Sepia Saturday: Those We Lost Young
Sepia Saturday posts are often tinged with a bit of sadness since the subjects are typically no longer with us on earth. What strikes me as that so many of the family members in yellowing photo albums are not only gone but left at an young age.
Several posts back, I wrote about my great-uncle Claude who took his life in his 20s. His half sister -- my maternal grandmother -- also lost her "baby" brother Frank Cain, above around 1935. Born in 1907, he was the youngest of four children (not counting half brother Claude who was gone by the time he was in kindergarten). He is the baby in the photo below, taken in Kansas around 1908.
Though the baby, he assumed the role of the patriarch in the family when his father passed away when he was a teenager and was very close to my grandfather. Though brothers-in-law, they felt almost like brothers, equally ambitious and hardworking. Although his older brother was the first born, he was an eternal drifter and alcoholic, spending most of his adult life in and out of residential hotels and plasma banks.
Exactly what took Frank was never clear to me, a mysterious illness before he was even 30. His widow and three children left Kansas City for northern California, and I heard about them second had for years. She never remarried and was said to have been in mourning for the remaining 55 years of her life. I finally met her children in Fairfield when my parents first visited me in San Francisco in 1997. As we drove away, my mother said, "It's like they never left Missouri. I bet things would have turned out differently if Frank had lived."