Dorothy Louise Blackstone Bass Marlow was the 11th child of Benjamin & Laura Blackstone.
Dorothy Louise Blackstone Bass Marlow
Dorothy Louise Blackstone was born in Flory, Andrews County, Texas on January 16, 1928. She was welcomed to the world by a large, loving family. Dorothy was child number 11 in a family of 13 children. Although she was born at home she did have an attending physician. His name was Dr. W. D. Alldredge. Her parents were Benjamin Joseph and Laura Ethel Blackstone. So, her life journey began. She lived through some of the hardest and most exciting times in our country’s history.
Dorothy started school in Flory, Texas. Her mother made her 3 new dresses for school. She also had socks to match. Alice, her sister, did her hair in curls that day. Dorothy was very tender headed. She did not like having her hair worked on. Her hair was baby fine and tangled very easily. Any little tug would make her pout and fuss.
In 1936 one of her older brothers was killed while competing at a rodeo in Florida. His name was Joseph Franklin Blackstone. Joe’s brothers, Vick and Doc were with him when he passed away. They brought his body back to Andrews County by train from Sarasota, Florida. Joe was only 26 and he had been a world class rodeo rider, considered to be 5th in showmanship in the entire country. He had even preformed in Madison Square Garden in New York. Somehow, the family made it through the pain of losing a son and brother. Joe is buried in the Andrews Cemetery.
Times were hard. The Great Depression was in full swing. Jobs were just not to be found. Dorothy’s sister Maggie had married and moved away from home. She suggested the family move closer to her. Perhaps they would do better with a new start in a different part of the county. So, in 1937 the Blackstone Family moved to Boise, Idaho.
Dorothy made friends in Boise. There were two girls in particular Dorothy was close to, Beth Miller and Betty Douglas. Along with Dorothy’s sisters, Alice and Josie, this made a total of 5 girls. They were generally found together. They would usually walk everywhere they went. The Blackstones lived about 3 miles from town. The girls would walk to town and then walk home. They did not think much of it. This was the only way they had to get around. Dorothy always remembered this time of her life as being a lot of fun. She remembered those times as some of the best of her life. She always spoke of her friends from Idaho with fondness.
While Dorothy was in Boise she grew into a lovely young lady. She was 5 feet 7 inches tall and slim as a willow. Her hair was light brown, baby fine and wavy. Dorothy had golden brown eyes with flecks of green and gold in them. She was blessed with the beautiful curvy smile many of the Blackstone women have. All of the Blackstone sisters can be described as beautiful. Dorothy was one of the prettiest.
When WWII began the family decided to move back to Texas. Dorothy was 14. I know a child of that age did not want to leave her friends. But, leave she did. In 1942 the family loaded up and started their journey to Houston, Texas. In Houston, Dorothy attended George Washington Junior High School and Sam Houston High School. In those days children usually did not complete high school unless they were planning on going to college. Dorothy did not finish high school she quit to go to work.
At a time when everyone in the country was helping with the war effort, at the age of 15 Dorothy decided to go to work. She was hired to work at the shipyard. She had to lie about her age to get the job. Her foreman kept asking her to bring in her birth certificate to verify that she was old enough to work there. She just kept promising to bring it. Josie, her sister, went to work at the Dixon Gun Plant. She had to lie about her age, too. The sisters would catch a work bus which would take them to work and then take them back home.
Benjamin Joseph Blackstone, Dorothy’s father, passed away in 1945. He died on his birthday. The large close knit family had lost their father. He was laid to rest at Woodlawn Garden of Memories Cemetery near the Katy Freeway in Houston. Dorothy was living at home when this happened.
At last the war was over and the men were coming home. There was an effort to get as many back by Christmas as possible. Times were changing. The country was changing, the family was changing, and Dorothy was growing up.
Dorothy had met a young soldier by the name of Kenneth Bass. His niece, Mary Frances Smith had introduced them. Mary Frances and her family lived near the Blackstones on Inker St. At the time, Dorothy’s sister, Jesse Billings lived on Inker Street, too. Inker Street was in the little community of Cottage Grove. Kenneth stayed with his aunt who lived on Roy St. which was just a few blocks away. Kenneth Leroy Bass was the son of James A. and Susanna Bass. He was born in North Zulch, Madison County, Texas. He was the youngest of 13 children. He and Dorothy were married in Alvin, Texas in 1946. By 1947 they were living in Clute, Texas and Kenneth was working for the Dow Chemical Company in Freeport. They had one child, and that was me, Glenda Sue Bass. Their marriage did not last long. They were divorced and moved on with their lives. Both of them remarried.
Dorothy’s older brother, Lee Roy or Doc as everyone had called him since he was a child, became ill, and passed away in February of 1947. He had always had a bad heart. After the war he became sicker and weaker. Dorothy was expecting at the time and her doctor advised her not to go to the funeral. The stress could be too much for her. Doc was buried near his father, Ben, at the Woodlawn Garden of Memories Cemetery. Doc was only 33 years old.
