Thursday, June 15, 2017

Grandpa, We Hardly Knew Ye

This is how I remember my Grandpa Ridnour, in his signature striped overalls and brown fedora. He died when I was just sixteen. He was sixty-three. He was the Yang to Grandma's Yin. Grandpa was kind to small children; a sounding board for older ones. I wish he had stayed longer. I wish I had known him as an adult.

And I really wish he could tell me just who this mystery woman is having her picture taken with him!
A couple days ago the widow of one of Mom's cousins and I got together to exchange some family history. She brought along the above photo and asked, "Isn't this your Grandpa Joe?" At first I wasn't sure. She said, "Well, isn't that Delphia in the picture with him?" "No. No way is that Grandma."

I still wasn't certain it was Grandpa until I compared that photo with this one, also a picture I hadn't seen before and one she had with her in a book. Joe is between his sisters, Lottie on the left and Florence on the right with parents Katherine (Kate) and Rufus (Rufe), seated.
The photo of mystery woman with Grandpa was among the pictures left by Great Aunt Florence. There are none left who could possibly tell me, or even give me a suggestion about who the young woman is. And there's no name written on the back with which I can begin a search. Nor does she have any 'family features' that would give me a clue.

Perhaps there are some mysteries that are meant to remain just that, but that doesn't mean I won't be trying to figure this one out, speculating here and there about who she is. A girlfriend? I don't think so, unless they were serious, and it was an engagement photo. A hundred years ago, a couple didn't have photos together unless they were "serious". And I have never heard that Grandpa was involved with anyone before marrying Grandma.

But relatives did have photos taken together. I'm thinking the woman is one of Grandpa's cousins, possibly one of the Gray's from Illinois. If I could just find some descendant who might have old photos of them......

Oh, Grandpa, we did hardly know you.

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