When Joe and Loretta Got Married

Ruth is working on a family history project. These are her notes from family interviews. 

This is part three of my interview with my grand-daddy, Joe Willows.

Ruth: So you and Grandmother Lottie got married pretty quickly?
Joe: ‘Bout a year after out first date. She got a job teaching school in Pueblo and I bought the ranch and started working on it so we could live here. Lottie supported us for a long time while I was trying to get my breeding and training business going. That woman was a saint. She’d work at school, then come home and help me with the horses, or fixing the house or barn. 
Ruth: Well, eventually you had a family…
Joe: Yup, Robbie was born first, then a few years latter your daddy, Ed. We had a busy little family. Lottie taught the whole time. She retired from teaching after Robbie’s accident. It was just a little too much for her to handle. 
Ruth: You wanna talk about that here?
Joe: (he breathes deeply) Sure, might as well. 
Robbie was a senior in high school. Ah, you would have been best friends with him Grand-baby. He loved working with the horses, especially the babies, he had a knack for handling the little ones. Lottie and I both wanted him to go to college, you know, to explore the world. Maybe find interest in something other than just ranching. But he wouldn’t hear of it, he used to say, “I’ll be working with you till the day I die Pops.”


(Joe takes a long pause and rubs his eyes)

As I was saying, Robbie was just about to graduate high school. He was coming home from a date one night when he was killed by a drunk driver. The other guy T-boned him in an intersection, Robbie never saw him coming. The sheriff said he died on impact. I only thank God he had dropped the girl off first, so she wasn’t killed too.

Ruth: That why Daddy has always been so active with MADD even though his not a mom?

Joe: Yup, Robbie was his big brother. His death was … is still sometimes, hard on all of us.

Ruth: I’m really sorry Grand-daddy. I wish I could have known Uncle Rob.

Joe: As I said, you two would have been best friends.

Ruth: What about my dad? Problem child?

Joe: (he chuckles) No, he was a good boy – most of the time (he winks at Ruth). Ed is more like his mother, which is why he went to school and became an engineer. He’s quite capable of handling the horses, but he was always more interested in building things.

Ruth: So how long were you and Grandmother married?

Joe: Only thirty-five years.

Ruth: Only?

Joe: It doesn’t seem like enough time with her, but that’s what God gave me. I lost Lottie to a terrible disease. She fought cancer for a long time, but we both knew it would eventually win. ( He looks at Ruth) Now don’t look so down Grand-baby. I lost my Lottie, but I got you and your sister, and your mom and your dad here with me now. I have a wonderful life and I am blessed to have all you here with me.