52 Ancestors: Favorite Photo

My Grandma Margery raised seven children on the Japanese island of Okinawa. Her husband was stationed at the U.S. Air Force base there twice, with a short break at Keesler AFB in between.

Margery loved Japanese culture, collecting several mementos which adorned her home in Bessemer, Alabama during her later years. The most memorable for me was a graceful porcelain statue of the goddess Guan Yin, standing atop a lotus pedestal with a willow branch resting in her hands. I imagine my grandmother often called on the help of Guan Yin, the deity of mercy and compassion, while she was raising seven children!

By the time I met Margery in the 1980s, her health was failing. She passed away in 1993 just after her seventieth birthday. The few memories I have of my grandma are her frail body and the stacks and stacks of books which she read to pass the time.

When I found this picture of her in the San Bernardino County Sun newspaper, I felt like I was meeting Margery White for the first time. She married Vernon Demaree in 1939 at the age of sixteen. He was twenty years old and earned a good wage as a clerk for the Santa Fe Railroad.

In this photography, Margery, called Margie by her friends and family, was radiant in a traditional white dress of a style that showed off her strong yet graceful figure. With her fair skin and a bouquet resting in her hands, she closely resembles the porcelain statue which she would buy in Okinawa twenty years later.

My mom now has the statue and every time I see it, I think of my Grandma Margery, looking lovely in her white gown with her whole life ahead of her.

This is week 4 of the “52 Ancestors” series inspired by Amy Johnson Crow. I didn’t manage the first three weeks but these are great writing prompts and I will catch them as I can. https://www.amyjohnsoncrow.com/52ancestors52weeks/

Notes:

Martin, Winifred, ed. “Miss Marjorie White Married in Santa Ana.” San Bernardino Daily Sun, July 8, 1939. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/69732608/.

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