(Editor’s note: The Somervell Senior Citizen’s Center presented several area residents with “Older Texan Awards.” The following story is the third in a series highlighting each honoree. Children and relatives of the honorees submitted the memoirs.)
Waldeen Miller Layne was born July 18, 1916 in Somervell County. She was the third child of Jack and Susie Miller, being one of eight children. Her parents, grandparents and even some of her great grandparents were residents of Somervell County.
Waldeen grew up in the Rainbow community and attended the Porter School which later became known as Rainbow School. Her great grandfather helped build the Porter School building.
She has been a member of Rainbow Baptist Church all of her life, it is the only church she has ever attended. She is one of the oldest living members.
Waldeen married Herman Layne March 11, 1934. Herman was also a native of Somervell County and they both attended school at Rainbow. Herman and Waldeen had three children; Wendell, who passed away in October of 2007, Lowell Layne and Linda Layne Branham.
Waldeen grew up in a farm family and continued that life style in all her working years. She and Herman both took jobs in town during the drought in the 1950’s and continued to work at various jobs until retirement.
She loved to travel in the RV as long as health permitted. They traveled over much of the western USA in RV’s and took a bus trip to the north east United States, going to Niagara Falls and over into Canada. A lasting impression for Waldeen in New York City was the homeless people living in cardboard boxes and sleeping in store fronts.
Waldeen has seen many changes in her life. She has lived through WWI, WWII, the Vietnam War and saw her oldest son, Wendell go to Korea in that conflict. She saw the transition in transportation from horses to automobiles; she remembers well getting running water in the house, indoor plumbing, electricity, propane heat and then moving on to air conditioning, microwave ovens, radio and television.
Waldeen has many skills in the kitchen, but one of her claims to fame within the family is her talent for making jelly. She has supplied children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and friends with jelly for many years.
Another of her outstanding talents is crochet. Afghans and doilies that she has made are in the homes of all her family and friends. As health issues have limited her mobility, most days will find her working on some crochet project or visiting on the telephone.
Waldeen is new Nannie/Grannie to five grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren.
Like most senior adults, she has experienced times of hardship and sorrow; but the good times and blessings of life far surpass the hardships and sorrows.