mad in pursuit family history

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On Rowan and Ridge

My question about "all in" got me nosing into my mother's family history. [See first draft of timeline.]

Most of my genealogy attention has been focused on putting together the facts about Kitty Mom's family -- the grim circumstances of everyone's death and Kitty's ability to rise above it all.

Now I'm turning to my mother's era. Kathleen was born to Kitty and Tom Barrett in 1925 -- the fourth child. The family lived above their store on Rowan and Ridge in St. Louis and operated a second store on Easton Avenue.

It was the Roaring Twenties -- time to throw off the gloom of world war and old fashioned, old world thinking. Women had the vote, bobbed their hair, and threw away their long skirts. Sure, there was Prohibition but who paid attention to that? Prior to Prohibition, taverns had been the sole territory of men. But the secret speakeasies of the Twenties attracted not just men, but couples. For women, there was no looking back.

But within 18 month's of my mother's birth, Tom Barrett was dead. This really could have been the final blow for Kitty. During the prior 13 years she'd lost her remaining parent and all her siblings, except for a sister who was institutionalized.

There she was -- a 36-year-old woman with four children and a grocery business. Her oldest daughter Mary was 12 -- the same age Kitty was when her mother died. Did she look at Mary and see herself? Did she look at her twin boys and see her brothers who descended into crime and alcoholism? Did she look at her baby and see her own little sisters who wound up being placed in an orphanage?

No way was that going to happen. No way. When the tough get going, great Jazz Age dames put on their red lipstick and high heels and start kicking ass.

Her first task (a little bit of speculation here) was to get someone to mind the Easton Avenue store till she could figure out what to do with it. That where Ewald Curran came in...

To be continued...

11.25.05 (rev. 12.11.05)




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