Frederick and Cora Salmen's 71 Acre Farm Grafton Nebraska , 1915
Velma Louise Boren -Vincent
1930 - Present Day
Velma Boren - Vincent
1948 Burbank High School
"The Chapters Of My Life"
by Velma Louise Boren -Vincent
1930 – 1938 Life on the Farm near McCool Junction, Nebraska
The United States of America was in the depths of the, "Great Depression" at the time of my birth on March 7, 1930. I was born in a modest two-story farmhouse in Nebraska. My parents, Howard Maurice Boren, 1898 – 1933 and Irma Mae (Salmen) Boren, 1902 – 1988, were farmers on 160 acres of land. There were various other buildings on the farm; a barn, pig pen, garage, chicken coops, out house (little house out back), and a cellar. The farm was owned by my grandparents John William Boren, 1868 – 1961, and Lillian Ethel (Evans) Boren, 1873 - 1954. It was previously owned by my great-grandparents, William Riley Boren, 1839 – 1907, and Barbara Ellen (Williams) Boren, 1844 – 1933. The farm was located between the small communities of Lushton and McCool Junction in York County, Nebraska.
Velma Boren - Vincent's First Home
Home of Howard and Irma Boren on a farm near Lushton, Nebraska.
Owned by Howard's father, John William Boren
The home was torn down my J. W. Boren after this
photo was taken to make more room for crops on the farm.
We attended the United Brethren Church in Lushton and in the summertime we attended free outdoor movies on Saturday nights. Our groceries were purchased at Ed Franz General Store in Lushton, or in York Nebraska. We had horses, cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, and cats. We grew corn, and wheat, and our own vegetables. My parents were born near the farm; my father, Howard Maurice Boren in Waco, Nebraska, on April 3, 1898, and my mother, Irma Mae (Salmen) Boren in Sutton, Nebraska, on January 21, 1902. My brother, Russell Dean Boren 1922 – 2001, was born on May 17, 1922, and my sister, Doris Maxine Boren 1924 – 1976, was born on January 21, 1924.
Our family life was forever changed with the death of our father on November 27, 1933. I was only three years old at the time of his passing, so I did not have the opportunity to know anything about his personality traits, or to get to know him as a person. I recall mu Aunt Grace, and Uncle Francis Kemp taking me to visit my dad in the York Hospital where he was suffering from Pneumonia and had an oxygen tent over his bed. After he passed, the casket was placed in our living room until the funeral service and then he was taken to the Greenwood Cemetery for burial. The cemetery was located a quarter mile down the road from our farm, adjacent to our Aunt Hallie (J.W. Boren’s sister) and Uncle Will Shipley’s farm. As a child of three years old, I remember being upset as the ladies cleaning up after the luncheon were putting the silverware in the wrong places!
Life on the farm was busy and demanding for my mother. There were cows to milk, chickens to feed vegetables to grow, corn to husk, and wheat to harvest in the summer. She mother cooked on a wood stove and we did not have indoor plumbing. Mother baked all of the brad for our family, butchered the cows and hogs, washed our clothes on a scrub board after heating the water on the wood stove. She also made all of our bars of soap. Heavy cast irons were heated on the stove to iron the clothes. Money was scarce so many of our articles of clothing were refashioned from discards from our aunts’ and uncles’ clothes. We were fortunate to have a 1928 Chevrolet sedan to take us to the United Brethren Church in nearby Lushton. Once in a while we would drive to York, which was located about 18 miles away and had a population of 5,000-6,000 people. When in York we would visit relatives and do our grocery shopping. A big treat was to purchase a loaf of white bread, a ring of bologna, bananas, and Snicker Candy Bars.
Each August, a Salmen Family Reunion was held in a park that had a large swimming pool. A group of about 150 family members gathered for the reunion. Now the family reunion is held every 5 years. Salmen family members do an excellent job of keeping up on our genealogy all the way back to Switzerland in the 1500’s. One of my mother’s brothers, Wesley Willard Salmen 1906 - 2008, lived to be 102 years of age in Sutton, Nebraska.
