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Archive for June 5th, 2006

Mom Clarifies Photo Date and Story

Monday, June 5th, 2006

My mom wrote regarding the photo today. She said:

That photo was taken when she was in San Diego visiting Aunt Lizzie. Aunt Lizzie had her have the photo taken where the movie stars were having their photos taken.

This would date the photo at 1922. It also means that her father did not take the picture, as I had guessed.

My mother was named after Aunt Lizzie, who was quite an amazing woman. Aunt Lizzie lived more than 100 years and died before penicillin was commonly available. She outlived 4 husbands and I’m told she was secretary to Susan B. Anthony. For how long, and at what time, I am not sure.

My grandmother was raised in Oxford, Wisconsin. Her mother died when she was around 7 years old, and so from a few years after that she was raised by her own grandmother (with another cousin) on a civil war pension.

In order to go to college, Grandma Illa found scholarships. At one point for about a year she studied public health at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. (That is only an hour from where I live now and merely 15 minutes from where my brother lives.)

Grandma caught a very serious flu, on the way back to the midwest from Aunt Lizzie’s. She was going to her first teaching job in Wisconsin, but she became so sick they took her off the train and she could not even tell them to call her impending employer. By the time she was recovered well enough to contact the school, they had replaced her as a no-show.

It was then that Grandma contacted a placement agency and found a public health teaching job in Gilbert, Minnesota. Grandpa was the principal. It was a very tough iron mining town, not like anywhere she had lived before, but it was there where they started a family together.

And that is enough family history for a while. I don’t know about you, but I find history more interesting when I know some of the players.

Grandma & Grandpa’s Anniversary

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Grandma IllaMy mother writes that today is her parents’ anniversary. He was principal of the school, she was a teacher. This was in the days when married women were not allowed to teach. They lived in Gilbert, Minnesota, on the Iron Range about one hour north of Duluth by today’s standards. I know that Grandma’s dress was a bluish-gray satin dress with satin-covered buttons, not full length. She wore the dress until it was worn out, but I think my mother still has the buttons. Mom says:

Mom and Dad were married on this day in ’25. It was the last day of school. Dad forgot to order flowers, so he woke up the florist to get some. They were yellow talmen roses. They thought they had pulled off a good one as they were married before school started, but when they left school, there were old shoes, tin cans and the cowbell tied to their car. For their 25th anniversary, Mom painted the cowbell silver. That is the one on my desk.

The photo here is one of my Grandma as a young lady. I’m not sure how old she was here. Her father was a professional photographer, so we are lucky to have even baby pictures of her.