April 13, 1936 - August 13, 2016
Memories, by Robert Kellen
I was single in 1961 & looking for a wife. No luck at bars (remember the “It’ll Do Club” & “Bamboo Room?”). Family & friends were fruitless. There was a Wednesday night ballroom dance at downtown YMCA, which was nice, but didn’t pan out. Then I discovered the Single Aires, a Sunday school class of young singles at First Methodist Church in downtown Dallas. They had a social every weekend at someone’s apartment & I was at one of these the Timbers Apartment. The room was crowded when suddenly the door opened & in walked Ann. Dressed in tight black slacks, she immediately had commanding presence. The cowed parted to make way for her & she sat down in the center of the room & held court. Lots of energy, personality, the “It” girl of 1962. I asked who she was & was told she was dating someone & not available.
She started coming to the Sunday school class &, thinking she might now be available, I introduced myself. I called her for a date & she said “No”. a week later I called again & she said “No, I have to wash my hair” (a flimsy excuse). I had a rule: Three strikes & I’m out. I didn’t want to make that third call, so I asked my friend Don to ask her for a date. He called & she said “Yes” to Don.
We arranged a double date, spreading our blankets on the grass on the wooded side of Flagpole Hill. The city had stacked a big pile of dead tree limbs there, so we built a big bonfire, roasted wieners & had a good time. The next morning I was sitting at the traffic signal at Northwest Highway & Buckner. Looking up to Flagpole Hill, scene of last night’s wanton frivolity, I saw a fire truck still pouring water on a pile of smoldering dead tree limbs. What is the Statue of Limitations on arson?
Then I made that third call & she said “Yes”. When she invited me to dinner at her apartment, made homemade ice cream in her Ice cream freezer & barbecued chicken with her secret recipe sauce, I saw she could also cook. That did it. She says I married her for her ice cream freezer & she married me for my fireplace. She was 26.
Driving to New Orleans on our honeymoon, we listened to radio station WWL New Orleans broadcasting evacuating routes out of New Orleans. It was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cars were streaming out & there we were, driving in. The only bombs that went off were ours & it has lasted 53 years.
Ann was born in Wheaton, Illinois, to George & Frances McCausland. George continued with a little 1920’s jazz band formed in Beloit University, Art Braun’s Novelty Boys (what a name), playing banjo. Around 1928 he felt the need to get a real job & became a travelling salesman for a magazine, selling advertising space. I have his tax returns back to 1929 & he was very success full making $6,000 in 1930 during the Depression. In 1936 he was making $25,000. In 1939 they bought a large 1912 home in Wheaton, had a live-in maid, took month long vacations, helped found the local county club & life was good. Ann came along in 1936.
When Ann was around 5 years old she found her two brothers smoking cigarettes behind the garage. She said “I’m going to tell mom”. They said “Don’t, & we’ll give you a cigarette”. They did. She took a couple of puff & went to tell mom. A darling little sister.
Following in her father’s musical footsteps, she played tenor sax in the Wheaton High School band & had a chest full of band medals. She was also in a small group that played for after school parties. They called her “sexless Ann & her sexy sax, it has more curves then she has”.
In 1952 she went off to Illinois Wesleyan, where she was a Kappa Kappa Gamma. Unfortunately, while dad had a fine income, he never learned to save & invest. He was laid off, but got a pension, then after two years, they cut it off. In 1954, seeing her parents could no longer afford her tuition, she left school & looked for a job. She wanted to be in retail as a clothing designer or buyer, but Chicago stores wanted a college degree & all she was offered was a sales clerk behind the counter. She wrote to Sanger Bros. in Dallas & they said “Come on Down”. She sold her saxophone for $250 & rode a train to Dallas, arriving in a snowstorm. Sangers hired her & put her into management training. She stayed at the YMCA. It took a lot of courage to do that.
She quickly advanced at Sanger Bros. (later Sanger Harris) & became department supervisor at their Big Town Store. Later she was supervisor for the men’s department at the downtown store. At Christmas time she managed around 100 people.
Married to Robert Kellen in October, 1962, they both drove 1960 Volkswagen bugs. Hers was rust red, his was gray green. His & hers bugs. It was her first car & she cried when we got rid of it ten years later.
Advancing through the years, she became a mother in 1965 (Paul), then a grandmother (Drake & Willow). Paul married an English Lassie, Paula Darbyshire, so it’s half way around the world to see mother. She also has a step-daughter, Sandra, married to DeWayne White. They live in Flower Mound. Ann served as a Cub Scout Leader, garden guide at the Arboretum, & did pet theraphy work at Baylor Rehab with Duchess II, her Beagle. Duchess II was also a dog model for various doggie catalogs & did a short time-filler on KERA TV. She loved three Beagles, Duchess I, II, III, & was a charted member of the Eager Beagle Club.
Ann was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 1984 & lived with Chemo treatments twelve years. She was to get her 30 year AA chip this December. Friday afternoon, August 12, she had chest pains & classic heart attack symptoms. In Baylor ER, she died the next day at 6:44 PM Saturday, August 13. Survided by husband Robert, son Paul & wife Paula, grandchildren Drake & Willow, step-daughter Sandra & husband DeWayne, brother Richard & wife Sandy, McCausland nieces Martha & Ruthie, nephews George, Ralph & Roger, & their families.
We shall meet, but we shall miss her, there will be one vacant chair; we shall linger to caress her, when we breathe our evening prayer. When a year ago we gathered, joy was in her bright blue eyes, but golden cord is severed and our hopes in ruin lie. True, they tell us wreaths of glory, evermore will deck her brow, but this sooths the anguish only, sweeping o’er our heartsrings now. Sleep today O ealy fallen, in thy green and narrow bed, dirges from the pine and cypress, mingle with the tears we shed. From “The Vacant Chair”, a Civil War song.
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