After the death of her husband in 1956, Elsie Miller left her home in Arizona and moved in with her daughter Bertís family for an extended period of time. Bertís father-in-law, Papa Bauer, graciously went to live at his daughter Metaís to make room for Elsie, but Bill and young Mike soon regretted the move. Elsie was a nag and a hypochondriac who spoiled her younger grandson, Billy, rotten while treating Mike, the older one, like dirt. Bill, Papa and Meta were furious at Elsie for turning Mike's world upside down, but Elsie countered by accusing them of pampering the boy. Portraitist Marie Wallace became a port in the middle of this storm when she made a charcoal sketch of Mike, and the boy consequently latched onto the family's warm, attractive new friend. Mike also struck up a friendship with a boy named Jock Baker who was several years older than he was, even though Elsie disapproved. Later, Mike overheard an argument between Bert and Bill, in which Bill threatened to leave on account of Elsie. Frightened by the thought of losing his dad again, Mike ran away. The Bauers questioned Jock, who revealed that Mike had talked about running away if Elsie didn't let up on him. With the help of Marie's sketch of Mike, the authorities tracked the boy down in the Hollywood Hills. Bert and Bill confronted Elsie about the damage she'd done to Mike, and Elsie tearfully apologized to the boy. She then began to live her own life, later marrying a pleasant man named Albert Franklin in a simple ceremony at the Bauer home. Elsie and Albert then went back to Arizona, much to the family's relief.
In 1957, Elsie and Albert briefly returned to Los Angeles to visit while Albert was terminally ill. Albert was treated by Dr. Paul Fletcher. Treating Albert brought out Paul's hidden humanity but unfortunately, there was nothing he could do for Albert. Albert died soon after Elsie and he returned to Arizona. Elsie told her oldest daughter that Paul had made Albert's last days more bearable. Bert was dismayed, though, that her younger sister, Alma-Jean, did not come to the funeral.
In August 1977, Bert received word that her mother passed away in her sleep and briefly left town to attend her funeral.