Family members offered a lot of help during the hard times. Aunt Grace (Boren) Kemp would care for meat her farm once in a while. Oh, how she loved to wash my hair (my scalp still tingles from the hard scrubbings she gave it.) Uncle Hobart Boren 1903 – 1985, cane to live with us for a couple of years after my father died to help with the farm chores and to harvest the crops. With the help of Uncle Hob and hired hands, and my brother, Russ, we remained on the farm for five years after my father died. I loved riding in the horse-drawn wagon going up and down the rows, while Uncle Hob picked the corn.
In the summer of 1936, at the age of six, my Aunt Jo (Evelyn) Boren 1913 – 1960, was married to William Irwin 1912 – 1998, and they moved to Onawa, Iowa. I was invited to spend six weeks with the to relieve my mother of my care during harvest time. The plans were to take me to Fremont, Nebraska to visit my Aunt Helen (Boren) 1908 – 2001, and Uncle Roy Dahl 1908 – 1986, then board a bus to York, Nebraska. However, grandpa and grandma J.W. Boren decided to meet us in Fremont and drove me home in their Studebaker. I was one disappointed little girl as this was going to be my big adventure on a bus!
In the fall of 1936 at the age of six, I started the first grade in a one-room schoolhouse about a mile from our farm. It was District 18 with grades 1 through 8. My Aunt Grace (Boren) Kemp also attended this school. My first teacher was my cousin, Irene Shipley, and she lived a quarter mile down the road from our house. I loved to spend time at her home with Aunt Hallie and Uncle Will Shipley because they had toys we could not afford and little blackoards and chalk!
Velma's Elementary School near Lushton, Nebraska
A distant cousin, Dale Bellows lived just an eighth of a mile down the road from us and was a year older. Dale would come by our farm and give me a ride to school on his bicycle in good weather, and his Shetland pony in the winter. We would join Keith and Barbara Bredenkamp and continue on our way to school. I tattled to the teacher one time on Keith and Dale and they chased me on horseback through the wheat fields all the way home.
In 1951 Herb was stationed in Valdosta, Georgia, with the Air Force 562nd band. I joined Herb in Georgia when our daughter Karen was just a few months old. When we were on leave from the Air Force, we drove by our old farm and Dale Bellows and his wife and two children were living there and farming the land. That was the last time I would see our farmhouse as Grandpa J.W. Boren had all the buildings removed so they could grow more corn. My schoolhouse, District 18, was also torn down.
Near our farm, Art and Ethel Hendricks and their daughter Yvonne lived on a farm. Yvonne was widowed and lived on the farm with her son till the time of her death. Yvonne’s son was an excellent farmer and experimented with growing cotton. They prospered very well until their deaths.
My Aunt Alma, Uncle Art Anderson, and cousin Merritt Anderson lived in Milford, Nebraska where they owned a grocery store.
1938 – 1941 Life in York, Nebraska
In 1938 we held an auction for all of our farm equipment and some household goods. After the sale, we moved to a large rooming house at 623 Nebraska Avenue in York, Nebraska. It was a three-story house that had been a hospital converted to a rooming house that was purchased by our neighbor on the farm, Art Hendricks (Yvonne’s Dad), as an investment. My mother, Irma, managed the rooming house for college students attending York College. My brother, Russ, converted the upstairs X-Ray lab into a black and white photography darkroom. The building was located behind the Fire Station and Post Office. There was a park across the street and a Library on the other corner. Needless to say, this was a lot more exciting life for an eight-year-old girl. We had sing a-longs around the piano and gathered around the radio in the evenings.
This maybe an image of the building that was a converted Hospital to Rooming House at
623 Nebraska Avenue, York, Nebraska
Today, 623 Nebraska Avenue is a parking lot.
Side / Rear View of 623 Nebraska, Avenue, York, Nebraska
Living in a city with brick streets and sidewalks opened up new activities such as; roller skating, playing jacks, and square dancing. In the nearby park we played kick the can and sledded down the hills in winter. I made a lot of good friends in grammar school and when my best friend, Marcella Hiatt, moved to Idaho it was a traumatic event, but I soon made another best friend in Patty Curnutt. My first experience of eating in a restaurant was with Patty and her mother. I was eight years old and had a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.
The rooming house proved to be too difficult to manage, so we moved to another two-story house at 908 Lincoln Avenue, which was the main street in York on Highway 80. I spent many hours watching and identifying the cars of the era that passed by. Both houses are no longer there. The York Fire Department burned down the house on Nebraska Avenue to practice their skills. A parking lot replaced our house. The house on Lincoln Avenue is now a commercial building.
