August 31, 2021

ISOBEL WITH AN O

This photo of my oldest brother’s family was taken when I was about two years old.  Monte and Isobel had two sons, Farrell two years older than George. Isobel was as petite as Monte was tall.  She had short black hair and dancing brown eyes, and loved to talk and laugh. We always called her Isobel (sometimes Belle for short) but never realized she spelled it with an “o” instead of the more familiar spelling Isabel until she made that clear many years later.

She was an only child and her parents divorced when she was a little girl.  There was always an air of mystery about her father who was nowhere in sight.  Her mother Mrs. Dobson was a lovely woman and very protective of her daughter.  Apparently, the father had taken Isobel away without permission once and her mother remained vigilant after that When she and Monte married the day she graduated from high school, there was some concern the father might appear and interfere. He didn’t, and when they returned from their honeymoon, Mrs. Dobson moved in with them.  

Monte loved her and when the boys were born, she was a wonderful babysitter and housekeeper.  She was a great cook and we have many recipes of hers including one for divinity candy and one for homemade fudge.

When I was about 8 years old, Isobel asked if I would like for her to give me weekly “elocution lessons.”  She had had that training as a girl and thought I would enjoy it.  It was just my cup of tea, as I loved public speaking.  I would go to her house every week for an hour or two to practice my diction and vocal expression.  She gave me two paperback books of recitations to study.  We would choose one or two selections each week for me to memorize and then recite to her the next week.  She helped me project my voice, speak clearly and with expression. I was hooked from then on, and all through college and beyond, entered speaking competitions.

This later photo of Isobel was taken at my wedding reception.  When I got engaged, she was very enthusiastic about helping me plan the wedding details.  She arranged for us to have the wedding at her church, Keith Memorial United Methodist.  When it came time to have my wedding portrait taken, she offered her lovely living room for the setting.  And she twisted Monte’s arm to agree that he would put on a tuxedo and escort me down the aisle at the wedding.  She was a classy lady—and I especially appreciated her elocution classes and her wedding planning!

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