The mystery of Ida Duncan Yelvington was solved just over 20 years ago. Ida married into my Duncan family – married Francis Duncan, adopted son of Thomas Cation Duncan. Francis died shortly after their marriage. So Ida is a bit on the fringe for me, but they had moved to San Diego where my family lived. So I was curious about what happened to her. Actually it’s a fascinating story, just not close to me (I wrote more about it here.) So I asked Mom about Ida, any idea what happened to her. No, Mom didn’t remember anything. Finally I found a second marriage for Ida – to Calvin Yelvington. I shouted to Mom ‘I found her!’ To which Mom replied, ‘Oh, I knew Ida Yelvington.’ Sigh. But that’s how our memories work. I understand that more now that I’m older. I think I just remembered her maiden name – Utley.
As I remember the story: Dad came back from a fishing trip with friends at Panguitch Lake, Utah, with a story about having seen a UFO. He told it to the family right away, but I never heard it again. My speculation: someone teased him about this ‘outrageous’ claim and he was embarrassed. He could be silenced by a threat of humiliation. Really sad, because this could have been a fine story to tell the great-grandchildren.
It was 40 years ago this summer that I had the chance to be part of the Reed Dance in Swaziland (now Eswatini). The best known part of the event is bare-breasted maidens dancing for the King. The was not my part – I was in the fully-clad married women’s group that danced for the Queen Mother. There were three of us non-Swazis who were invited to join in. It was an honor and a wonderful day.
My Mom, Harriet Duncan (Claycomb), was a fine swimmer. She earned the American Red Cross Life Saving badge when she was 16, but she had to wait until she was 18 to officially receive it. She was often ahead of her time.
Mom and Dad registered to vote in Detroit, MI, 1937. The municipal elections there had the biggest turnout in their history that year. My guess is that, as usual, Mom and Dad’s votes cancelled each other. The following year, FDR was elected President for a second term. Can you tell I’ve been sorting more family ephemera lately? Hope to continue and someday finish.
In these days of calling parents and grandparents by their first names, this note that accompanied a gift to my father and his brothers harks back to an earlier time. I would guess it was written in the mid-1920s. The Bresslers are the boys’ grandparents (and probably included their daughter, Dorothy). No warm and fuzzy Grandma and Grandpa here, just ‘The Bresslers.’ My father did refer to them as Grandma and Grandpa.
It’s more properly called a friendship album. I got a chance to see one with a distant family connection. It was made by Emma Osborn with help from her sister Erista, beginning in 1860. Emma married my great-grandfather’s brother, Thomas C. Duncan in 1866. Besides poems and obituaries, the book contained locks of hair – from children, friends, and deceased folks.
The woman who generously shared it with me – and provided these photos – found it at an estate sale. Her research brought her to my blog. I’m grateful for her diligence. If the book had a more direct line for me, I would have considered buying it. It later sold for several hundred dollars.
A funny story from our visit is here.