Thursday, August 25, 2011

Evelyn's Out of the Closet. Again!

Sometimes it's the simplest thing that'll make me feel more connected to my ancestors.

This morning I pulled out my 4-generation Pedigree/Family Group Worksheet, and file #4/5 from my File System. That's the folder for my father's parents. I felt the urge to find a story to share with you. I keep getting drawn to my Grandpa Ken, my dad's dad!

 So I start looking at his documents again, and before I knew what was happening I was deeply immersed in his first wife's story.

She's my dad's mother, Evelyn Michaele Earles. I wrote a bit about her in "Forgive Me If I Slip Away". That post seemed so sad.
 This one makes me laugh. But I do have a strange sense of humor.

How did that happen? Honestly, I can't tell you! I wanted to fill in some gaps on his timeline and got sidetracked I guess when it came to figuring out ages and circumstances surrounding his marriage to Evelyn.

On the one hand this woman must be very shy or full of guilt or shame. On the other she won't leave me alone. She's SO indecisive! My computer crashed twice, the scanner stalled about three times and I could never get the 1930 census record to download properly!

So guess what I found? I'm looking at the 1930 census for Evelyn and she shows up in two places, First at home with her parents in Seattle and also at a boarding school in Tacoma, Washington.

She's a 17-yr.-old "pupil" at The Annie Wright Seminary in 1930. She was living about 45 minute from home.

I get the chills! No. I didn't go there.

The Annie Wright Seminary opened its doors in the Fall of 1884 to daughters of the pioneers of the territory. It was an all-girls' school "that would make possible Christian education for the rising generation of daughters of pioneers."

I was 17 when I boarded at Walnut Hill School in Natick, Mass. It was founded in 1893, just 9 years after my grandmother's school.

I went there on scholarship to study and to dance. I'd started ballet as a freshman in high school and somehow ended up in an all-girls school, about 1 1/2 hours from home. I knew we didn't have the money for that school! Maybe the scholarship covered it? My mother was a genius when it came to meeting our passion's needs.

Okay, maybe this is a bit strange to you, but I got a huge chuckle about what I'd talk to Evelyn about. Wow! We had something in common. We both went away to school. The schools were both all-girls' schools. Maybe we'd talk about how crazy it was having no boys around? Or how I never got to go to the prom because WE had to ask the boys and none of us knew any in town?

Or maybe she'd just stare at me like a "deer in the headlights".

You see, I liked boys. Turns out, after a brief marriage to my dad's dad, she decided she liked girls more.

There Evelyn. We've added a bit more of your story. Own it! I love you!


  1. You did share a similar life, and my mother also went to a all-girls school, Northfield in MA. She would be pleased that you are interested in her life, and maybe you could share more of it. What happened to her after the divorce. Did she live happily with her mate? Was she still in your life? People don't normally share this kind of information, so thanks for being honest.

  2. Hi Barbara!
    I have very few memories of her. She was always sad and sometimes angry. My dad suffered a lot. Everyone deals with their feelings differently. She may have been happy, but the alcohol that I've heard she abused might have been covering a deep sadness. I can't imagine how having secrets AND feeling ostracized by your peers and family (I'm assuming)would impact a person. I feel a lot of compassion for her.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Betsy,
    I love how you do this! The lines between fact and fantasy are so blurred! It's so interesting how you bring the past to life. Such a coincidence about the schools!

  4. Hey Lori!
    So simple isn't it? My intention is not to interpret but to relate in a personal way how the facts influence me. Does that make sense? It's the same thing we do with our live relationships. You know when someone leaves a comment it really makes me stop and think about just what it is I do. You do the same thing at I love your blog!
    Have a great weekend. Thanks for your support.

  5. Hi Betsy

    I just love this story about your family.
    I had a lady on face book ask me if i had
    any family in Va. As far as I know i don't
    The odd thing is she has the same birthday
    as me and her made name is Squires like mine.
    I asked my sister about other family members
    she doesn't no.

    Than one day I was going down my twitter list
    and there was a man with the same last name that
    my mom use to say was cousin and i had asked if he had family in NY he said yes but it wasn't by that name but another name. He wouldn't give me much more info. So now i'm wondering if this man and the lady could be family of mine.

    I would love to learn more about my family. I don't know much because my dad died when i was 6
    and i left home at 16. So I don't know a hole lot about my family or our medical history

    Thanks for sharing with us about your grandma
    Bonnie squires

  6. I don't have an intimate and strong connection to my family's past. There's not a lot of stories passed down to me - less than can be counted on one hand.

    How does it feel to have your strong connection to your family history? What does it do for you?

    I ask with wonder and curiosity.

  7. Stan,
    Every story you read here is one that I pieced together looking at documents that were either given to me or that I found in various genealogy sites like The reason I search and write is to feel the closeness I didn't feel when they were alive. It's really a search for common ground. The connections I'm starting to feel are very strong because I'm making the effort. I see the same thing with everyone who starts their family history. At first it seems boring and uninteresting. That's why I avoided it for years. There was nothing in it of value for me. But it took on a life of it's own one day. There are eternal chords that can link generations if activated. For me, that linkage opens up a supportive and interested world of people who are as invested in me as I am in them. Try describing the taste of salt and you'll start to understand how difficult it is to explain this passion! You are wonderful to ask this question! You really made me think!

  8. Oh, Bonnie!
    This is what I'm talking about! These are little gems that will start you thinking and searching. It seems you already are. The reason most people don't start is that they don't know where to begin, AND they don't know how to get organized so that when life calls they can put it away until next time. Others haven't seen the value in it, yet. They haven't caught the bug! I'm putting together a free Starter Package for newbies. I'll let you know when it's out. With it you can start and when you run into snags I can help you or direct you to some really generous people who have strengths in different areas of genealogy. Thanks so much for your visit Bonnie! Let's get started!

  9. All I can say is "Go Evelyn" she tried boys, but decided girls where the way forward! I bet that was not an easy decision to make in that day and age, and she would have had to be very secretive about it. You write beautifully Betsy. I really enjoyed reading this.xx

  10. I can't imagine what she had to tolerate with her emotional and societal conflicts. All I know is it's really hard looking objectively at someone's life when you have different lifestyle choices! I tried to imagine what she would have been feeling. But since I couldn't I kept it really brief! Glad you came by Stacey!

  11. Betsy,
    You make me want to start digging into my family's histories! I was fortunate in that until my mid 20's I had both sets of grandparents and a great granmda.

  12. THAT IS MY GOAL Sandi! Let me get you started! Love you Sandi and love your blog, I look forward to it every day. Thanks for coming to visit.


What do you think? I'd love to know.