Before long Dorothy met Jack Marlow. She met him at her sister Alice’s fountain in Houston, Texas. Jack Gloy Marlow was the son of John Wilbur and Ruby May Marlow. He was born in Pittsburg, Hartshorne County, Oklahoma. He was an only child. Dorothy and Jack Marlow were married in Richmond, Texas in 1950. At first they lived in a garage apartment in Houston. Before long they moved right next door to Dorothy’s widowed mother on Inker Street. Jack was working for the Hughes Tool Company.
In 1951 Jack Gloy Junior was born. Then it seemed like just a few months passed and twin girls were born. She named them Marialice and Rosemary. Dorothy was a stay at home mom during this time of her life. Taking care of 4 children, 3 of them babies, is a full time job.
Dorothy and Jack Marlow bought a new home on Castleton Street near Tidwell Road in Houston. Dorothy enjoyed decorating her new home. Jack decided to go into business for himself as a painter. As hard as they tried to live the American Dream their marriage did not last. They separated and then went back together several times. It just did not work out and eventually they divorced. Dorothy and Jack Marlow had two other children, James Nathan, born in 1957 and Anna Laura (Laurie) born in 1959.
Laura Blackstone decided to sell her house on Inker Street and move. She was going to buy a little farm house with 10 acres of land in Crockett, Texas. Since Dorothy was living with her mother, she decided to move, too. Living away from the city of Houston might bring new possibilities into everyone’s life.
In February of 1960 Dorothy gathered her six children ages 12 years to 3 months. She loaded up her Jeep and drove to Crockett, Texas. She planned to live in the little farm house out on Highway 7 in Crockett until she could find something else.
Those years were hard. Dorothy had very little money to feed and cloth her family. Life was a struggle. Somehow she managed, though. There was a small shotgun house behind the farm house on her mother’s property. It was in need of repair. The little shotgun house was eventually remodeled and Dorothy and her children moved there. John Marlow, Jack Marlow’s father came down from Oklahoma to help with the construction work. That little house would be her home for quite awhile. Not long after we moved to Crockett, she decided to go into business. Dorothy opened a little café and lunch bar called Sparkies. Business was not good enough to keep it open. But, it was good enough for her to become acquainted with many of the children from the elementary school and the high school. She met a lot of people and had a lot of fun.
Our whole family started going to church at the Porter Springs Baptist Church. This led to one of the great events in Dorothy’s life. Dorothy along with four of her children, Jack, Marialice, Rosemary and James were all baptized on the same day. This was one of the highlights of her life. I think this happened in June of 1962. I am not sure of the date. She also did something quite unusual. She taught herself to play the piano. She became quite good at tickling the ivories. Laura, her mother, played the piano by ear. Perhaps Dorothy had inherited her mother’s talent.
A neighbor introduced her to a nice fellow who worked on one of the ranches near her home. His name was Wilbur Melvin. Wilbur Glen Melvin was the son of Elzie and Sarah Elmira Melvin. He was born in Karnes County, Texas. Dorothy and Wilbur married in 1963.
The latter part of 1963 was a sad time for Dorothy. Her brother, Ernest and her sister, Maggie, both passed away that year. Ernest died after a heart attack in Houston on September 3rd. He is buried at Rest Haven Cemetery in Houston, Texas. Maggie passed away on November 30. She is buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Olympia, Washington.
For several years Dorothy stayed at home, caring for her family. She learned to sew and became an excellent seamstress. Dorothy was also very interested in the Blackstone Family Mystery. She was an amateur historian. Dorothy enjoyed studying the history of the old west. My mother was truly gifted. She could learn anything very easily and very quickly.
In 1967 Dorothy went to work for the Dolly Madison Furniture Factory in Crockett. She worked there until she moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1970. The year 1970 was a difficult one. Laura Blackstone passed away April 17th in Grapeland, Texas. She is buried at Woodlawn Garden of Memories Cemetery in Houston, Texas.
That same year Dorothy went to work for Hamm’s Catering Service. She drove a catering truck to the plants in the area. She knew hundreds of folks who worked at these plants. She was in the Exxon plant when it suffered an explosion and fire in 1975. Fortunately, she was not injured.
Her brother, David (Dude) passed away February 3, 1983 in Cortez, Colorado. He is buried at Syringa Gardens Cemetery, Boise, Idaho.
In January 1984, Dorothy was diagnosed with cancer. She had an inoperable tumor. She was in and out of the hospital several times during the first half of that year. Dorothy faced death with great dignity and courage. She passed away on July 21, 1984 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the Earl K. Long Hospital. Dorothy is buried at Rose Lawn Garden of Memories Cemetery in Baton Rouge. Her son, Jack, and her daughter, Laurie, rest beside her. Dorothy dearly loved her children and grandchildren. There was nothing she would not do for her family. She lived life to the fullest. She fought the good fight.
Remembered and written by: Glenda Bass Baker December 27, 2004