Oscar Cherry’s big, red Chevrolet was chugging west on Route 66 in 1939. Beside him was his wife, Mattie, and crammed inside were three farm employees and several kids. One of them was his 5-year-old daughter Ina, whom everyone called Lois.
No one could have guessed that 73 years later, 200 people from all over Madera County would crowd into Madera’s VFW Hall to wish Lois Bertoncini a happy 78th birthday, and no one could have guessed the extent to which she would impact the lives of those around her.
After the party, I visited Lois and her children over the next five months to tape record her memories. We wanted to get her thoughts quickly, for we knew she was preparing for another journey.
That time came so swiftly; she appeared so strong that I was sure she wouldn’t be making that trip right away. I was wrong. She was preparing to leave sooner than I thought. She left for her new home last Saturday...