Verla Morris

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    Born on August 24, 1912, Verla Morris is a self-described “farmer’s daughter”. She grew up on a wide spread farm in Wayne County, verla_morris.jpgIllinois.  Her father, Ebber Withrow and mother, Mary Lucinda Dickey,were married Jan. 15, 1908, in Wayne County, Illinois. They had five children; Ray, Roy, Vivian, Verla and Harold. Their father worked the farm with the boys and her mother and the girls took care of the home. Though Verla was brought up during one of this country’s financial hard times, she was not aware of it as a child. The tireless efforts of her father kept the poverty of the times from taking a hard toll on their family.  Not only did he keep the family well fed, but they never had holes in the soles of their shoes either. Verla’s father wasn’t rich, but he was a jack-of-all-trades and intelligent as well.  Verla’s mother was a kind, fair, loving and wise woman who taught Verla lessons that would stay with her all of her life.  

    Verla learned many things on the family farm. By the time she was sixteen years old Verla could milk a cow, climb trees better than any of her siblings and drive a car. Being able to climb trees gave Verla something of her own on the farm. During one of her many explorations, she found a natural swing nestled in the tops of the trees overlooking the sprawling farm. Verla spent many days sitting high above the farm letting the wind swing her gently back and forth.

    When Verla moved from the farm, it was to marry Roy Morris, who would indeed be her partner for life. They married in 1930. Roy’s work took them many places including a town near Harrisburg, Illinois, which was submerged by the great flood. Though they were not in the direct path of the flood, they could look out of their front door, and just past the hump of the railroad tracks, the water could be seen submerging the homes of neighboring Harrisburg. Only the tops of the homes remained visible.

    During their travels together, Verla expanded her knowledge and skills as well. One year, when she went into the local store to purchase her yarn, the saleswoman made a deal with her. She would teach Verla to knit if she bought her needles and thread from their store. She taught Verla to knit, pearl and end off. Just one day later Verla was ready to make her first garment.

    Verla’s son Roy Frederick was born in 1939 and the family settled back down in Wayne County Illinois on several acres bought from her father. They lived in Illinois until they retired. After touring for several years in their RV the Morris family settled in Arizona where their only son had moved years prior. Verla and her husband moved to Chandler in August 1979 and it has been her home ever since. Verla has traveled to many places and seen many things in her lifetime but one consistent for her has been her faith. Verla’s faith has gotten her through difficult times and helps her to see the good in any situation. 

    Verla truly is an amazing woman. Verla’s home reflects a life lived quite well. Above the entertainment center in her home there is beautiful painting. It is a desert scene painted in warm tones of brown and red. Verla has a passion for creating that doesn’t stop.  Not only can she sew, knit, and paint, but she quilts and now does genealogy as well. She says, “I wouldn’t change my life, I had some wonderful times.” She also shares some wisdom for the youth of today: “Work with your parents ask if you can help them, get a job, save your money, invest in something. Help your parents around the house, learn to cook, learn something you’ll need to use as an adult. I always enjoyed working, even if I was working at home.”

    Interviewed by Nicole Ransom
    Summary by Nicole Ransom

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