Friday, May 28, 2010

Sepia Saturday: Reunion

(Here is our contribution to Sepia Saturday. Check the others here.)

Memorial Day weekend and June herald the onslaught of family and high school reunions. I won't be attending any this year, but thought I'd feature this one from 1922 of the Biggs family. The older pair on the right are my great-grandparents, John and Mattie Biggs, visiting Oklahoma from Torrance, California. My grandparents, Acy and Cassie Biggs, are the man in the flat cap with the baby (my father who was born that February) and the dark-haired woman in the center with her head turned. I am fairly certain that the young woman in the white hat is my second cousin, Jewell Biggs Castle. I had never met her until last April when she shared her journal from the family's journey from Oklahoma to Los Angeles in 1920 when she was 12. It was a poetically vivid account filled with detailed descriptions of sunsets, the new Broadmoor Hotel where she saw a polo match and the first discovery of the West. She died two weeks later at the age of 98. I look at this photo and feel lucky to so recently had a new personal connection with this group, none of whom are living today but are vividly dancing in my heart and imagination this Memorial Day weekend.

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17 Comments:

At 2:52 AM, Blogger Martin H. said...

I think I can appreciate how precious that meeting with your second cousin was. A real connection via a real blood relative. Magical.

 
At 5:30 AM, Blogger Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful that you made that connection!

I have a similar connection with my husband's aunt --who he hasn't seen in many years and who I've never met. But we correspond.

 
At 7:02 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Martin and Vicki - I forgot to mention that she was the first born and oldest living grandchild of John and Mattie.

 
At 7:28 AM, Blogger Alan Burnett said...

98 years : what a life, what a spread of experiences. It is interesting that the concept of family reunions was probably more important in America than in Europe because of the much greater geographic spread of families.

 
At 7:49 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Alan - I think you're correct. A former coworker of mine -- an American who grew up in Florence -- always said that Europeans are defined by a sense of place and Americans by what they believe. I've always questioned if that's true, but her point was that it's easier to discuss hot topics with Europeans without them being offended.

 
At 8:50 AM, Blogger Meri said...

Wow - could someone copy the journal for you? Priceless! We've talked about our possible Biggs connection before (maybe way back somewhere), but I've often wondered about my own family's migration from Missouri and Oklahoma to Washington and Oregon before 1910. They were not well-off and had a big family. How did they manage?

 
At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Nana Jo said...

What a wonderful connection to have made, and so soon before she died. These old hand-written journals hold so much power to connect family history and give a sense of place and time.

 
At 9:08 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Meri - Yes, my cousin the family historian got a copy. That was actually the purpose of our visit, to pick up a copy of the journals since she felt others should see them.

Nana Jo - I may post part of her journals here with photos for a future Sepia Saturday.

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger willow said...

Jewel Biggs Castle is a fabulous name. I love these wonderful kinds of kinship connections.

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger Barbara and Nancy said...

Jewell was very pretty and I love the little boy who's either saluting or shielding his eyes. I think he's saluting!

 
At 6:06 AM, Blogger L. D. Burgus said...

It is so nice to have the three generations in one photo. Also that you had contact with the 98 year old is good too. I have photos like that where no one is really posing for the photo. It was just snapped once everyone stood up together.

 
At 7:12 AM, Blogger John Hayes said...

How wonderful that you had a chance to receive your second cousin's memories! Happy holiday weekend to you.

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

L.D. - I felt it was a form of fate that I got to meet her.

John - Happy weekend to you as well.

 
At 5:10 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Oh, so wonderful to have a journal, and to have met the writer of the journal. Did she give it to you? If so, perhaps you'll share parts of it on a Sepia Saturday?

 
At 5:33 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Nancy - My cousin has a copy of it, and I'll try to post it here.

 
At 7:50 PM, Blogger Erudite Redneck said...

Junk, you kin to the Bigges at Piedmont, Okla., that have Biggs Backhoe and install a lot of tornado shelters? Just curious!

And, hey. How ya doin'? :-)

 
At 8:14 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

ER - I know of that group, but we have no known direct links. Hope you're doing well.

 

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