1.1.4 - Shirley Ann Clark Freed Wheeler (1932-1992)
Shirley was born on 18 Jan 1932in Ada, Kansas. On 14 Feb 1948, she married Delbert Zane Freed. Together they had three children. They later divorced. On 6 Sep 1953 she married Harlan James "Red" Wheeler in Pawhuska, OK. Together they had two children.
Shirley's life, an excerpt from the "Clark book"
Like my father, Ralph, I was not born for the farm life (I dislike hard work). I also dislike small towns (an understatement), but due to circumstances beyond my control, I was born in a small farm town. It was so small it didn't have the proverbial town character, so everyone took turns. Ada, Kansas, had a population of 149, and that's counting the cats and dogs, I'm sure. How I managed to survive the first eight years of my life I would say was a miracle.
When I was five (1937) and before they knew I was nearly blind, my mom sent me to the store. Now the entire town of Ada was all of two blocks long and believe it or not, I got lost! The grocery man had to take me home. I don't know who was the most embarrassed, me or mom. Even after this incident it didn't occur to anyone that I couldn't see farther than two feet in front of my face. Mom just didn't send me to the store again after that.
Can you believe it took my first grade teacher an entire year to figure out that I couldn't see the blackboard? I always suspected her real reason for holding me back a year was so I wouldn't be a grade ahead of her precious daughter. She was my age but was held out of school for a year due to illness. Anyway, on the last day of school, without a hint of warning, she told my mom in a very loud voice in front of the other kids and their parents that she was holding me back in the first grade. I don't know who was the most embarrassed, me or mom. That summer my parents took me to Concordia where I was fitted for glasses. I could finally see the blackboard and my teacher found out I wasn't so dumb after all.
Even with glasses I had a problem with distant vision. When I was eight, my brothers and sisters and I were playing "hide and seek" in the cane field out behind the house when the tornado alarm began clanging away. We all took off running for the storm cellar, but I was little and the cane was tall, and you guessed it - I got lost. I came out of the cane at the farthest end of the field. So I began running around the outside of the field. In my path was a stack of logs that were held in position with crowbars. I scrambled up one side and fell down the other landing on the sharp edge of one of the crowbars, slicing my thigh to the bone. I might still be laying there screaming bloody murder but for the big fat snake curled up about two feet from where I landed. With the stormy sky turning black as night, the furious clanging of the warning bell and the snake, I quickly decided what I should do - I got up and ran like hell! When I got to the storm cellar everyone was inside except dad who was waiting for me "worried to death." He grabbed me up and threw me inside and slammed the cellar door, just as the tornado roared overhead taking the barn roof with it. All this time I'm blubbering hysterically about a snake when mom finally saw the blood running down my leg. When she saw the six inch gash that went all the way to the bone, she nearly fainted. So did I! While we waited for the storm to pass I vaguely remember Mom and Dad saying something about a "tourniquet" and "no, it's not a snake bite" and "no, she's not going to die." This last response was probably said to one of my hopeful siblings.
By the time we were able to leave the storm cellar and get to the doctor's house, he had already left for the tornado damaged area. So dad drove 11 miles to the next small town, but that doctor had also left for the damaged area. There was an old retired doctor about 100 years old who lived in that town so to his house we went. The doctor got out his rusty tools that he hadn't used in years and got to work. Since he had not been in practice for some time, he didn't have any ether. But he did have a big stick of peppermint candy (remember how scarce candy was in 1940?) and promised it to me if I lay really still while he sewed me up. Although mom and dad had to hold me down and I screamed a lot, he gave me the peppermint stick anyway. Besides not having any ether, he didn't have any clamps to hold the gash together, so he took four white pearl buttons off one of his own shirts and sewed 2 buttons on each side of the gash. He then threaded through the buttons to pull the flesh together so he could stitch it. I still have the buttons (in an envelope) and my thigh still has the button indentations. I ate the peppermint candy. That poor old doctor had palsy so bad that mom had to thread the needle for him. But he put those 80 stitches in so neatly that years later in a big city hospital when my doctor saw the scar and asked about it, he couldn't believe the circumstances. He said it was the neatest scar of that size he'd ever seen outside of a plastic surgeon's office.
