prune picker

This is the blog of a prune picker. (Native born Californian) Retired oilfield. I am an old man. (91) I blog a lot about my body and getting old. As I approach death life gets more interesting. More interesting is not good. I still drive. I attend sports, music, and civic events. I am writing my memoirs. I attend swim class three times a week. Some of my blogs might be interesting. A lot of my blogs are silly and trivial. None are very long.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Lady from Scotland who loved Sandy Koufax.

She is Helen Dinwoodie Smith. She is the maternal grandmother of my wife Jackie. She was a delightful part of my life and the life of my family. She had a delightful Scottish accent. Jackie and I and our four children dearly loved her. She was always known as Neway. A childhood nickname.

All the time that I knew her she lived in San Luis Obispo, California. She was born in Paisley Abbey, Renfrewshire, Scotland in 1885. She passed away in San Luis Obispo in 1967. In her life she moved from Scotland to Toronto, Canada with her folks, became a nurse in Chicago, homesteaded (with husband George Smith) in Elk Point, Alberta, helped George run grocery stores in Taft, Santa Maria, and San Luis Obispo. (all in California) Now isn't that an adventurous life? When Jackie and I were RVing we visited Elk Point. It is still on the edge of civilization.

George and Neway homesteaded in 1918 on the very north edge of Canada. A daughter passed away in the world wide Measles Epidemic of that year. Jackie and I visited her grave in Vermillon.

This is a picture of Neway in her later years, as I knew her.

This is a picture of Neway in mid life as a nurse and homesteader.

When I met her, she and George were retired. George had chickens and delivered eggs downtown. George would play cards downtown in the evening. When he came home he and Neway would eat crackers and cheese. And listen to baseball. She loved the Dodgers and especially Sandy Koufax.
She had two other passions. Judy Garland and the English Royal Family.

Jackie and I lived in San Luis Obispo for four years while I obtained a Degree in Mechanical Engineering. We saw Neway a lot. When we moved away, every Christmas we would go get Neway and bring her home for several weeks over the holidays. I can remember the huge disappointment when she decided that she could no longer make the trip. Neway was a big part of our Christmas.

God Bless.


  1. I love this one, of course. Newly was and maybe still is my favorite person ever. I still miss her. Whenever I see anything about Sandy Koufax, I think of her.

    1. Me too. Neway and Koufax go together. Some say Sandy was the greatest left hand pitcher ever.

  2. Only thing I can remember about her is that she had a photo of Koufax on the wall. I can't remember her face or her voice or ever talking to her. I do remember going to her funeral.

  3. I do not believe that I remember her funeral I remember George's funeral I could be mixed up. Neway was sweet and gracious. I love her.


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