Monday, October 26, 2009


Katherine met her future husband, J.B. Akin, on August 20, 1929 and they were married exactly two years later in 1931. Ten years married, she is shown here with her two daughters, Janice and Polly. The photo is marked Thanksgiving 1941; Katherine is 31 years old, a young woman still, but at this point in her life she had already experienced a great deal of personal loss.

My grandmother's older sister, Mattie Grace, died when Katherine was only four years old and then when she was six, her mother gave birth to a baby that did not survive more than a few days. At age 15, Katherine's father Samuel Nathan Thomas Beckett died, most likely leaving the family with limited funds and hardship. I wonder now how these events might have affected her outlook on life.

Katherine's most painful loss, however, might have been the death of her cousin Lucile when they were only 28 years old. Born in the same year, and raised together, the two girls were close friends. I have Lucile's letters to my grandmother but since I don't have the replies, I learn very little about Katherine as a young woman. We often think about our grandparents in an abstract way, as caretakers, supporters, and gift givers, but never do we really know who they are as people.


Polly said...

Oh, my. In much later life, Mimi tried to open up to me about her life and marriage (I think we were sitting on the front porch of the President's house at BGA), and I freaked out and changed the subject. I am so sorry now--a wasted opportunity. I think she and More-Daddy both had their triumphs and disappointments. They were great parents. I miss them.

Polly said...

Two extremely adorable kids, I might add. :-)