Saturday, July 24, 2010


My maternal grandmother, Bessie White and her grandmother Rosa Daehler.

Her report card in 1901. 7 years old.

She got excellent grades. It says on the back that 95-100 is very high. She got 100 in Orthography.
Does anyone know what Orthography is?  Whatever it is she was excellent at it.
She was off to a good start. In those days, however, if you were a girl good grades didn't get you very far. The most you could hope for is to marry well.

 Here she is at 18. 

She got married and became Mrs. Harold Reis.

They had six children ( 5 shown here.) My mother, Arleen, Dale, Darryl, Fred, Kathryn. (Florence came later).

Sometime later he left her and the six kids.

I guess you would say she didn't marry well. 


Elizabeth said...

How fascinating these old pictures are.
How much history
and what jumping off places for other stories that spring from the imagination.
Loved this.

gibknitty said...

Fabulous photos! I especially like the first one.

Kat said...

Oh, I was so hoping for a happy ending! I believe "orthography" was another name for spelling. She and I would have got along; I love spelling!

Well, I suppose if women had been recognized for their good grades and your grandmother had gone on to greater things, your mother and you wouldn't be here.

Excellent post! Thoroughly enjoyed it. What a treasure to have those school records!


Food Smarts said...

Terrific,,,a little life story. Her grades were really good.
She had a beautiful batch of children. How marvelous that you have all these photos and the report card.

tony said...

Bessia was very Pretty.her Eyes are very expressive & bright.

Meri said...

Here's what Wikipedia says:
The orthography of a language specifies the correct way of using a specific writing system (script) to write the language. Where more than one writing system is used for a language, for example Kurdish, Uyghur or Serbian, there can be more than one orthography. Orthography is derived from Greek ὀρθός orthós ("correct") and γράφειν gráphein ("to write"). Orthography is distinct from typography.
While "orthography" colloquially is often used synonymously with spelling, spelling is only part of orthography. Other elements of the field of orthography are hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, and punctuation. Orthography describes or defines the set of symbols (graphemes and diacritics) used, and the rules about how to write these symbols.

And as for marrying well, I guess she didn't. I didn't either -- he kept thinking that he was single all during the over twenty years we were married. (I should have been tipped off because his father deserted his mother twice. . . she married him two times.) Charm ran in the family, I guess.

Martin H. said...

That's a tender picture of Bessie with her grandmother. And her expression doesn't appear to change over the years.

She is still a handsome woman later in life. Harold's loss?

Barbara and Nancy said...

Meri, That was interesting about orthography. I wonder what the kids in grade school did with it.

Nancy said...

The first photo is so very unusual for the time period, so personal, almost intimate -- and, of course, very, very beautiful. Do you have a copy of it hanging in your home somewhere? I always thought orthography was, more or less, handwriting, but now I wonder if it's spelling. Thanks for sharing.

Barbara and Nancy said...

Nancy, I just ran across that picture in an envelope and it's tiny - only about an inch wide. I thought it was unusual, too because of the intimacy, especially knowing my grandmother. She wasn't a particularly demonstrative person.
Writing is a subject on the card, so I wonder if that meant handwriting? If so maybe orthography might have been spelling. When I read Meri's definition (above) it seems to be spelling and punctuation symbols. I wonder if any of the parents knew what it meant.

Eric S. said...

Lovely photos, and to have her report card also, wow.

I also like that I learned something within your comments section. "The orthography of a language specifies the correct way of using a specific writing system"

Christine H. said...

She was a such a catch - and Harold squandered that. Shame on him, especially with those adorable children. I'm also glad to know what orthography is. Thanks, Meri!

Alan Burnett said...

Wonderful post - like a rich fruit cake. So much to enjoy. I spent ages looking at that report card, one could write a book on it. If they had recorded the times I was "tardy" when I was at school my reports would have been even worse than they were.


started "average" in maths but improved, and a good speller!!! good for her!! women are more than "kid factories". shameful that she was left alone to raise those kids, but hey!! that's life!! and if you're there, she must have done something right...aside from spelling!!

Pat said...

Oh but even to the last photo, she has the face of assurance, the eyes as determined as in her earlier days. What a survivor! And the photo of the kids, with their bowl hair cuts and posed for all time! Wonderful photos!

L. D. Burgus said...

Ok, I am going to have to check this one out for us both. I had Ries or Reis's in my family a few generations back. I don't remember the spelling but I know it was a third set of grandparents back. I have places to find it but I don't have time to look now. I will get back to you.

Barbara and Nancy said...

Oh, Larry, this is going to be fun.

By the way, check out Maria"s Space(# 84) at Shadow Shot Sunday.

The Summer Kitchen Girls said...

Great photo girls...we just love old photos! What a pretty dress she was wearing in that age 18 pic...what fun! What a gal, raising all of those kids!
We are wondering what she used on her face...gracious - what a gorgeous face- we don't see a single wrinkle (the kids must have been angels!)

Julie (Legacy Crafter) said...

wonderful post. Love all the old goodies.


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