Monday, February 13, 2012

A Lovely Lady

Lovely frost tracings. John thinks this looks something like a swan swimming in ferns. It certainly has been frigid in our corner. How about yours?


So I've been cleaning and cleaning and tossing and shredding left and right. These are my mother's and grandmother's papers. I hold onto anything that is a letter with any information that might be of interest one day. If it's all about the weather and local gossip...not so much. If there's a mention of historical events...definitely yes. If there's a mention of family history...yes. There are a lot more yays than nays.

I repacked all the family photo albums dating back to beginning of time. For the first time, I can see how such treasures wind up in flea markets. There's just so much hauling these things along. What does one do with it all? 

And in the middle of that, I brought home another instant ancestor. I brought her home because her photograph was so clearly labeled. Her name is Irene Marion Powers and her photograph was taken in 1901 in Pittsfield, Maine.

sitting on my window ledge

Imagine my surprise to look for her this morning and find her already featured at another blog right *here.* The blogger has done quite a little research and found out some interesting additional information about the lovely lady.


Downton cannot complain about that program dragging as the plot boots right along. Last night, the Spanish Flu was a part of the story line.

Back when I was teaching, I sometimes asked my adult students to write an essay on family legends and lore. If students couldn't think of anything to write, I would offer suggestions, one of which was to discuss how the flu pandemic of 1918 affected their families. I suggested it because my family is filled with stories about that time.

My great-grandmother went to bed on an autumn day and didn't get out of it again for six weeks. My grandmother, nine years old at the time, was coming down with the flu when her father fixed her a hot toddy and sent her to bed on the suggestion of the family doctor. Her father found her on the stair landing curled into a ball when he went up to bed. My grandmother recovered quickly unlike her poor mother. And the stories come from all sides of the family. Does your family have such stories?

I see that next week is the Christmas Show on DA. Does that mean that it's the final one of Season 2?


  1. Yes, the Christmas episode wraps up all of Season 2. I am SO glad they are going to make a Season 3.

    My father-in-law died as an indirect result of the Spanish flu. He had it as either an infant or toddler and when he was around age 70, he developed a severe tooth infection that went to his heart.

    Because of having the Spanish flu, his heart had some kind of "pockets" or something that caused the infection to do damage and a couple of years later (and a heart surgery), he died suddenly from the damage.

    Before that, I didn't know a tooth infection could be fatal but I found out it CAN affect even a healthy heart.

  2. Oh the snowflake on the window, how beautiful, you are really catching the beauty of them. We had snow last night, but all gone by morning.

    Oh the pictures and interesting. I have some from my mother-in-law, (age 96 and still going strong) all so interesting.

    Wow, wished I could have been one of your students.

    Well rainy and chilly here today...a good day to stay in doors and clean.

  3. That frost tracing is really cool. My uncle survived Siberia...
    Both my parents survived the long escape walk to Persia from Russia, many babies died on that trek. I don't have a lot of history on my ancestors...
    Have a great week Vee!

  4. A lovely lady indeed! And to think no one really knows much about her. We are all just a 'blip' on the big screen...and soon forgotten, it seems. Life is fleeting. What really matters is if 'our treasure' is in the right place.

    Cold? It feels like spring over here. The last of our big snow drifts from a month ago disappeared yesterday!

  5. Good morning! What a beautiful woman in the photo. I'd love to know the stories behind soo many of the pictures that I have like that. Just a picture and a name. My step dad (87) lost his two oldest sisters a week apart from that flu. Seems so many can tell similar stories, you are right. It's actually been quite a bit cooler here (finally) and even a little rain. Probably cuz we had a move on Sat, haha. Have a wonderful day!

  6. I love the feathery frost etching on you window, Vee. When I was a child my Mom would tell me the charming story about Jack Frost who came at night to paint the windows with frost. To get a visit from him was considered good luck!

    I have also been going through stacks and stacks of letters and greeting cards my Mom received in her life. She saved so many! The ones I especially enjoyed were ones she wrote and didn't send to her sisters -- perhaps they were first drafts? They werefilled with news about her and my Dad, my siblings and myself that made me smile. I also found all the letters my oldest brother sent home from his two year Army assignment in Alaska in the late 1960's. I'm sure he and his family will enjoy reading them.