Editor's Note: Both 623 Nebraska Avenue, and 908 North Lincoln Avenue, are now parking lots. June 7, 2020
The summer of 1941 was my second vacation with Grandpa and Grandma J.W. Boren. We drove to Casper, Wyoming to visit my Aunt Grace and Uncle Francis Kemp and their son, Jack.
1941 – 1945 Life in Los Angeles, California
When we returned to York, plans had been made to follow my brother, Russ age 19, to Los Angeles, California, where he was to be employed by North American Aviation, prior to the United States involvement in World War II. Uncle Hob had married, and he and Aunt Janie also lived in Los Angeles. Once again, we all of our worldly goods and we each packed a suitcase to begin our new live in L.A. A postman from York took his vacation each year took his vacation time to drive families out west to California. My mother, sister Doris and her fiancé, Clarence Fredrick “Sweeney” Weiss 1920 – 1987, and I loaded into the car and off we went. It was exciting to see the vast country between Nebraska and California and to cross the Continental Divide in Colorado. The Rocky Mountains were spectacular after traveling through the flatlands of Nebraska.
We arrived in Los Angeles on October 4, 1941, two months and 3 days prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which pulled the United States into World War II. Los Angeles was a beautiful land of palm trees, orange groves, flowers, green lawns and beautiful Pointsetta plants at Christmas time.
We moved into a Spanish style building called The Patio Apartments at 1514 West 20th street. We lived upstairs at the back of the unit which afforded us a view in our breakfast room of palm trees and from the living room a view of the patio walkway below. It was a one-bedroom apartment with a Murphy pull down bed in the living room. It was completely furnished with furniture, cooking utensils, dishes, bedding, linens, and even doilies. Each week we turned in our linens and exchanged them for fresh laundered ones for an added fee. When we left The Patio Apartments, a blue and white kitchen tablecloth with, “Patio Apartments” embroidered in the corner got packed in with my things. I kept the tablecloth for many years until I moved into assisted living at Belmont Village in Burbank in March of 2016.
Uncle Hob and Aunt Janie Boren lived a short distance from us. Russ had his own apartment in the court, and Sweeney and his sister Edna, had another one. After Doris and Sweeney married at Trinity Lutheran Church on December 20, 1942, our grandmother, Cora (Ely) Salmen 1877 – 1965, moved from Nebraska to join us in California at the age of 65. My mother, grandmother, and I shared the one-bedroom apartment. I attended Vermont Elementary School when we first arrived in Los Angeles.
I attended Berendo Junior High School near Pico Blvd. and Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. Those were happy, exciting, and memorable days with many friends and activities even though we were in the midst of World War II. I was active in a youth group at the Christian Church. I invited my best friend, Lucy Gonzales, to go horseback riding. Her horse threw her as they went under a tree limb. Lucy lives in Palm Springs and we are still friends today in our 90’s. Probably my biggest disappointment in junior high school was when I developed the, “mumps” and could not participate in the 9th grade graduation exercises. My boyfriend at the time took Joan Olander who later became known in adult life as actor, Mamie Van Doren! When I was 13 and 14 years of age in 1943 and 1944, Los Angeles was a safe place to live. I thought nothing of walking home at ten or eleven o’clock at night after attending the movies. I remember going to MacArthur Park (then known a Westlake Park) to ride the boats on the lake at night.
My mother found work in an office building in downtown Los Angeles in the Army Quartermaster Corps as a file clerk. In the summer of 1945 when I was 15 years old, I was also employed there when they announced that World War II had ended. We had saved up hole punches from paper for months and used it for confetti. We threw it out the upstairs window to celebrate the happy occasion.
Our means of transportation in L.A. was by streetcar or bus, which we rode to work, shopping, the beach, the theater, and church. In fact, this is how my mother met Clark Warren Smith on a streetcar. They were married in Mexico and the three of us moved to Burbank along with Clark’s son, Cliff, who was six months older than I was. Cliff and I had a great time attending Burbank High School and taking Clark’s Model A Ford Coupe to football games and the beach.
