Sunday, February 26, 2006

UNCLE JOY, Ira Joy Stoddard, Jr.

The following was written by Mary Alice Whitson Harvey

My maternal grandmother's younger brother, Ira Joy Stoddard, Jr. lived in Des
Moines at the time my family moved there (March 1926). We called him Uncle Joy. He was retired from his job as a surveyor. (The maps he made were works of art, and he did beautiful calligraphic writing.)

Some members of his family did not think he was a very good man because he smoked cigars and drank whiskey, and at least, in his younger days used some other drugs. When he was in India as a young man, -- with his father the last time he was there, Ira Joy, Jr. became an opium user and at least occasionally used it after returning to the United States.

But my mother, who lived a long ways from the rest of her family, was really glad to be where she could see him sometimes. He would come to visit us regularly. In the summertime, we would set a comfortable chair outdoors in a cool, shady place and he would tell stories to Bertha and me, perhaps Franklin, too, I don't remember for sure. He told very good stories. He wrote children's stories under the pen name of Hunky Dory, and I suspect he tried some of them out on us first. When he came in the summertime, he always brought a bag of fruit and would ask my mother to make it into a fruit drink. In those days, there was, of course, no frozen concentrated fruit juice and the only canned fruit juice I know of was bottled grape juice. If anyone wanted to drink fruit juice or lemonade they had to use a reamer to make freshly squeezed juice.

Uncle Joy's imagination went beyond that however, and my mother could match that
creativity. Oranges and lemons were easily obtained, but sometimes he would bring
grapefruit which were a rarity in the markets. A few times he found a fresh pineapple, and once or twice he managed some strange tropical fruit that I never saw the like of again for forty or fifty years. I don't know where he got those! Sometimes there were fresh berries, or peaches or plums. Imagine turning any of those into juice without mechanical assistance! There were no juicers, blenders, food processors, etc. My mother appeared to enjoy the challenge and the results seemed like utter ambrosia!

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