March 2018

Remembering Marjory

Gary W. Zinn

Inspired by Melinda & Paula's writings (below) about Marjory Spiker, Gary Zinn shared some of his own memories of our sweet cousin.

I remember my cousin Marjory Spiker as a good childhood friend. She was born in 1911, I in 1944, so that we were close friends might seem odd to younger members of the Spiker family, who perhaps do not know much about Marjory.

My childhood memories of Marjory are not unique, for Melinda wrote, “As a child, I didn’t really think about her age. I just knew she was always very friendly and fun to play with.” (Memories at the Spiker Farm). I, like Melinda, remember her deftly making “hankie dolls,” and Paula, I also remember her button collection (Influencing My Life).

Marjory was a part of my youth as far back as I can recall. Our families attended South Fork Baptist Church together, and I also spent time with her whenever the Spiker and Zinn families visited, and at various social events in the community. Marjory always gravitated to and got along well with the children in my age group in any of these settings. Socially, she was childlike herself, so interacting with the youngsters in the family and community was natural for her.

It says something about the people of the community that no one, adult or child, ever made disparaging remarks about Marjory’s behavior. She was a member of our society, and we accepted her as she was.

My clearest memories of time spent with Marjory involve fishing — we both loved to fish in the river at the Spiker farm. At least a couple times each summer, our parents would arrange for a visit at the Spiker place on Sunday afternoon. After church and our midday Sunday dinner, my mother would drive us down to Spiker’s in our 1953 Ford car. (My father was legally blind, so Mom was the family driver until I got my driving license.)

Marjory knew we were coming to visit, and when we drove up she would be waiting with cane fishing poles for both of us, along with a can or jar of bait (earthworms, grasshoppers, or crickets). She and I would fish and chat the afternoon away, while our parents visited together.

These afternoons always culminated in Gay calling us in to enjoy a piece of cake or pie, with a glass of milk, iced tea, or homemade lemonade (a special treat.) Yes, I remember Gay’s angel food cake very well.

When I was about ten years old, I saved enough “chore money” to buy a fiberglass fishing rod with a revolving spool casting reel. I remember showing my fancy new fishing gear off to Marjory, and trying to teach her how to cast a lure with it. She couldn’t get the hang of it, though, and finally laughed at herself and said that she would just stick with her cane pole.

Marjory was a kind and gentle soul, a friend to everyone she knew, young or old. I cherish the memory of having her in my life when I was young.