It has been a year since Clem passed. I want to share my thoughts and feelings about him.
My wife Catherine and I moved to Viking Drive in 1982 and lived there for seven years. We lived across the street from Clem and Peggy. We became friendly when Cath and I would take our dog Red on walks with the Mondys at the nearby park. Later Clem and Peggy would take Red for walks, and he became very demanding of them expecting twice-daily walks. One day Red broke out of our yard and took himself for a walk. As a result the “walk on demand protocol” ended.
Soon thereafter we four began having dinner and going out to events together. We liked ethnic foods and would take the Mondys to some exotic holes in the wall. They liked the different cuisines and were not overwhelmed by spicier foods. For their part, Clem and Peg would take us to places which had been popular watering holes for oil industry veterans in the fifties on Houston's south side near the Medical Center. One night, for example, all of us attended a Christmas party at the Shamrock hotel. Glenn McCarthy, an oil tycoon, built the Shamrock in the late fifties and for years it was the “the” place to go. By the way, the wildcatter played by James Dean in the movie Giant was based upon Glenn McCarthy.
Once I saw some wild grapes in the park. I wanted to make jelly. So Clem and I picked them out of the trees and we made mustang (muscat) grape jelly. The tart jelly was very distinctive, a welcome contrast to the sweet grocery store brands.
When our eldest son Jack was born, we still visited with the Mondys but less so. Children keep you busy. When Jack was about three, I recall us taking a 10 kilometer walk with Clem and Peg in Weimar one spring. The bluebonnets and Indian paint were brilliantly colored and the hills bright green. Peggy found a dewberry bush and we munched them for quite awhile.
In 1989 we moved to West Houston but still kept in touch with Clem and Peggy. We would visit once or twice a year. We saw them the last day we moved from Texas in 2009 when they came to wish us well.
If I had to come up with a song to describe Clem, it would be My Way. Clem was determined to do things the way he wanted to do them. And he was dead-set on being successful for his family to live well. He did just that. Clem didn't start with much. Clem first painted signs with his father, but found there was more money in Sales. As a salesman at Federal Sign, he noticed that the oil industry was more lucrative so he started working there. He became knowledgeable about the products he sold and tenacious in making the sale (tenacious was one of favorite words). When his employer showed no interest in developing a large water blast unit to clean refinery equipment, Clem left the firm and started his own business, Jobmaster. Jobmaster was very successful and he was proud of its achievements. It is a remarkable story showing his intelligence, thoughtfulness and tenacity (!).
Clem knew not only knew how to earn money, but how to keep it. He would often tell me the importance of compound interest and taking advantage of it to grow a nest egg. I had studied it in college but it never connected with me on a gut level until I met Clem.
I wish the best for Clem. God bless.
I searched online and found that 19th-Century Escaped Ape stories would have been about baboons and chimpanzees, since gorillas weren't exported from Africa until the twentieth century, so Uncle Bub's Gorilla story counts as one of the early ones. It was probably 1930, in Batesville, Arkansas, and a traveling circus was in town. Uncle Bub, who was about 2 at the time, was playing in a sandbox out in the front yard with his older sister Ima Jean, who was about six. Grandmother Margaret kept an eye on the kids out the kitchen window as she prepared dinner. As I understand it, the house was situated at the end of a road, which ended at the street in front of the house. When Grammy looked up, she saw a Gorilla knuckle-walking down the road straight for the house. When the animal reached the front yard, it hopped the picket fence and settled into the sandbox, and the Gorilla and Uncle Bub just stared at each other. Ima Jean ran away at once, and Grammy cautiously made her way to the front to collect Bub and go back into the house. A few minutes later, a couple of guys from the circus showed up, put a rope around the gorilla's neck, and led it away. "A Gorilla!" Grammy would say....
Dad always spoke about Bub with a smile on his face--usually a great big smile, in anticipation of a laugh. I can't imagine they never fought, but I have to think Bub was the sort who always looked out for his little brother. In all my years growing up, I never heard even the slightest criticism of Uncle Bub. Dad thought it especially clever and funny the time (~1940) when Bub wired two metal plates, situated a few inches apart, to a car or truck battery in a barnyard, and spread chicken feed on one. A chicken would walk over, stand on one plate and when it pecked at the other, the poor bird completed the circuit and vaulted ten feet into the air! Dad was nearly in tears recounting the story. He laughed and shook his head and said those chickens kept going back over & over again--they just never learned.
