January 1, 1929 – March 25, 2020
Blodwyn Bernice Ball was born on January 1, 1929, right before the wake of the Great Depression. Named after her father’s sister, Blod was the sibling of Martha (twelve years Blod’s senior), Glenys, and William (who went by the name Jack). Blodwyn’s mother was Margaret Edith Walters Ball, but she went by the name “Mag.”
Looking back on her early childhood, Blodwyn did not have vivid memories of it herself. She only remembers what her sister, Martha, told her. The times were difficult during The Great Depression, a period that comprised Blod’s earliest years of life.
When Blodwyn was only thirteen years old, a series of unfortunate events occurred. While her older brother, Jack, was in the military, Blod’s mother fell ill. She was diagnosed with cancer, and it was a long, drawn-out illness. Blod’s older sister, Glenys, was also away and working as a secretary in Washington, D.C. when her mother became sick. Eventually, her mother passed away. Living in a house up the street from Preston Place, Scranton, the entire viewing was held in the Ball’s home. Even in her 90s, Blod was able to vividly recall the chairs lined up the hallway stairs, in preparation for her young mother’s funeral. As a young girl, Blod had to witness early the reality of human mortality and loss. The death of Mag was Blod’s first experience with death, and she remembers never wanting to touch a cold body again. (Ironically, her future career as a nurse called for it each day).
After his wife’s death, Gilbert, Blod’s father, wanted to give Blodwyn up for adoption. Martha, Blod’s sister, was a lifesaver at this time; she took 13-year-old Blod out of her father’s house, and into her own home in Green Ridge.
Despite her hardships, Blod went on to serve others. In 1950 she graduated from nursing at the Scranton State Hospital. It cost $125 to receive her education! Her passion to help others started with mentally ill patients in Scranton hospital. She was always a huge advocate for mental health.
When Blodwyn turned 19, she met the man who would end up being the love of her life. Blod often went to baseball games in Scranton, and Bill played on a team called the Hyde Park Panthers. They fell in love immediately.
Remembering that time in her life, Blod says “Falling in love with [Bill] was a lot of fun.” She knew right from the beginning they would end up together. They were married on March 17, 1951.
Two short years later, they had their first child, Billy on January 4, 1953. Blod remembers it being a “good pregnancy.” Although she had to have a caesarian section, everything went well. “Just being a parent surprised me!” She never thought that far ahead until the moment came for her to have children she; just took it for granted it was your job to do and you did it. At the time in the 1950s, Blod believed raising a baby was a lot more responsibility; there were diapers to wash and everything had to be sterilized. Blod said the Bill was a “good dad.” He worked long hours as a milk man, because he did not have a car at that time, so his days as a young father were long and strenuous.
It was big surprise, then, when Blod became pregnant once again. They thought they had a miscarriage, and did not know the sex of the baby until delivery. Blod had to have a C-section once again, and gave birth to a daughter named Beverly on September 16, 1960.
These were bright times for the Jones household. Many warm memories were made, and Blod found much joy in being a young mother. The family had an old car that was in the driveway, and the kids would get together and sleep in the car. They would also make tents in the backyard and sleep in them. Cousins were always visiting: Carl and Paul playing with Bill, and Judy and Joanie playing with Bev.
Blod remembers “there were always kids around” in the neighborhood. Days were crammed with baseball games, basketball games and more. The big difference at the time was women were home every day, so they could talk from one house to the next. Blod remembers there was always a door open at somebody’s house. Bev often was playing out on the patio with Barbie dolls. Blod took Bev’s best friend, Dawn, with them wherever they went. Blod seemed to constantly be surrounded by children. She loved it.
There was a very joking, loving relationship between Blod and Bill and their children. Bill “idolized his daughter,” and he would take the kids almost every Sunday to the Nay Aug Park zoo. Blod always took the kids on picnics, and to Beach Lake in Hamlin and also to Acre Lake in Honesdale.
Life on Preston Place was simple yet comfortable and filled with love.
And the years flew by: Bill Jr. moved to Florida, Bev went to university and both of them started their new lives.