Stella Hattie James was born on March 10th, 1902. She and her father, Linferd Oscar James, celebrated their birthdays together with a single cake since his was on March 9th. At the time of her birth, Linferd was working as the manager of a Horlick Malted Milk farm to supply the company with the great quantities of milk needed to produce malted milk. They lived in a house on that farm located at Mygatts Corners west of Racine on State Highway 20 and Racine County Highway MM, totally unrecognizable today as the same location.
She was an only child and her parents werenít so much overly protective of her as overly authoritative, at least her mother was. Her fatherís younger brother Harry and his wife Nina had five or six children. The Racine County Jameses visited the James family in Michigan often enough that she became close to her cousins, and sometimes went by train alone to spend some weeks with them. Clare was a male cousin whose good friend Stella got to know and eventually was engaged to, but when her mother heard about it, she and Grandpa went to Michigan on the train, broke that up, and brought her back home . I guess thatís why she and my Dad eloped when they decided to get married, so Grandma couldnít interfere. When Grandma learned of the elopement, she took Grandpa, and they went to Michigan where they stayed with his relatives for a year and didnít talk to my mother. This happened when they were living in Racine on Taylor Avenue. I guess Grandpa took a leave of absence from the factory which he couldnít have done if they were farming then. There was a reconciliation after my older brother Jack was born.
I remember my Mother telling me that she once wandered into their hired handís room where he had left his straight razor lying out somewhere. She took the razor and having seen her father use his, began to shave her face; dry, of course. She came down stairs and into the kitchen to her mother with cheeks running blood but with no serious cuts. The hired man sure got a tongue lashing from my Grandmother for leaving his razor out. Stella attended the Trautwein School located on the corner of Racine County Highway MM and State Highway 31. One of her teachers was Mrs. Wenger with whom she maintained a friendship. After she left school Stella took a secretarial course at a business school in Racine and then went to work at Horlickís Malted Milk Company on Northwestern Avenue which was at that time just north of Racine. She could have worked as a secretary, because she spoke and wrote very correct English, however, she didnít work as a secretary, but glued labels on bottles of malted milk in the factory.
She was still working at the Horlick Malted Milk Company at the age of 24 and living at home. Each day she rode the streetcars to work and caught the eye of the motorman, John Mallo Manalli, who had immigrated from Sicily at the age of 12 in 1902. They started dating and on January 25, 1926 eloped to Crown Point, Indiana, which was the Reno of the Midwest at that time. She was 24, and he was 36.
Stella and John had two sons, Jack Linferd born in 1927, and Gilbert James born in 1931. As her sons left home to marry, she took in other peopleís children, some she was paid to care for, others she was not. After World War II Stella worked part time as a maid for Mrs. Cushman, a blind widow, who lived on North Main Street. Later she worked part time at the Renish Company on Douglas Avenue preparing salads. In her 50ís Stella became very ill with COPD and was hospitalized often. She passed away in January of 1968 and is buried at West Lawn Cemetery on State Highway 20 just a few miles from her birthplace and close to the graves of her husband and her parents.