Victoria Warfield Stone Morgan – My Sister

This is the eulogy I gave at Vicky’s funeral:

Victoria Ann Warfield was born in Ft. Worth, Texas—in St. Joseph’s Hosptal—on Oct. 29, 1941.  She was named for her great aunt, Fannie Victoria Ramsey of Olney, Texas.  By the time Vicki was four years old World War II had ended, and she, and I, and Eddie grew up in an era of unprecedented prosperity and optimism.  I don’t know if there will ever be a time like that again in this country.

When she was six our family moved to Corpus Christi, and for one glorious year lived across an unpaved, sandy, road from the Gulf of Mexico.  She and I roamed the beach with other kids after school, and swam and fished and collected shells.

Vicki spoke many times afterwards about the jellyfish patrol.  When there were too many jellyfish to swim, she and the triplets and Geesie and I would run up and down the beach with long sticks, and dash into the water, and spear jellyfish.   And we’d bring ‘em up and make a big pile of them on the beach.  One time an old raft washed up after a storm, we filled the raft to overflowing with jellyfish (there were a LOT of jellyfish that day) which, unfortunately, melted in the sun and ran back down into the water.  It was an awful mess, and the beach smelled for days.  That was the last ride of the jellyfish patrol.

There were dangers, of course, that would sometimes manifest themselves.  I remember one time when there was a storm in the Gulf, and a high tide, and there was a strong wind blowing inland.  We were watching the weather.  We knew there was a storm out in the Gulf, and we saw the ocean just rise up and cover the whole beach.  We had never seen that before.  We had not evacuated because Vicki was burning up with scarlet fever.  At the last moment the ocean ceased its rise, and Vicki soon recovered.

There were also more subtle dangers from the water.  Vicki and I, for instance, were often assigned to watch Eddie, and we would forget, and first thing you know, we’d see him coming across the street toward the house with his diaper dripping sea water where he’d been playing in the waves.  We always got a scolding, but not a serious one.



Among Vicki’s fondest memories were the summers which she spent in Olney, Texas, with her Great Aunt Fannie.  Fannie was the music teacher in town and played piano for the First Methodist Church.  There may still be those in Olney who remember Vicki sitting next to her Great Aunt Fannie on the hard piano bench and falling asleep during the service or a revival meeting.  Fannie was the first in the family to attend college, and she was the one who made sure Vicki had piano lessons and violin lessons from an early age.  Two or three times a year Vicki would appear in recitals playing the violin with me accompanying her.  She also played violin in the Jr. High and High School Orchestras where she was first chair second, and she played in Ft. Worth All-City Orchestra and TCU summer festival orchestra where we played the music of the great classical composers like Mozart and Beethoven.  One of Vicki’s favorite pieces from the classical repertoire was Respegghi’s The Pines of Rome.  It’s a beautiful, serene piece that has a slow, quiet section where they play a recording of an actual nightingale singing.   It was one of the first examples of the use of recorded sound with a symphony.

In keeping with the time in which she lived, Vicki also took deportment.  She had classes on how to walk, how to pose, how to speak, called elocution.  These classes also involved her participation in beauty contests.  One of those contests took place in the Baker Hotel, which was a large resort hotel in a neighboring town of questionable repute.  There’s a picture of her posing with the other contestants on the edge of the swimming pool at the Baker.  It was in the course of one of these contests that Vicki first learned that the world is not always fair.  Most of the contestants were getting ready for the final event, which was the swimming suit competition, and Vicki remembered something that she needed and went back to the dressing rooms to get it.   She surprised the head of the deportment school (who was sponsoring the contest) just as she was fitting her pet pupil with the first prize ribbon to make sure it hung properly.  An hour later, when the winner was announced, it was no surprise that the “pet pupil” won the contest, and that the first prize ribbon fit her perfectly.  That was the last beauty contest Vicki ever participated it.

Growing up in the 40s and 50s, it never occurred to Vicki or her parents that she might need a profession.  She was expected to be a housewife and a mother.  Both of these are important and vital jobs, of course, but unfortunately, the pay is not very good, and in the era in which she grew up women usually did not have skills.  It was because of this that she was unprepared when the failure of her marriages left her with no means of support for her and her children.  There were times when making a meal stretch for three, four, five, and finally six children was near impossible.  It was during this time that an infamous incident took place that has been referred to as the “Turnip scene.”  It’s much too long to go into now, but if you ask after the service there are several who will be willing to fill you in on the details, especially the boy who was on the floor.

After years of financial hardship, Vicki was given the chance to learn a profession.  When this opportunity presented itself, she jumped at it and went back to school to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse.  This was the profession she stayed with until she was so debilitated by emphysema that she cold no longer work.

And that concludes my reminiscences.