The photo above shows my grandmother, Lucia Arras (second row without a doll), and her little sister Jeanne (second row left) with several childhood friends. For the longest time, we didn’t know who the other people were in this picture. Then, several years ago, my mom posted it online and someone came forward with the missing information.
Not only that, but she had another photo taken the same day!
Going back to the original photo, the other girl in the second row, Mary Etta Waltermire, was my grandma’s neighbor across the street. The three remaining children in the photo were Mary Etta’s cousins, who were visiting from Toledo, just under 50 miles away. Josephine and Mary Lou are seated in the bottom row and George, of course, is clowning away at the top. Isn’t he hilarious?! Pulling faces in both pictures, like you’d expect of a boy that age.
The funniest part was finding out who else Mary Lou, George, and Josephine were related to. Mary Etta was their cousin through their mother, Alma Irene Cessna. Her sister, Gytanna Cessna, had married Orville Waltermire.
Alma Irene Cessna’s husband was named Harold Clyde Benington. His brother, Ralph Orlando Benington, who I’ve written about here, was my grandpa’s father. Mary Lou, George and Josephine were Lucia’s future husband’s first cousins!
She would not meet their cousin, her husband, Clark, until high school.
I wonder whether Grandma and Grandpa ever recognized the connection!