Phyllis Kaser Shoup (1921-2004)
After I went to a wedding last weekend, I started shuffling through various wedding pictures in my photo collection. At this wedding, of my cousin, Phylis Kaser Shoup, I was a flower girl.
I took my responsibilities very seriously. To my way of thinking, Phyllis was the height of beauty and sophistication. After all, I was seven years old and she was 25–quite a gap. She had even lived and worked in WASHINGTON, D. C.! I was justly proud of my beautiful long dress and fancy headpiece. And at the rehearsal when I was told how to carry a basket of flower petals and scatter them on the floor as the other flower girl and I walked down the aisle, it was serious stuff. During the wedding, I concentrated very hard on getting just enough petals to flow out of the basket, without using them all up before I got to the front of the awesomely beautiful church.
Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot of Phyllis’ story, but I’ll share what I do know.
Phyllis was the middle child of my father’s brother, Keith Kaser and his wife Blanche. She had an older sister, Evelyn, and a younger brother Richard (Dick). When she was young, she lived for a time in Orrville, Ohio, but by the time I started visiting the Kasers, they lived in Millersburg, Ohio, where she went to high school.
When World War II started, there was a great demand for office workers–mainly women–in Washington D.C. So she and her sister Evelyn decided to take their secretarial skills to Washington for the war effort. It must have been quite an adventure for two young women from Millersburg Ohio to to to the bustling city of Washington during the war, with soldiers everywhere.
They were there in 1945 when my family were spending the summer in Virginia (a story for another day) and I remember that we visited with them. A few months after that visit, Phyllis returned to Millersburg to get ready for her wedding to tall, dark and quietly handsome John Shoup. (I just realized how solemn almost everyone in the wedding picture looks. I looked particularly grim–still afraid I might do something wrong, I guess. Actually it was a particularly joyous time. Not only a wedding–but peace time at last!)
I remember going to the wedding shower–a real privilege for such a little girl. And I’ll never forget that my mother brought a gift of a few dishtowels, with a poem she had written. “Even doing dishes can be fun, when it is done for the one and only one.”
After living in Millersburg for a time, Phyl (as she was usually called) and John moved to Kentucky and lived there for most of their lives. They had two small blond babies, and I enjoyed visiting them and playing “big sister”. [UPDATE: When they left Millersburg, they moved to Ashland, Ohio, and in 1967 moved to Louisville Kentucky.]
When John died in 1990, Phyl moved to Ashland Ohio to be near her daughter, and lived there until her death in 2004.
I would love hearing more details about Phyllis from Kaser cousins. For instance, did she and Evelyn work in some super exciting job in D.C.? or were they doing repetitious typing of inventories? [UPDATE: She worked at the Naval Department]. And what were her interests when she moved to Kentucky? [She and John were avid golfers.] How did she and John meet? [Although they went to different high schools, they were both in the All County High School Band, so they were actually high school sweethearts.] So many questions–[and now some answers].
[UPDATES thanks to personal correspondence with Phyllis’ daughter, Debbie Shoup Powers. Thank you Debbie!]