…”You introject your dear friends and relations, haul them in and carry them inside you in the womb of your subconscious…We contain each other like a series of babushkas, each inside the other, back, back and back to the earliest ancestor of all.” -Joan Aiken, Foul Matter
Gladys Corinne Walker was born in 1897 and grew up on a farm in Argyle, Michigan.
In 1915 or so, she moved to Seattle. Both her sister Lou (Lucy) and Alice had preceded her there.
Permit me to indulge in a bit of genealogy..
The mother of Lucy, Alice, and Gladys:
My grandmother rarely mentioned her brother, who stayed in Michigan:
And I wonder if she fell out with sister Alice, because I have learned that Alice lived in Raymond, Washington, till 1968, and yet I don’t recall her being mentioned to me. We frequently visited “Aunt Lou”, who lived on a farm with her husband, Jack Plisko, in Port Orchard, Washington. Imagine, if Alice had had children, I might have cousins in Raymond.
Alice Walker Cady:
Gladys’s oldest photo album contains a collection of photos from the Michigan farm. I am pretty sure some were sent to her by her family after she had moved to Seattle; as far as I know, she never went back to visit. There is a possibility that some of the photos are from her childhood.
I have very little information about these photos that capture so well the feeling of farm life in the early 1900s.
What tractor might this be? I asked on Facebook, and friends Jim Sayce and Joe Chasse were interested in the question. Jim came up with the Fordson Model F. It began production in 1917, useful information that lets us know that these are not photos from Gladys’s childhood but instead are photos sent to her after she moved to Seattle.
Jim told the story of an old Fordson tractor starting right up: “Rocky Davis drove it by our house in ~~64. I remember it sitting south of their house out in a field. One day he & buddies went out and hand crank started it!”
I wonder if the big rock piles imply that the soil was rocky. Google tells me that yes, it was.
I am guessing that all the old photos of farm animals on the family farm in Michigan.
I wonder if the family went to Bear Lake on a vacation, or if a family member attended this school. It is quite a ways from Argyle.
Winter in Michigan?
And then…more of the dear, long gone people.
I’m hoping some fashion savvy friends can help me pin an approximate date onto these gentlemen:
To see all these people, long gone, reminds me of a favourite passage about mortality:
When she died her family would remember her and she would live on in their memories for seventy years at most, and then she would be forgotten. She would become one of the ninety billion people on this planet that had lived and died before her. The end.
At forty-four, I feel the current of that river pulling at me. I am one of six and a half billion people currently taking their turn at being alive on this planet. One of billions trying to make sense of their lives, their heartbreaks, their regrets, their greatest loves, their bad knees, and their beloved children sitting in front of them who will one day be part of the billions who have come before and have long since been forgotten.
This is unfathomable. And it’s the truest thing I know.
-Melanie Gideon, The Slippery Year
Even though I don’t know the names of some of the Argyle, Michigan folks, I want them to be remembered here.