Mabel (Eberle) Romish

Grandma Vivian Swanstrom’s best friend from nursing school, and maybe earlier, was Mabel Eberle. It was Mabel who went on the day trip to Rawlins on the day Grandma and Grandpa ended up getting married.

Over the years, in the back of my mind, I always kind of wondered what happened to Mabel. I thought she and Grandma must have had some kind of falling out, else she ought to have been still around somewhere when I was growing up.

But no. That wasn’t it at all. I decided a few weeks ago to see what I could find out. In our modern world of computerized databases she was easy enough to find: Mabel (Eberle) Romish. I had remembered only her maiden name. I knew but had forgotten she was Mabel Romish.

Mabel was born in 1898, so she was three years older than Grandma. She graduated from nurses’ training in 1928, the year after Grandma. I think*. I’ll have to look it up. The way I remember the story, at Grandma’s graduation Grandma looked out at the audience and saw Harry Swanstrom, whom Grandma knew from childhood. He had just come home that day from his time in the army, and was sitting with his mother Josephine who was Grandma’s landlady. Grandma later married him, on a dare from Mabel. The three of them had taken Grandma’s brand new DeSoto Roadster (yellow with red wheels) to Rawlins for the day. So, that would be 1927.

Mabel died suddenly of a heart attack in 1939, when Mom was three. And that’s why I never met her. The story reminds me what a private person Grandma was. She would mention Mabel in passing, for example in stories about rock hunting, but never once did she tell the story about Mabel’s death.


* My sense of the chronology here must be mistaken. Grandpa Swanstrom enlisted on 23 Dec. 1921, served in the Philippines, and was discharged on 22 Dec. 1924. If indeed he appeared at Grandma’s graduation on his first day home, she must have graduated in 1924 or perhaps, more likely, in the spring of 1925.

Updated May 17, 2020 to add link. Updated May 23, 2020 to add note about the chronology.

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