MY MOTHER, RUTH MILLER HORLACHER
Gladys was born in Locust Grove, Oklahoma, on February 7, 1915. Her Mother was Bettie Ross Miller Bates Wolf! Everyone called her Grandma Wolf.
Gladys had two brothers, an older brother, Fred Albert Miller, and a younger brother, Robert (Bob) E. Miller. According to Uncle Bob, the family traveled by train from Oklahoma to Long Beach, California in 1923. They moved into a house on Willow Street. My Mother and Uncle Bob went to grade school at Bernett School.
In 1924, the family moved again, to Atlantic Boulevard, still in Long Beach. My Mother and her brothers often went to a newly built movie theatre, the Brayton Theatre, to watch silent picture shows and to sing along with the “bouncing ball” on the screen, following the words to the songs.
Gladys’ Father, Charles H. Miller, built oil derricks for the oil fields on Signal Hill in Long Beach, and in nearby Huntington Beach. Grandpa Miller completed his last Signal Hill contract in 1925 and moved his crew to Huntington Beach to begin a new contract. While making a final inspection, Grandpa Miller fell from a platform and was seriously injured. That ended his career in the oil derrick contracting business.
In 1927, the family moved to 10th Street, still in Long Beach, where they rented a house from an “old lady,” called Grandma. According to Uncle Bob, he and my Mother stole “Grandma’s” cookies and other goodies from her pantry!
While living on 10th Street, my Mother and Uncle Bob attended Roosevelt School. Information about Grandpa Miller is missing from this time period, but it’s most likely that Grandma Wolf was on her own, taking care of her three children. She worked in a tailor shop making men’s pants, but in her spare time, she went to the Silver Spray Ballroom, on the “Pike.” The Pike was the “Coney Island” of the west coast, located at the shore in Long Beach. It was a family fun zone, and had something for everyone! My Mother and Uncle Bob went to the Pike, too, and rode the merry-go-round (built in 1911) and other rides, and sometimes they met Grandma there, at the ballroom, where they had even more fun sliding around on the ballroom floor! (Sounds like kids!)
There is information about Grandpa Miller’s whereabouts for this time: He was in a Veterans’ Hospital in Sawtelle, a Los Angeles suburb, undergoing treatment for the injuries he suffered when he fell from the derrick platform, and later, he spent another few years in a Veterans’ Hospital in Kansas. There are many gaps in history from this point on, but the research for more continues.
By 1928, Grandma Wolf was married to Archie S. Bates. They moved to Redondo Beach; my Mother was 13 and Uncle Bob was 10. They attended Central Elementary School, and later they went to Redondo High School. Gladys’ best friend was a girl named Winnie!
Gladys, like her Mother, liked to dance. She went to the Mandarin Ballroom (probably with Winnie) and, according to Uncle Bob, that’s where she met my Father, George W. Horlacher. My Father liked to dance, too. He was a very good dancer! He and my Mother fell in love and they were married in 1932. They had five children, me, Robert Wayne Horlacher, Warren Lee Horlacher, Loretta J. Horlacher Green Basham, Donna Horlacher Brady, and Patricia Jo Horlacher King.
Sometime in the 1940s, my Father tried to teach my Mother to drive. I remember watching her jerk up and down the driveway in their 1929 Model A Ford! Later, she learned to drive in her stepfather’s 1933 Chevrolet!
In the early 1940s, the family moved to Riverside, California (to La Sierra), and a short time after that, my Mother started a part-time job at the Riverside County Hospital. She graduated from part-time to full-time, and managed the salad department of food services. She retired from this job in the 1970s, and she and my Father, also retired, began enjoying road trips with their camper. They visited friends and tourist spots, and spent many days collecting rocks that my Father tumbled and used to make jewelry and furniture!
During her entire married life, my Mother busied herself at home making bread, pastries, churning butter, and making jams and jellies. I remember taking freshly baked cinnamon rolls to my Grandparents, who lived nearby.
Along with all this, my Mother also made a good share of the family’s clothes. I remember her making a shirt for me, start to finish, in two/two and a half hours! And after her children had children of their own, she made clothes for them, too!
Both my parents belonged to the Veterans of Foreign Wars; my Mother was a member of the Women’s Auxiliary. She and my Dad did volunteer work on projects related to veterans (my Father was a Navy Vet), and they socialized at the “hall” with their many, many friends. The group held dances, and my Mother and Father, never having lost their love to dance, were almost always “on the floor!”
My Father passed away on December 5th, 1984. My Mother died December 5th, 1994! Ten years to the day after my Father died!
Gladys is buried next to my Father in the National Cemetery in Riverside, California. She was almost 84 years old!