My father’s dad, Robert Lee Hudnall, was born 1 October 1928 in Charleston, West Virginia, the second child to Clarence Huling Hudnall and Nina Virginia Eskins. His older sister, Reva Ann, was born about a year before. I have no pictures or much information on his sister as they had lost contact years before my birth.
I have been unable to find a 1930 census record for them, but will continue the search. However, I found his father and sometimes his mother in the 1928, 1930, 1932, 1934, and 1938 Charleston City Directories which were printed every other year. Women were not printed in early years of many city directories unless they were widowed or employed so I did not find her in the earlier ones until they started listing women as well. By the 1934 directory, they were listed at 1315 Stuart Street in Charleston and my father remembers them living there even after he was born.
In the 1940 census, Robert is listed as 11-year-old Bobby Lee.
By 1948, grandpa was married to his first wife, Barbara. They had one daughter and later divorced.
On 24 December 1953, he married my Grandma, Chessie Leo Hudnall. They had three sons and finally a daughter. Around 1967, they moved to Elyria, Ohio, finally buying a house on White Oak Drive.
Grandpa served in the West Virginia National Guard for eighteen years. When the family moved to Ohio, Robert worked as a plastic injections operator at General Motors Fisher Guide, retiring after twenty years in 1988 when the Elyria factory closed.
I have many fond memories of my grandparents’ house on White Oak Drive. Early on, Grandma grew a large garden in the backyard. Later they had a swimming pool. We had many cookouts there.
Grandpa was a quiet person. He worked nights for many years and when I would spend time there, he loved to have popcorn before leaving for work. You always lost the television to him if there was a boxing match on tv. He always had a special dance he did where he pointed at his foot and lifted his toes up and down. I would get so mad if I fell down outside and came in to tell Grandma and he would ask me how the sidewalk looked! He could be quite the joker. I remember him taking us cousins to a circus that came to town one year, something that was unusual for him.
My best memory of Grandpa was him taking me and sometimes my sister to the cemetery each Memorial Day before heading to my other grandparents’ picnic to place flowers on Grandma’s grave. Looking back, I do not know what caused Grandpa to take me with him. My parents said they never suggested it. Was it more for him or me? I will never know, but I am thankful he did.
Robert passed away 27 December 2010 after suffering several years from Alzheimer’s. During those later years, he always wanted to get back to his old home at 1315 Stuart Street in Charleston. He must have had good memories of this home.