Melba Easterday’s 90th

Melba Easterday is my Great Aunt.  She is wholly deserving of the prefix to that title.  I was truly sorry that I was unable to attend her 90th birthday celebration last month.  Unfortunately, we had already made travel plans and had purchased plane tickets when we received the invitation to save the date.  I hope that it was well attended and celebrated to the fullest!

Our family lived in a house next door to Melba until I was in 4th grade.  My second cousins, Tom, Marty & Jim, while all older, spent time with me and took me under their wing on many occasions.  I remember being scared to death when one of them took me on my first motorcycle ride, though there was no way I would admit it to them!  Melba’s husband was Edward Lee (Red) Easterday and he always had a project going on.  His descriptions were always told with a passion that made them fascinating even though those descriptions were occasionally exaggerated.

Anyone that knows Melba, knows that she has unending good spirits, a constant twinkle in her eye and a raucous laugh that can be heard across any room.  She truly enjoys life and when she laughs, you cannot help but smile and be infected by some of her joy.

She makes Christmas candy every year that she shares with us in the Easterday Construction office.  There was chocolate fudge, peanut butter fudge, maraschino cherry fudge, chocolate covered toffee, peppermint bark…  We all have our favorites.  Since Dad is no longer in the office, she sends a side-car of maraschino cherry fudge along for him, since he groused about not getting any one year.  We all enjoyed it and none of it went to waste, though we all bemoan the fact that some of it undoubtly goes to waist!

Aunt Melba is my go-to for family history and often just general Culver history.  Earlier this year Jeff Kenney asked me about some obscure history regarding development on Slate Street.  I went to Melba and she told me her recollections which were, as usual, extremely detailed.  More interestingly, I spent an hour with her as she told me various history tidbits about Easterday Construction.  One of the most interesting was her story of Easterday Construction working at a military base at Kingsford Heights during World War II.  She and another Great Aunt, Sue, worked for the company under Great Grandpa Easterday while their husbands, Grandpa’s sons, were away in the war.  Easterday Construction had over 1oo men employed at that time.  Melba and Sue worked full time doing payroll by hand.  They spent nights in a trailer on site, sleeping at one end while Grandpa slept at the other.

I want to wish her the best and I selfishly hope I and the rest of our family have her as a cherished resource for many years to come.

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