comment: Story on Ida Gassaway brings back memories

Linda, Thank you for the article on Mrs. Ida Turner Gassaway. What a pleasant surprise to click on your site and find my Great Grandmother Ida looking back at me.

I too remember being at her home and two things never got interrupted while I was there, one was the weather and the other was "her show", As the World Turns.

I have vague memories of being at Aunt Addie's house as a child, both with my great grandmother and my grandmother, Adele Mitchell.

Thanks again for the article, it brought back some very fond memories.
Patty Jones

This story was posted on 2006-09-17 11:46:59
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Turner sisters: Bessie Vanzant, Ida Gassaway, Addie Leftwich

2006-09-17 - Metcalfe County, KY . THE TURNER SISTERS REMAINED CLOSE as they married and raised their families. From left are Bessie Turner Vanzant, Ida Turner Gassaway and Addie Turner Leftwich. They were together on the occasion of Addies 61st birthday in the photo above which was made in front of the Leftwich home. The home is gone at this writing and the farm, located next to what is now Bowling Park in Edmonton, is home to horses belonging to Judge Don Butler.
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