1945 – 1947, Burbank, California
Clark and Irma rented a cute little bungalow at 438 North Ontario, in Burbank, California. I lived there for a school year when I was 16 years old with the landlady and her husband while Clark and my mother took Cliff to Lodi to finish high school. When they returned, we moved to North Hollywood, but I continued to attend Burbank High School. Later, Clark and Irma moved to Ventura, but I remained with the couple at 438 North Ontario while I worked as a Secretary at Roosevelt Elementary School until I married Charles Herbert Vincent on April 9, 1949. We purchased a home at 648 North Whitnal Highway, near Roosevelt school. I worked as the school secretary until March 1951 when our daughter, Karen, was born. I did not learn to drive a car until I was 27 years old.
1947 - Today, Burbank, California
Velma met Herb Vincent on a blind date in 1947. He had a pilot’s license and loved to fly airplanes. His flight log reveals that his last flight was when he took Velma up for a flight over the San Fernando Valley! Herb and Velma married on April 9, 1949, in Los Angeles, California. They had three children; Karen, Bob, and Glenda.
Tribute to Velma's Mother, Irma Salmen - Boren
My mother, Irma Salmen – Boren - Smith – Ledbetter – Smith lived for 86 years from January 21, 1902 to January 11, 1988, 86 years. She was widowed at age 31 years of age. Through all of the trials, and tribulations, she never complained or showed fear of the unknown. She met each new challenge with courage and conviction that everything would work out all right. She truly had a pioneer spirit to leave our roots in Nebraska and move to Los Angeles. My mother did not have any particular skills or training in the trades. She did teach elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse prior to getting married in 1921. She excelled in mathematics which was very useful when she worked as a store clerk in the fabric department for many years at, J.C. Penny on Main Street in Ventura. She was a talented seamstress.
The Chapters of My Life by Velma Vincent
March 1983 - Updated; September 2006
Reprinted with permission, February 16, 2009
Edited for this website by Robert Vincent, June 2020
The Marriages of Irma Mae Salmen.
Irma Salmen – Boren - Smith – Ledbetter – Smith (1/21/1902 – 1/11/1988) 86 years
Irma married 4 times, twice to the same man:
Howard Maurice Boren (4/31/1898 – 11/27/1933) 35 years
Married June 21, 1921
Clark Smith (9/18/1905 – 6/20/1986) 81 years
Irma and Clark met on a streetcar in Los Angeles. Clark was an automobile mechanic and had his pilot’s license.
Married December 3, 1945 in Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico
Divorced: 1954 – Clark was 49 years of age and Irma was 52 years of age
Roy Ledbetter (10/27/1891 – 9/14/1977) 86 years
Roy was an electrician for the motion picture studios in Hollywood, California
Married, November 5, 1966 – Roy was 75 years of age and Irma was 64 years of age
Clark Smith (9/18/1905 – 6/20/1986) 81 years
After their second marriage, Clark took excellent care of Irma while she suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Married for a second time, May 6, 1983 in Arizona Clark was 78 years of age and Irma 81.
When Irma Mae SALMEN was born on January 21, 1902, in Sutton, Nebraska, her father, Frederick, was 28, and her mother, Cora, was 24. Irma was the oldest of five children. After graduation from the 8th grade, Irma lived with her Grandmother Salmen and Grandmother Ely in Sutton, Nebraska. She took normal training at Sutton High School and after she graduated in 1920, she taught elementary school for one year before she married Howard Maurice Boren on June 22, 1921. Her parents, Frederick and Cora, bought their first automobile in 1916. Irma and Howard moved to Lushton, Nebraska, six miles north east from her birthplace, where they farmed on property that was owned by Howard's father, J.W. Boren. Irma attended the United Brethren Church in Lushton. Irma married four times and had one son and two daughters. Irma married Howard Maurice Boren (4/31/1898 – 11/27/1933) on June 21, 1921, Clark Warren Smith (9/18/1905 – 6/20/1986) on December 3, 1945 in Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico, Roy Ledbetter (10/27/1891 – 9/14/1977) on November 5, 1966, and Clark Warren Smith (9/18/1905 – 6/20/1986) a second time on May 6, 1983 in Arizona. Irma passed away on January 11, 1988, in Ventura, at the age of 85 from Alzheimer’s Disease, and was buried in Ivy Lawn Memorial Park in Ventura, California
Velma’s Grandparents Parents:
Fredrik Salmen (1873 – 1928) 55 years
Cora Ely – Salmen (1877 – 1965) 88 years
Velma and Herb Vincent 1950