Three years later, we left the small town of Ada (thank God!) and moved to Wichita. I'll skip my early teens, for which you should be grateful. But by the time I was 16, I knew everything and my parents and teacher knew nothing. So I quit school, ran away from home and got married. If there's anything more catastrophic than a 16-year old virgin high school drop out marrying an 18-year old virgin high school drop out, I can't imagine what it could be. Needless to say, four years and two babies later I realized that my parents and teachers weren't so dumb after all. My husband and I reached a mutual agreement to divorce and I went back to school. This was back before kids decided the world owed them a living (welfare, student loans, unemployment, food stamps, etc.). So I worked days and went to school at night.
After I received my GED and completed two years of bookkeeping, I found out that bookkeeping didn't pay enough to support the three of us. So I kept the books at K&P Equipment Company during the day and worked nights as a cocktail waitress. After awhile the bartender that I worked with bought a bar of his own and asked me to run it for him on commission. "Snoz" was a drinker, a natural comedian, very generous and everyone loved him. In fact, he was so generous that I made a deal with him. I would run his bar and he would stay out of the till. So I quit my bookkeeping job and began running the bar full time. This was my downfall as this is the way it happened (don't listen to my husband, he tells it differently). Now here I am, working 12 hours a night on straight commission when this cocky red-head walks in the door. He looks around like he owns the joint and then saunters over to the bar and orders a beer. I served him and held out my hand for the money. He looked at me, sort of surprised-like, then shrugs and pays me. I walked away to the till muttering to myself, "who does he think he is anyway?" I served him several beers in the next few hours going through the same ritual. Now I'm not saying that he didn't intrigue me, but since my current boyfriend was sitting at the end of the bar, I was very careful not to show it.
That's when Snoz came in and headed straight to the redhead. They talked awhile and then Snoz came over and asked if I had been charging "Red" for his beer. I said, "Of course, that's what I'm here for isn't it?" And Snoz replied, "This is my favorite nephew, he's here on vacation and I told him his beer is on the house." Snoz made me give back every cent I had charged him. I was fuming, but I obliged, watching my commission go down the drain. About this time two blondes came in and sat in a booth. Red joined them for awhile then the three of them left together. This suited me just fine. (fume fume)
At midnight I ran everyone out, including my boyfriend, and began stocking the bar for the next day. I was in the storeroom lifting heavy cases of beer when Red walked in. I don't know what he did with the blondes, but he was alone now and offered to help me carry the cases of beer. We spent an hour stocking and talking. He was a pipefitter for an outfit in Oklahoma and was on a two-week vacation to see his three-year old daughter from a previous marriage, and his parents who took care of her, and of course good 'ol Uncle Snoz.
Somewhere along the way, I forgot my commission going down the drain. When we finished the work, he grabbed me and gave me a kiss that I still remember to this day. After that the blondes didn't have a chance. I didn't let him out of my sight that entire two weeks. After his vacation was over and he went back to Oklahoma, we called each other long distance very night for the next two weeks until I finally decided it was ridiculous, as well as expensive, so I packed a bag and went after him. I had never been in Oklahoma before and the town of Barnsdal was so small that I drove right through it and ended up in Tulsa, then had to backtrack forty miles. When I finally got to Barnsdal, Red wasn't even there. He was out on the pipeline and no one in town knew where. I waited around for a couple of days, then discouraged, I headed back to Wichita. A few miles outside of Barnsdal, I started up a steep winding road when my car decided to vapor lock on me. I was in a perilous position, so I tried to roll backwards down the hill. I never was very good at backing up and somehow the car got turned sideways in the road blocking both sides of traffic.
About this time, Red and his buddy were on their way home to Barnsdal and when they reached the top of the hill, his buddy mentioned that the last time he came down the hill, some "dumb broad" had blocked the road. Red replied with, "Better shut it down, there's another dumb broad with car trouble blocking the road." Needless to say, he was surprised (an understatement) to see me. Nonchalantly I told him that if the Mounties could set up a road block to catch their man, then so could I.