    Your "new" ancestor is very pretty! What a delicate features she has.

    My mother-in-law's father died from the Spainish flu when she was eight years old, in Italy. She had three younger siblings and had to leave school to take care of them so her Mother could work to support the family after he died. Her mother eventually re-married and had four more children.

  7. Beautiful lady, indeed, Vee, I am so glad you enlarged her photo.The hairstyle and her clothes I adore, ladies then had such beautiful complexions too. So eloquent!
    I have heard a lot about DA, and would like to see it.
    My grandmother had lots of stories too, and I always enjoyed them so much.
    I am enjoying seeing what you are doing through your lens, great photo.
    Enjoy your day,

  8. Before I read John's thought on what the frost appears to be, my first thought was that it looks like a fern. I was wondering where you found that shade of fern.

    I love the lady's picture. She's just beautiful.

    The only family story I have is one that I've never researched so is it really true? - - The family story is that my paternal grandmother's father came to the states on a ship leaving Scotland. He fell overboard, had amnesia after they rescued him (likely story, huh?) so they game him the name McCollum.

  9. Your recent photos of snowflakes and now an ice crystal are so beautiful and make me realize one thing... when I lived in Michigan I didn't appreciate the beauty of each individual snowflake! It's true that blogging really makes one appreciate the small things. I now wish we would get a snowfall here in NC. If we do, I will be out there with my camera. It's not looking too promising, however.
    I had to miss DA last night and need to get caught up online before next week's episode. A Christmas episode sounds divine. Can't wait.

  10. Beautiful frosty picture. It's been cold and windy here the last couple of days, but today it is warmer at 42!! Sunny too!
    I too watched DA last night. The story moves right along. I hope next week isn't the last of the season!!!!
    Irene is very pretty!!
    You are lucky to have so many stories from your family. I guess my family wasn't big on writing things down or talking much either!!

  11. I'm so sad that Season 2 of D.A. is wrapping up already! I love that show. :)

    Love the frost on your window. It's quite lovely.

    I don't believe that anyone in my family had the Spanish flu. At least, not that I know of. I suppose I should ask someone about that. :)


  12. I am finally catching up on Downton Abbey...I like this season - the girls are all much easier to take! :) Mary is becoming a favorite!

    At first I thought this Marion Powers was a real relative of yours! How interesting to find out so much about people and how awesome that the very lady you purchased was featured on that blog!

    Missed you over the weekend!

  13. Hi Vee. Well, since I'm right 'next door' to your state, we are experiencing the same cold weather, if not colder. It's going to get better soon! Right? I love the old photograph and I have many as well. I know they'll end up in the landfill some day. I have no stories about the great flu epidemic at all. Maybe it didn't affect any of my family. I had hoped to watch DA but the the rotor isn't hooked up to the antenna (so I can get PBS from Bangor). I've never seen it and would love to sometime. I'll be way behind in the storyline. Have a great week! Pam

  14. That's a lovely lady you added to your instant relatives collection. I couldn't help but notice her dress, or rather the collar of her dress. I would have had a hard time wearing that one!

    It's been cold and snowy here today. A good day to be lazy and nap. Stay warm and cozy and have a good week!

  15. My great-great-great grandmother and her three girls were captured by the Indians in north Texas and were held for ransome. My great-great grandfather was part of a group of soldiers that rescued them. He later married one of her daughters, I grew up with this story and found out it was true. The Box Family Massacre. I also have a letter from a great-great aunt that went to take care of her grown children when they had the flu and she later died from it. I love family history.

  16. Hi Vee,
    Wishing you and your sweetie a very happy Valentines Day..
    I have oodles of family photo's all packed in two large bins. One day I'll go through them..I keep saying that and One day never comes..LOL I just keep moving them around the garage..
    It might be a really nice summer project..
    Have a sweet day and big hugs, Elizabeth

  17. What a coincidence that you found someone else with the very same photo on their blog! I wonder if someone mass produced it for flea markets? :)

  18. What lovely pictures and what a beautiful lady!

    I loved Downton Abbey and I have the DVD's. I'm looking forward to Sunday evening because "Upstairs Downstairs" the new series, is on BBC1.

