Dorothy Andrus Crane (1902-2002) Autobiography

The history of any person starts long before that person is born but I will sum up my Ancestors in one short paragraph - my Mother was Edith Andrus whose father’s family originated in Scotland before 1640. His ancestors arrived in America that year. Her mother was Catherine Leinweber whose father left Germany to avoid military service in the late 1700’s. My father’s father was Dwight Crane - his ancestors settled in New York in the 1700’s and my father’s mother was Orena E. Gilman whose ancestors came from the State of Maine.

The house where I was born
I was born Feb. 4, 1902 in a little mining town of Congo, Ohio, the second of four children - Gladys, Dorothy, Roderic and Betty. My Dad was an electrical engineer and his job was to install electric lights in the mines - which accounts for the four different towns we were born in. Until we moved to Rockford Illinois around 1908 I remember very little. My father was employed by the City to engineer the first “Pay as you enter,” electric railroad cars or street cars and later was made Supt. of the
Water Dept. We lived in Rockford until 1914 when we moved to Lansing Michigan where my father was made Manager of the Electric light and Water Dept. There I attended the old Townsend Street School and the First Presbyterian Church, graduated into the Central High school in 1916 and graduated from there with the class of 1921. I had an operation for appendicitis in my Junior year and had to make up some credits. Our family moved to Owosso Michigan in 1921 which made it a little difficult for my steady boy-friend, Donald Price, to see me, so when I was invited to stay with his folks to attend a Rambler Winter party - he suggested that we get married - so we did, without bothering to notify anyone, which was a selfish and unkind thing to do to our folks - but we were thinking entirely of ourselves.

Donald was working in the Sect. of State’s Office at that time, but when the Administration changed he lost his job and it was several months before he obtained employment at the First National Bank and he stayed there until the Doctor advised him to take a leave of absence for a few months as he had suffered from Hay Fever and Asthma and overwork in the bank. When our baby was fifteen months old, he and Ray Trumble took Donna and I to Owosso to take care of my family while Mother underwent surgery on both eyes, and left in our Ford for California. I will let him tell about his adventures out there - he loved it there and it agreed with his health - he worked in the same bank with Shirley Temple’s father. At the end of the summer both he and Ray were getting homesick so they picked up Bud Esler in San Francisco and took the Northern Route home. By the time he got back home, Grandma had recovered from her operations and we went back to Lansing to live. There he went to work on a temporary job on the railroad. His Mother and Aunt had been notified of an inheritance left them by their Aunt Dell so they started making plans to go to Florida for the Winter, Isadora wasn’t well and this gave them a chance to see if the warm weather would be beneficial to her. Of course, we were included in the plans, too as they wanted to drive down - and no one but Donald could drive - so we turned our Ford in for a down payment on a Buick, and the first of the year of 1924 we started for Florida, Donald, Donna & I, Isadora, Mother & Auntie, Togo, the dog, suitcases, picnic lunches - and even a fur robe I had made out of a fur coat of Gladys’s.

We went by way of Washington, D. C. and as it was my first long trip I enjoyed seeing all the places I had read about - but I was homesick before we got half way to Florida. Isadora had a bad illness in West Virginia and we stayed at a hotel for almost a week. We took an apartment in Miami and Donald went to work for Harold Foster - a friend of Isadora’s. In a few weeks times we found a nice home in Cocoanut Grove, and there we lived until the Hurricane hit - the 1926th one - and the section of real estate that Donald was selling then was destroyed and as soon as Donald could settle his part of the partnership in the firm, we left Florida, Auntie in her Buick - we in our Chrysler, Auntie stayed with Isadora & Frank in Lansing, we went to Owosso where Donald went to work for the John Hancock Insurance Co. Meanwhile, Pat who was born in Miami, and was a year old when we left there was rather puny and I developed a cough which steadily worsened as the northern winter came on and the doctor advised me to either go to a tuberculosis Sanitarium or move to a warmer climate, so Donald asked and received a transfer to Los Angeles, California and he drove some wealthy Owosso people to Los Angeles and I followed him on the train with the two girls just before Christmas. Donald had found as apartment for us but we stayed at Aunt Bertie and Uncle Clyde’s house until we got settled.

I loved Los Angeles - it was the first time in almost five years of married life that Donald and I were free of relatives. We had a daughter, born pre-maturely that died, Donald had Small Pox and nearly died, and money was scarce, but thru Donald’s cousin Winifred Ramaley, we met some wonderful friends, were a part of their bridge club and those were some of our happiest years of marriage. There were also school-day friends of both of ours out there Ruth & Andy Schoolmaster, Ruth Bowdish, that lived next to me in Lansing, Donald’s pals Dick Hall, Ray & Lawry Trumbel, Pete & Martha Gray and Gar Curry - all from Lansing.