When Bub was stationed in West Germany in the early fifties, his unit got a sergeant who had seen a lot of action in Korea. The guy was covered head-to-foot in scars. He told them that the most important weapon in that war was the Colt 45--that the real combat over there was close-quarter combat. Just before battle, Chinese infantry would wrap their arms, legs, and torsos with a thick cord. They'd get hopped up on Opium and charge the American lines en mass. It was a slaughter as the American machine gunners cut them down, but the Chinese kept coming. Those at the back didn't even have guns, but it didn't matter because there would be plenty available from their fallen comrades as they advanced. There were too many to stop, and when they reached the American lines, the fighting became hand-to-hand. When Bub graduated from Allen Military Academy, the boys from his class were given two choices: to enlist and be posted to Germany, or to go to Officer Candidate School and get sent to Korea. I know it affected Uncle Bub that all of the guys from that class who chose OCS died together on the same hill on the same day.
Dear Peggy and all the Mondy family,
I have had the pleasure of knowing Clem and Peggy since I moved in across the street at 2010 Viking in 1979. I was the first single girl on the block, and only thirty when I became a part of the Viking Gang. Clem was always so kind to me and helpful as I learned now to take care of my home. There was always a tool that I could borrow and good instructions on how to use it. Clem and Peggy were so open and friendly and treated me like a daughter. Clem and Peggy loved to party and so did I. So it was a natural fit, as I had many block parties at my home with Clem, Peggy and the Viking Gang. In the early days we all stayed up partying and drinking until 2am or 3am. Then as we all aged our partying began to end around midnight, then 10 pm. Clem was always someone who enjoyed a good time with good friends and his burgers were the best! Clem and Peggy saved the neighborhood from becoming an HOA, which is why today we can sell our houses so easily and at such good prices. Clem and Peggy if they thought something was wrong,would put their nose to the grind stone and make a difference. They inspired me to be a better citizen and to never give up if you thought you were right. A lot of hard work and persistence can move a mountain, was their attitude. Clem was always a supporter of intelligent women and women in general. Clem even bought a $10,000 painting of Mayor Whitmire, at a fund raiser for women's political leadership. He bought the painting to honor Peggy and all she had done for Clem, the family and the business. Clem made a big splash at that event as everyone wanted to know who he was. Again, Clem helped make a difference in supporting women in political leadership positions. Clem had a firmly held opinion about most anything and my husband Wil and I enjoyed listening to him. We agreed with much that he had to say but we liked to bounce contradictory ideas off of Clem. Clem was a one of a kind, a self made man with a big heart and a big love of God. Clem was True Grit and made of the Right Stuff. Peggy understood Clem and was always there to make him happy. Peggy has infinite patience,combined with a tender heart. Peggy and Clem adopted my cats Sam and Iggy, or rather my cats adopted them. My cats lived at their house, and were fed really well. Clem loved all animals and you could tell that animals loved him. Clem had a formula for life that worked well for he and Peggy. Even in their eighties, they were always physically active and strong and still mowed their own yards in the sweltering heat of the summer. Amazing folks, you just admired them a lot! As Wil, my husband and I aged into our 60's people began calling us "Clem and Peggy" because we walked a lot, always in T Shirts and shorts and because we were conservative. We always took that as the highest compliment. Clem was a strong Republican, as were we. So we all would put out our Republican campaign signs as soon as our liberal Democrat neighbors put out their campaign signs. We laughed about that. Clem and Peggy took us on a wonderful trip in 2013 to Shiner to visit the brewery and all the sites of Shiner, Clem's hometown. It was a wonderful time listening to Clem's tales about the brewery and growing up in the 20's and 30's in a small Texas town.
Yes, we will miss Clem deeply. We are grateful that our lives have been deeply enriched from knowing Clem.
Looking back at the life and legacy of my Grandpa Clement Mondy Jr. He had a hard life form what I know but through hard work, focus, and spirit he had risen to a new person with a beautiful wife, three loving kids and one may he rest in peace son, way to many grandkids and friends to name or count but seriously though the care and love this man has shown me and the people around me in some small way he was a gentle giant in my eyes, but nothing can fill the void he has left behind, I love you Grandpa may you rest in peace, I will never forget what you had shown me and taught me over the years you could, I wish you well on the journey to heaven and Grandma I love you too and I'm keeping you and everybody in my prayers.
Dad, I want to thank you for being Bull of the woods and giving me a love of art and music.
Your love for Mom is endless.
I love you Dad,