The Princess, the Divorcee’ and the Queen

Adele Jennings Roller Gaskin was my maternal Grand Aunt, my Grandpa Lee’s only, older sister, and Walter and Elnora Jennings’ middle child, a princess.

Adele was five years older than my Grandpa. I am positive she was mommy’s little helper. I am more confident that she continued to nurture her baby brother when their mother passed in Youngstown, Ohio, 1908.

Eleven years later, Adele married Benjamin Frank Roller. The newlyweds lived with Frank’s family. If you are to choose your spouse based upon looks, Adele did very well. The problem is other women found Frank attractive too. All three wives after my aunt thought so! Notably, the second wife who became the mother of his oldest child nine months before his wedding to Aunt Adele. Thus, their marriage did not last long.

James, Maud, Lorenzo, Rufus, Frank, Ernest and Odel Roller. The census taker incorrectly spelled her name and relationship status to the head of household.
Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin Frank Roller November 29th, 1919 Mahoning County, Ohio.

Three years later, Adele lived alone on the same street as her Aunt Mollie and Uncle Jordan Freeman in Columbus, Ohio. In 1927 she finalized her divorce to Frank and relocates to Pennsylvania. Aunt Adele, the divorcee’ is living her best life in the city of Love, Philadelphia. She rented a home and sublet to two people.

Adell Jennings looking fashionable and confident.

Aunt Adele visited her brothers in Ohio. She gave her favorite nieces money and gifts. Aunt Dell had a favorite niece per brother, per city. She was being a Queen, lavishing her gifts as she pleased. Aunt Dell critiqued her brothers’ households, handed out chores to her subjects (nieces and nephews), her pet niece she entertained during her entire visit.

On some visits, she only made an appearance to chat on the porch with her favorite niece to bequeath her with a monetary gift.

Later in life, Adele found love again in a younger man. Being the Queen that she was she had her own home, she earned her own money and showered herself with jewelry, fine perfumes and furs. She needed an escort, a companion. When Adell dated Donald L. Gaskin, he was nine years her junior, estranged from his wife.

Adele experienced heart failure at the age of 58 inside the home she shared with Donald due to a chronic heart condition, which is hereditary. The Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital pronounced her dead on arrival on January 12th, 1961 at 6:45 pm in Darby, PA. She died the same way as her father, Walter. Her brother, Frank would pass 11 years after her in 1972 and her baby brother, my Grandpa Lee in 1976.

If you’re my Jennings-Freeman cousin reading this entry, please be advise of our family’s heart history and take heed.

In closing, I say when people know better, they do better. Aunt Adele didn’t know how to show affection equally. Alternatively, I could describe her actions as there were too many nieces and nephews. There were nearly ten of them. Aunt Dell focused on one child per family to share her presence and presents.

After all, she was the princess, who became a divorcee’ that ruled her world like a Queen.