Friday, May 15, 2009
Rosalind Dearborn Northrop Armstrong was my grandmother. She was born in San Antonio, Texas on September 6, 1895. She was the youngest of three although my great grandmother is supposed to have had 1 or 2 others. (Nothing is clear in family mysteries.) She lived in San Antonio and California most of her life though she traveled between them a great deal and told me she went to Illinois a few times. Of all the people in my family, I feel closest to her, and I think I take after her to a degree. I admire her a great deal because of her spirit and her independence.
When she was small, her mother, Sarah Short Dearborn, gave her away to a client who wanted a baby. I used to think this was pretty horrible but in truth after doing a little research found it to be quite common. Sarah was a dressmaker and had been left with her children by her husband - a railroad man. She had two older living children, May and Homer and I think just couldn't afford another mouth to feed. The clients name was Jennie Van Houten Northrop - called Mem-mee by my grandmother. I found record of Mem-mee and her adopted daughter Rosalind M. in the census for Bexar County. She named my mother after Jennie. She kept in contact with both of her siblings even though she hadn't grown up with them. I knew my Great Aunt May who lived most of her life int the Texas Hill Country.
My grandmother told me she quit school when she got to the 6th grade and went to work at Joske's, a very posh department store downtown. It was there when I first moved to San Antonio but I think it has gone away. She told me that she was a hostess in their tea room and they let her arrange flowers because she had nice hands. I don't know how she met my grandfather Harry, if she told me I've forgotten. I did find out that she married him when she was 16 and I think they married in El Paso, Texas. He served in the Philippines and was older than her by a few years. Eventually they moved back to San Antonio.
I have two pictures of her about the time they married. On the back of one Harry wrote on the back - "My sweet wife".