Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Reese Twins of the Roaring 20s

William and Wilma Reese age 9 or 10
Joseph and Josephine Reese age 4 or 5

This morning (insomniac early) I had awakened and was looking on my smart phone at some old email files.  There in a file I found a bunch of old photos, this one among them.  The little sweetheart holding the doll is my mother and this is the only photo that I have of her as a child that shows me what she looked like.  There are a few others in various degrees of deterioration but this one is nearly perfect for being almost 100 years old.  Oddly I do not remember ever seeing this photo before.  I think I must have put it in PAF years ago and Lowell, our son-in-law must have taken all  those off PAF and sent them to me in a big photo file.   Anyway I feel as though God did send me a lovely and cherished gift this morning.

There are so many things I love about this photo.  The first is that each person in this photo is someone that is now deceased that I have known and loved very much when they were alive.  It is wonderful to see what they looked like as children. 

This picture was taken at a critical time in their lives, it is either just shortly before or after their mother died in 1924.  Their mother, Ella Evans Reese, had nine children include these two sets of twins.  The fact that the mother and twins all survived is a miracle in itself when nearly all twin births include at least one breech baby and were delivered at home.  In fact, all but their last child were born at home.  When little Ruby was born our grandmother went into the hospital, contracted a serious infection and died ten days later at 39.

This left all nice children, motherless and their father was a busy rancher.  Consequently they were passed from pillar to post and separated for several years in different households.  I do know that my mother and Uncle Joseph were kept together and I have no idea what happened to the other kids during those years.  I do know that it was very rough on my mom and her brother and not ideal in any way for them.

Eventually the kids had an old field hand named Ollie that came and stayed at their home and he was the best caregiver they ever had.  Their dad eventually remarried an old spinster that taught at the kids' school.  This also was not a happy time for the children.  They were to address her as "Miss Moore."  Not a "warm fuzzy" experience for the children for sure.  This fact was apparently kept a secret from their father who thought he had found a solution to his problem.

My mom says she only remembers her own dear mother as she watched her casket being lowered into the ground and as people threw dirt on it.  That simply breaks my heart, and to now be able to have a little girl's face to go with that story makes it all the more poignant for me. 

Another thing I love about this picture is the fact that my mom is holding a pretty little doll in her arms.  Mom told me she did not ever remember having a toy in her entire life.  I am not sure that this is her doll but it is nonetheless wonderful to see her holding it.

The other thing I like about this picture is a chance to see a little part of where they lived.  It looks like the most God-forsaken place on earth.  Flat, ugly, dry and brown.  Even in a black and white photo you can see it is brown!   And look at their little feet.  Only Aunt Wilma is wearing shoes.  We are planning a trip to South Dakota hopefully in the late spring of the year 2014.  I want to find their property and go there and visit some of the graves of people in the family who never made it out of Pierre, South Dakota alive.

I am so thankful for discovering this photo!  It just means so much to have something like this to share with her posterity and with my own siblings and cousins.


Sister Susie Says said...

It is awesome when you see pictures of your parents when they were kids! I love looking back through the old pictures of my parents when they were children and when thy were young parents with my brother and myself! I guess we are always young at heart! Love to you all, Susan