Gold in the Hills: Genevieve

Supplemental character material on members of the Alton Krause family
to accompany “Gold in the Hills”
Genevieve Overdorff (Mrs. Floyd Alton) Krause (b-Johnstown, PA; d. Riverton, WY)

Genevieve Overdorff Krause in younger days

What great memories of father Alton Krause. But what about his wonderful wife Genevieve? Did it matter to her where they lived, as long as they were happy? Daughter Cindy wrote down some impressions she has of her mother:
“Artistic – made her own greeting cards and sketched or painted all the time. She met Daddy at the Presbyterian Farm, when her family was camping there. She was always active in The Presbyterian Women’s group. She had a friend who taught belly dancing, so she learned how, and I have her belly dancing costume. She loved all holidays, but really decorated for Christmas. Almost every room of the house had decorations. She absolutely loved to go Christmas shopping. I didn’t know she played the piano until I was in my 20s. She saw one at an auction and wanted it. We put it in her living room and she sat down and played. She was made to play the violin as a child, but hated it. She may have thrown it out the window. Mom wouldn’t even consider dating or remarrying after Daddy died, as she said she’d, ‘Already had the very best.’ Sandy and I taught her to drive after Daddy died. She was 60. It was an adventure as you can’t yell at your mom. She wiped out both sides of the garage door and took out a stretch of the board fence by the yard, and then she quit worrying about it and did fine.”

Cindy’s sister Sandy says this about her mom learning to drive after Alton passed away: “When she learned to drive, I took her in the field behind our hill. One time I asked her if she saw that prairie dog cover its eyes?” Daughter Becky took her on the back roads driving and says, “When she took her driver’s test, no one, including me, showed her where the windshield wipers were, but she passed anyway. I got my sense of direction from Mother. When we did a road trip together she did the mapping. I told her once that I thought we had covered all the back alleys in America, and we couldn’t have done it without her. She agreed and laughed. She had a really good humored laugh.”

Cindy says her mom “loved the color red and either wanted or had a Chinese red door in Texas, while we were there briefly in 1966. Or, maybe I’m wrong and she never did get her Chinese red door. But, she did collect oriental porcelain and figurines. If I was sick she’d bring me watermelon or a nut roll. Sandy gives me a nut roll sometimes and it reminds me of Mother. She did pictures on sheets stretched over boards. She sketched the pictures and then colored them with crayons.”

Daughter Sandy remembers other things about her mom and has recorded them this way: “She liked to shop, but not with me. Mother never liked to shop with me because she said I always bought things to work with and that made her tired! She liked to meet friends for lunch, and always liked Holidays.”

in later years

One of the most inspiring stories about this family, and moral guidance of Genevieve in particular, happened while Alton was away. According to Becky, “In Texas, once when Dad went hunting with the guys, Mother decided we should go to church. She missed going to church, as we only went in small towns, because Dad didn’t like microphone sermons. So we all got dressed up and off we went. We were in early grade school then. When we got there she had the usher seat us on the back pew because she didn’t know how it would be with four little kids who seldom went to church. Being in the back, we could clearly hear the usher when a young black couple came in and the usher refused to seat them, saying, “I think you’d be more comfortable in a church of your own type.” Mother immediately told us to get up because we were going home. When the usher asked Mother what was wrong she replied, “We’d be more comfortable in a church of our own type.” She never explained further–just expected us to get it. And we did.”

Becky continues her fond memories like this, “One of my best friends in high school had no mother so she lived with her grandmother. My grandmothers were 2,000 miles away, so we did a swap. We traded a percentage. I called her grandmother ‘Grandma.’ She called Mother ‘Mom.’ We didn’t ask Mother and Grandma Knowles–we just did it. Pretty soon all our friends were calling Mother ‘Mom.’ A few qualified it by using ‘Mom Krause,’ but to most it was just Mom. Better than just the name, she acted like everyone’s Mom.”

Still another touching story about Genevieve is told by Becky: “One Christmas in Salmon when we had a run of money luck, we had a beautiful Christmas dinner with a turkey and everything else that you see in magazine Christmas dinner pictures. Dad said it’s a pity to have all that beautiful food and have no one to share it with. So he set off for the jail to see if they’d let any prisoners out for dinner and then Dad said he’d bring them back. Mother was a very good woman but some of Dad’s schemes made her nervous and I think she just held her breath until Dad returned very disappointed saying, ‘They let all the prisoners out for Christmas.’ I think I could actually hear Mother start breathing again.”

What a wonderful woman and great mother Genevieve must have been! We’ll include additional stories in the future, but for now, we hope you’ll return to our original story.

Back to “Gold in the Hills: The Story of the Alton Krause Family”

Last revised: 2/28/17

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