I got a message on Ancestry. com's message board. A very nice lady named Colleen had bought a 1933 Dixon High School yearbook in an antique shop in Freeport, Ill. It had a picture and signature of my mother in it and she offered to send me a copy of it. I looked to see if I had that yearbook and found it but then noticed that instead of the messages being addressed to my mother they were addressed to her best friend, Fran. I don't know why I have Fran's yearbook instead of my mother's.
I wrote to Colleen and told her what I remembered about Fran: Fran dated Ronald Reagan in high school and my mother sometimes double dated with them. He was a life guard on the Rock River and taught my mother to dive. My family visited Fran when I was about 8 yrs. old. She let me spend the night in a hammock. A big thrill for a little girl! She had married a doctor and they lived in a beautiful big house on the bank of a river in Oregon, Ill.
Several years after our visit we heard that Fran had killed herself.
Colleen is very into genealogy and was interested in researching Fran's life. She found out a lot of things that I didn't know. However, not why she committed suicide. Although there were, maybe, some hints.
After high school she went to Chicago and became a nurse. In 1943 she joined the Army and was stationed as a nurse in the South Pacific. She married Doctor Lambertus Warmolts, who was quite a bit older than her, in 1945. They adopted a baby girl in 1947 and in 1952 had (or adopted) a boy.
Fran moved to Tuscon, AZ. They seem to have lived together off and on after this. They still kept the house in Oregon so this may have been their winter house.
In 1960 Fran was found dead by her 13 year old daughter. A newspaper article said that she told her daughter that she was going to kill herself but since she had threatened this several times she didn't take it seriously. Her daughter had to crawl through a laundry chute to get to her because she had locked the door to her room.
A very sad end to a beautiful woman.
Here's my mother:
See more Sepia Saturday stories at http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com