Don & Do's Cabin 1931
The beginning of the Depression was felt first in the West and the Insurance Co.’s were laying off men so Donald went to work as a commercial artist at the Bailoff’s Studio who were busy making shawles for the Centennial and other decorative work and he worked there until the studio had to close down as the depression hit bottom. Bud Esler, in San Francisco wrote to us that he had a job open in the Post Office if Donald wanted it, so we packed up, the three children - yes, Jim was born Jan. 9, 1929 in the Hollywood Hospital, a dog, all of our bedding, a bird in the bird cage, and arrived in San Bruno where Bud had rented a house for us just a block from where he and Florence lived. At the Post Office they decided not to hire the extra man so Donald got work on a construction gang building a new high-way to Santa Paula - but the damp atmosphere of San Francisco did not agree with Pat’s condition and the doctor advised us, this time, to spend at least three months in the mountains, so thru the Bailoff Studio’s Donald contacted an Art Company in S. F. who agreed to send piece work up to us that was on order from Sear Roebuck - so after Donald spent some time at the Bureau of Mines, we headed for Redding, California, turned west, drove into Weaverville - all of this in the old Essick, three children, all the bedding, the bird in the bird cage, beside the dog - which was now the proud mother of 4 puppies - we got our supplies in Weaverville - gun, tent, fishing gear, kit for rattle snake bites, and then we really started mountain climbing - over canyons - some passes just wide enough for the wheels to stay on it - and we pitched our tent outside of Hayfork! Camping near us was a Swedish couple named Huffman that we got acquainted with, and another couple - with their two girls that were friends of ours in Los Angeles, joined us, and together we were given permission to stake claims and build three cabins in the Trinity National Park - which we did and we lived a very primitive life high in the mountains about 80 miles south of the Oregon border. Pat was completely well now - all of us felt wonderful - but near the end of January, 1933, we had a terrific snow storm - the worst in the history of the state and it was impossible to get supplies and we were warned that more was coming - trees had broken in two and some smashed across the cabin, and as I was pregnant again for Deedee, we hired a bulldozer to get us out and headed East. It took us over a week to drive back to Mich. and another four days to Bangor, Maine - what a nightmare - car trouble, stuck in snow banks, taken in by strange, wonderful people and arrived in Bangor where my Dad was Manager of the Gas Co. there - and the Essicks gave up the ghost as we turned in the driveway. Donald went to work for my Dad and we stayed there six months after Deedee was born in July - then the Gas Co. was sold, Donald’s mother asked Donald to come and help her take care of Uncle Fred in Harbor Springs, my folks moved to Cincinnati, Ohio - so the rest you pretty well know. Donald went to work at the Graphic, then the Petoskey Gas Co., then the Petoskey Electric Co., as salesman - we moved to Petoskey in 1941 - Donna & Leslie were married in June of that year and both families moved here because the men worked in Petoskey and couldn’t afford driving back and forth.

The second World War was on now, gasoline rationed, no tires, then all new appliances stopped so the Petoskey Electric went out of business, Ward’s opened a new store here and Donald was one of the first persons hired. He worked a total of 19 years at Wards - and probably would be there yet, if he hadn’t had a heart attack in March 1964, major surgery and a stay in the hospital of over six weeks. He wasn’t able to do the hard work at Ward’s so in Oct. he accepted the job as Branch Manager for the Sect. of State office and, at this writing Jan. 9, 1967, he is still there. If this sounds more like a history of Donald Price instead of Dorothy - its just that nothing happens to me! I love music but don’t play any instrument well, I love to sing but have a very ordinary voice, my hobby is gardening - we’ve had very good luck with both flowers and vegetables, I don’t like house-keeping so manage to have grandchildren around - an excuse for why the house looks the way it does - I’d like to glamorize my history - sorry - its just not that way. You asked for it - here ‘tis.

                                                                                    Dorothy Price

If I had more time to do some research work I could have written a volume - but you did just say some highlights - and that’s what I wrote - very lightly. I don’t know if Donald will ever do his - he was born in Denver because his Mother was sickly - had been married five years but not well enough to conceive - so they went to Denver for her health - his Dad had a candy factory there - and they spent their week-ends camping on Pike’s Peak - she got much better, Isodora was born and two years later Donald came. When Donald was 4 years old his Dad sold the business and they came back to Mich. and stayed with Grandpa Main on his farm near Lansing. They stayed there two years until his father had another candy business going - they moved into Lansing and it was during this period that his Dad was an Amateur Boxer, also was part of a Minstrel troupe, did ballet dancing and soft shoe, played the Guitar and had a lovely bass voice. The family was highly emotional and when ever I asked questions about the father they would start crying and didn’t want to talk about him - he had died four years before we were married but I wasn’t allowed to play any of his records, Donald didn’t want to celebrate Christmas - because his Dad wasn’t there to enjoy it - he did die an awful death - was sick with cancer of the throat two years - he died at home with Donald doing a lot of the nursing of him - he was 17, and took it terribly hard. His mother had a stroke toward the end of his illness and she was never normal after that. Gladys could tell you all about them - she was going with Isadora all thru that period - but please don’t ask her - she didn’t like him and knew all kinds of scandal about him - so we’ll ignore her remembrances.

This is the third pen I’ve used - this letter is very sloppy - Tom and Kelly are having a duel and I think I better get to work - its a little hard to think. I hope I gave enough details in the history to make sense - you can always ask for more if things aren’t clear. I hope every one is well -


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