Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Great Aunt

Ruby was the only member of my paternal Grandfather’s generation who I ever met. Hypertension ran unchecked in my father’s lineage (I've been spared) so there weren’t many older folks left by the time I was old enough to be able to remember them. Ruby was living in a converted cheese-factory/artist's studio near Mount Horeb, Wisconsin when I met her, in about 1961 or 1962. Her late husband, Byron Jorns, had taught art at the University of Wisconsin and his studio was still there. Mysteriously, its entrance was barred by a heavy padlock. I have since read that he had dozens of canvases, very few show up on the internet. There were sheep on the hills around the place but I hopelessly naive city kid so I was afraid of those benign creatures and refused to go outside. I don’t remember much about Ruby, she was different of course, living in what was then considered a somewhat boho lifestyle, but she was nice. She gave me a woolen shirt of her late husband’s that I wore until it was a rag. She died about seven years years after our meeting, I don't recall a funeral, and I had pretty much forgotten all about her until a few days ago when I found the above photograph in my Father's effects. There she was, my aunt Ruby (then only in her twenties) when she was a clerk at a "National Tea" store, a grocery.

One by one, the links to the past break. I talked with my older sister about this trip, she remembered her, of course, but I doubt that any of my cousins knew her. This photo could last for another two hundred years or more, but it won’t be very much longer before there will be no one left who remembers who that young woman was, standing at the counter, in a long forgotten store.

By Professor Batty


Blogger Móðir, kona, meyja said...

So make sure you write your memories of these people down, won't you, dear? And not just on the internet, mind.

Blogger Darien Fisher-Duke said...

Now that is a great picture.

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