Sunday, March 1, 2009

Becoming my great-aunt

We went out for dinner tonight.  I wanted to save room for dessert, because they had flan, so I ordered a little corn quesadilla with shrimp.  It was really little.  So I started picking at Echo's rice and beans, and suddenly I thought about Aunt Margaret.  

I never met her, but Daddy knew and loved her.  She was verging on famous, but I remember best that he said that when they'd go out to eat, Aunt Margaret would say, "I'm not very hungry; I'll just get something small." So she did that, and pretty soon she was soliciting bites from everyone else's plate.  I've always felt akin to her.  

Margaret Fay Whittemore was a suffragist, a member of the National Women's Party.  I have a telegram that she wrote on the occasion on my mother's birth in 1915.  If I remember right, it reads: "Congratulations on the birth of baby Elizabeth. Votes for women." 

In this picture, she's campaigning for the vote in 1916, in Pendleton, Oregon, with someone named Mary Gertrude Fendall.  Aunt Margaret is on the right.  Someday I want to learn more about her.  I hope I took after her in more than just stealing food.  

Well, yes.  According to my dad, she was probably a lesbian.  My cousin Susan, who was her niece, adored her, and Susan was undoubtedly a lesbian.  That's how I figure we have four generations.  I don't know just what Daddy was going on - he said she rather collected young men, but I assume they were probably gay.  And she was certainly tough - sometimes she drove her own Model T while campaigning, and sometimes she rode a horse.  I really want to know if she was one of those who chained themselves to the White House fence.  

Do we all turn into our ancestors as we get older?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Karin- I think your great-aunt's companion, Mary Fendall, is related to a guy I know in Oregon who was the clerk of Northwest Yearly Meeting for awhile. (He might still be actually.) Small world!