Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Trunk Series ~ On Generations ~ May 2014

Three generations of women, free spirits one and all. From left to right: Grandma Olive, Mom Barbara, Grandma Hazel and wee me. It's 1947 and we're in Grandma Hazel's back yard in Mill Valley. Check out my wheels!

Grandma Olive was born in 1885 and grew up in San Francisco. She married the love of her life, Billy Macdonald, in 1909 and had three sons. Some of their early years were spent in Coronado where this photo of her with the boys was taken circa 1920. 

Free as the wind

Billy died unexpectedly in 1934 and she never remarried. She lived in San Francisco, visited her five grandchildren often and traveled the world by herself for three plus decades. 

Grandma Hazel was born in 1880 and met my grandfather John Sherman Bagg at UC Berkeley. She graduated in 1906 with a degree in Botany, he attended the School of Mines. They spent much of the first few years of their marriage exploring the Sierras with a mule. 


And in long skirts to boot

They divorced in the early 1920's. He was drawn to the vagabond life of a mining engineer and miner in California, Nevada and Arizona and she had two daughters to raise. She later married Walter Polland and ran a successful insurance agency in San Francisco. They lived on the Mill Valley property, purchased by her mother in 1892, until the fire of 1929 burned off the middle ridge of Mt. Tamalpais. Aunt Betty and her grandparents, Charles and Flora Beals, moved to a house up the street that survived the fire while the compound was being rebuilt. My Mom was sent to live with her grandmother Charlotte Winchester Bagg in Santa Barbara. I'm sure it was a traumatic experience for her, but it must have also been an adventure.

The Old Adobe

She lived at the historic Trussell-Winchester Adobe at 412 Montecito St. which was then Charlotte's home and went to Santa Barbara HS. Had she not moved to Santa Barbara and attended UCLA she would never had met my dad. Here they are on vacation. As irreverent as always she stuck her tongue out at the camera. Here she was 22 he was 28.

Summer 1938

Colorado River 1970

So now you've met the delightful trio of free spirited women who influenced my collective soul by sharing their joie de vivre and wisdom over the years. I remain ever the tomboy and occasionally a lady.

Mt. Robson 1970

MacMurray Ranch 2007

Generations are the threads that bind us to our history and where we came from. The women of my family were pioneers, travelers, and free spirits long before it was acceptable behavior. They could do a man's work, climb a mountain, or run a business. Spend some time talking to your elders, taking notes and researching your history. It's a fun, rewarding and a sometimes surprising adventure.