|Remembering Geraldine Hartt Helvie
(Married twice: 1.Charles Wilson, 2.Frank Helvie)
Geraldine Hartt (Oldest daughter of Harry D. Hartt, sister to Betty L. Hartt)
Memories of Aunt Jerri
When I remember my Aunt Jerri, I remember a loving person that was a lot of fun to be with. My memories of her are sweet and the times that I spent with her will never be forgotten.
Being close to my grandmother meant being close to my Aunt Jerri. These two Hartt sisters were like two peas in a pod, and often times people would refer to them as such as they loved to spend time together.
Aunt Jerri was married to Charles Wilson, who we called “Pal”. Aunt Jerri and Pal owned a lake house on Lake Tippecanoe in North Webster, Indiana. Many good times were spent there through the summer seasons. Pal loved to fish, and it was him that instilled a love for the sport that I still enjoy to this day. He bought me my own cane pole and taught me the skills of catching Blue Gill. On warm summer evenings, you could find Aunt Jerri and Pal out on their pontoon boat cruising the lake, or maybe stopping in at their favorite boat gas spot called, “Paton’s Place”.
Another favorite place “at the lakes” that Aunt Jerri liked to visit was, “Foo and Fayes” restaurant in Syracuse, Indiana. She loved chop suey! Even in her later years, she spoke of her favorite Chinese dish.
The lake house was a favorite place for the meeting of all family members. I remember holidays in which the entire extended family would be together. Aunt Jerri would roast a big turkey for such occasions and it would be a regular Hartt feast!
Aunt Jerri and Pal also loved to spend the long cold winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. They had a lovely double wide mobile home for a number of years. While in Florida, they were distinguished members of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.
Our family looked forward each year to vacationing in Florida and visiting her and pal. Even in Florida, Pal made sure that I had a cane pole to fish with as out in front of their home was a small pond. We were careful to watch out for the alligator that lived there! One day, this reptile had decided to sun himself in the yard between Aunt Jerri’s neighbor and her house. Needless to say, we were very watchful when we went out to take our walks at night after that!
I went to Walt Disney World with Aunt Jerri, Pal, my grandmother and grandfather for the first time when I was 9 years old. The Hartt sisters had as much fun as I did I think! Their favorite ride was, “It’s a Small World”. Each time I visit Disney to this day I must be sure that we visit this attraction in remembrance of my Aunt Jerri and “Mommom”.
Sadly, Aunt Jerri lost Pal at their 50th wedding anniversary. After the ceremony, Pal went into the bathroom, and when he didn’t come out, his son went and found him on the floor. The celebrations quickly turned into a sad event for all of the family and guests that were in town to celebrate.
Years later, Geraldine married Frank Helvie. The Helvies had been good friends of the Wilson's for many years. Frank lost his wife, Lena, and eventually Geraldine and Frank got married on Feb. 14 on year. They spent several years together until Frank passed away at the age of 91. Geraldine lived to be 93 years old. She is buried in Huntington, Indiana.
Her two children survive. Daughter, Juanita lost her husband, Gordon shortly after Aunt Jerri passed. They had two children, Jim and Jodi. She lives in Huntington, Indiana. Son, Lt. Col. Dick Wilson and his wife, Jackie, lives in Biloxi Mississippi. Dick and Jackie have five grown children, Steve, Kim, Chris, Mike and Marty (The two later boys are twins.) Dick and Jackie have grandchildren. An interesting note about Dick Wilson is that he was a very successful Air Force Pilot and was instrumental in the design of the “Blackbird” aircraft used in the U.S. military.|