    I used to love the old "Upstairs Downstairs" series and still watch it when it's on one of the satellite channels.

  19. goodness! that is such a coincidence. maybe
    your life will be linked with that young lady's
    in some way. she will be grateful for your
    photo and additional info.

    i'm going to have to watch the back episodes
    of downton abbey to catch up with you guys.

  20. Hi sweet Vee! Yes, it has been frigid down here...for Georgia that is :) My mom and dad live in north GA (we are just south of Atlanta) and they may get a little snow tonight! I am in love with your new found relative, she is just gorgeous ~ Downton Abbey was wonderful last night, I didn't want it to end... And you're so right, they keep that story line hopping!!! Wishing you a wonderful, cozy week, hugs and love, Dawn

  21. Yes to your final question. We watched it all online in the fall just after each epi came out in Uk, and when it's all over, its just so disappointing to have to wait another year for Season 3! I am enjoying watching it all a second time.

    I've been currently going through much of my parent's keepsakes which also means their parents' and the parent's of their parents, And yes, what to do with it all. I struggle with this all the time as our kids, and their cousins do not seem to have the same love of family history. Somehow I've been saddled with it all. My generation is happy to hear about it all, happy to see things I put on the family blog, happy that these things are being kept, but also happy it's my attic and not theirs.

    I have hundreds of letters I look forward to reading them. I probably could write a book when I'm done!

  22. Your photograph of frost on the windowpane...stunning! Such beautiful intricate design...and you have captured it beautifully!

    I love to see old family photographs, and they don't even have to be MY family. On my bedroom dresser, I have a couple of old black and white photographs that I discovered in a used book that I purchased. "Henry" is one of the people in the picture, and a German shepherd is on the doorstep. I wonder about their stories and what circumstances led to their photos being tucked inside that old book. How nice that you have a tiny bit of story to go along with your "lovely lady."

  23. Hi Vee

    It's actually been fairly mild here this winter not that we're complaining - that new heater hasn't been working overtime.

    I've not seen DA, but you have me intrigued.

    Love that you are the keeper of family memories.

    Enjoy your week and Happy Valentine's day!

  24. I watched Downton Abbey last night for the second time! I am so all about it right now.


  25. Vee, your frost is so beautiful. We had such fun as children viewing & imagining things about frost.

    Happy Valentine's
    TTFN ~

  26. So...come to find out Dear's grandfather was a Doughboy sp.? in World War 1 and also he contracted the Spanish flu but survived it...

  27. Lovely frost picture! It's really provides scope for the imagination!

    DA... omgoodness... what a to-do in the last episode. Funny thing, not many shows 'stay' in my mind, but it's interesting how my thoughts wander back to who said what and how things are going to turn out in the end.

    The photo of Marion Powers is lovely... how totally int'resting to find her story already featured elsewhere!

  28. What an incredible beauty the woman in the photograph is. I very much liked your adoption of an "instant ancestor." I may use that expression, if I could borrow it from you, when I speak to a women's group next week. I'm still developing the theme, but going in the direction of opening our hearts to those in need and welcoming new friendships beyond our own familiar and familial boundaries.

    No snow here and the "srosty" snowman of my granddaughter's is melting away.

  29. Wow, Irene Marion Powers is so gorgeous and elegant....

    You know what makes me sad, is to see old pictures such as this in antique stores for sale.... I always 'think' the family should hang onto the old pictures.

  30. If you want to read a gripping book, try Influenza. It is amazing and well document. Entire towns died...people got on a street car in New Orleans and were dead by the time they got to their stop...two couples dined together, decided to play cards after dinner and died at the card table. One person ask another person what time it was while waiting at a bus stop, then fell over dead. A hemorraging lung was the cause. San Diego was spared from out break...there are no Spanish flu stories in my family because of that.


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