We were married two weeks later. When I found out we'd be living in Barnsdal (which is a little bigger than Ada, but not by much), I nearly said "I don't" instead of "I do." But we only lived there one year (Thank God!). Both of us having gypsy feet, we spent the next 17 years traveling around the country with Red's new job as a nuclear pipefitter. We tremendously enjoyed traveling and would probably still be on the road had I not gone blind one month after we moved here to Richard, Washington in 1970.
I haven't mentioned that my favorite past time is reading. I took a speed reading course years ago, so I was able to read three or four novels a day. On this particular day, I had gone to an auction and came home with seven cases of hardback books. When my husband came home from work, he found me sitting on the floor with books scattered everywhere. I was in 7th heaven! I had gone through about half of them, reading titles and blurbs, when the print began to blur. Stubbornly I kept on trying to read titles, but the blurring got worse and worse. It happened that fast.
We called an Ophthalmologist and I described my condition. He had me come right in because he was thinking it could be glaucoma. I was thinking cataracts. We were both wrong. I was born with what is called "high progressive myopia," which is hereditary. In other words, those of us who have this were born with slightly flat eyeballs that just get flatter and flatter, like a slow leaking tire, until they reach a flatness that prevents the light from reaching the retina. There was nothing he could do for me so he sent me to San Francisco to a research center. They attached scleral muscles to the backs of my eyes to form a girdle of sorts, hoping to help hold the eyes in shape. But the right eye ruptured and is permanently blind. The left eye held and I ended up with 20/200 vision in that one eye (with a contact).
With the possibility of the left eye rejecting the graft, I joined Service for the Blind. They taught me to read and write in braille, dictaphone typing, how to use the white cane (Yuk!) and many other things. But so far the scleral graft is holding and I get around quite well. In fact, I can do practically everything I did before, except drive. Not that I do all the things I used to do. I have always been what you might call lazy, but it exhausts me to just remember all the rushing around, keeping house, laundry, raising four kids, PTA (Yuk!), chairman of this, member of that, etc. After our youngest went off to college, we immediately moved out of our two-story house into a four room adult community complex. I told ERA that I'd vote for them only if they'd really liberate me by providing a maid to clean my four rooms. Now that's lazy!
In 1977, my daughter gave me a beautiful leather bound family tree book. Halfheartedly, I began to fill it in and then realized that I didn't know anything about my family, let alone our ancestors. So, being a curious (snoopy) Capricorn, I began to get interested. The more I got into it, the more fun it became and after five years, this book is the result. Now I can go back to being lazy." 
Shirley passed away at age 60 on 6 May 1992 in Washington.
220.127.116.11 - Delbert Joe Freed (1948)
Joe was born on 2 Dec 1948 in Wichita, KS. On Jan 1983 he married Kathy Jo Durbin from Haysville, KS. They later divorced. He then married Carla Rae Smith from Champaign, IL. They later divorced. In July 2003, he met and fell in love with Janet Elaine Fehrenbach from Ness City, Kansas. They bought a house together and were best friends in love ever since. Joe passed away on 10 Dec 2014. He will be and already is sorely missed.
18.104.22.168 - James Duane Freed (1951)
James was born on 12 Nov 1951 in San Diego, CA. On 17 Oct 1970 he married Vickie Marie Seybert in Bremerton, WA. They later divorced.
Cindy Freed (1953)
Cindy was born in 1953. She is the daughter of Delbert Zane Freed and his second wife.
22.214.171.124 - Deborah Ann Wheeler (1954)
Deborah was born on 31 Aug 1954 in Barnsdal, OK. On 26 Jan 1974 she married Steven Lawrence Demeyer in Richland, WA. Together they have two children:
126.96.36.199.1 - Stephenie Ann Demeyer was born on 5 Jul 1974 in Richland, WA. 188.8.131.52.2 - Steven Lawrence Demeyer, Jr. was born on 9 Apr 1977 in Richland, WA.