*A note before we get started* – notice how my grandpa is “getting the ears” of my uncle in the photo above? Well, that is something that every Teltoe child and every child of all of the Teltoe children and so on and so on down the line has to endure. My girls will run in fear with their hands over their ears every time they see my uncle Randy coming towards them. The ritual goes like this: one of the Teltoe brothers will grab your ears and pinch them and pull on them and exclaim over what good ears you have. And sadly, yes, I do this to my children and any other children that have the misfortune of coming into contact with me, as I am sure that my sister does and all my cousins do also to any small children that have the misfortune of coming into contact with them.
I wanted to get this done before now, but I’ve been procrastinating. I needed to scan all of these photos in and to do that I had to walk all the way down the street to the Spinster’s house. And that takes all of about 4 minutes, so you can see why I delayed so long, right? And before you say it, no I could not drive down there. That would make me REALLY lazy.
I am attempting to tell the tale of my paternal grandparents, Johnny & Louise Teltoe. As I said in this post, I don’t plan to sugar-coat any of it. What would be the point in that? Then we’d just be left with a nice story, but none of it true. It would have been nice if the story was one that was just peachy all on it’s own, but really, is anyone’s life truthfully that way? I don’t think so. There may be some lives that are better than others and for sure there are some that are worse, but these are the stories of my family. If possible, I will try to corner a couple of my uncles when I see them about town to get some of their memories or hit some people up at the family reunion this summer, but for the most part, this information will be coming from my dad’s memories of his parents. I will start with my grandfather.
Johnny Dale Teltoe was born September 18, 1924 to Floyd & Louise Teltoe in Louis Creek, Indiana. He was the middle child, having two sisters, Reba & Mildred (called Mid, who my dad says is the meanest lady he’s ever known).
He was always Papaw Johnny to me, but to just about everyone else he was John Dale. His mother hated it that people called him John because his legal name is Johnny Dale Teltoe and that’s what she wanted him to be called, but it just didn’t work out that way, he was John Dale.
John Dale grew up in a musical family. Just about everyone played an instrument. On Saturday afternoons, the family, aunts and uncles included, would gather and play music together. I think that sounds wonderful. Saturday afternoons now seem so busy, it’s hard to imagine an entire family making time to get together and do something like that. Times are just different now, I guess. John Dale’s specialty was the harmonica. Dad remembered that there was always a harmonica on his parents’ dresser.
At the age of 8 or 9, he was hit by a car while riding on a bike with a friend. One of his legs would never be the same. He had to wear a brace for some time, similar to the ones Forrest Gump wore, and his leg was basically just skin on bone after that. Part of me wonders if this little blow that life dealt him was part of the reason that he turned to alcohol later on. Dad didn’t know for sure, but he thought it was possible. It could be part of the reason that he was so mean-spirited. Well, that and the fact that he was the only boy in the middle of two girls and was a bit spoiled. In high school, he was always the manager on the sports teams, since his leg prevented him from playing. Dad thought that probably bothered him some too, never getting to actually play anything, always having to be on the sidelines.
Papaw Johnny’s dad was known to be quite the fisherman, which would probably account for why John Dale loved to be on or near the water. That’s another distinct memory that my dad had about his father. He loved the water.
I haven’t been able to pinpoint how Johnny met Louise, but my dad told me that several years ago, at a family reunion, one of Johnny’s cousins told him that he used to ride with him to pick Louise up and take her to family get-togethers.
So, this is about as much as I know right now about John Dale from his younger years. And when I think ahead of all the things that were to happen in the future…to his kids and to his wife, it makes me a little sad. I wonder how things might have been different for all of them if he hadn’t let alcohol control his life. Sometimes when you look back at a person’s life and start looking into the details, you can see how one comes to take a certain path in life. I don’t condone a lot of the things he did and I certainly don’t make excuses for him, but after looking at his life more closely, I have a better sense of why he was the way he was.
Next in the series will be Martha Louise Sims/Teltoe, my grandmother.