Thanks to the first post in this series, Women's History Month Day 1: Favorite Female Ancestor & Genealogy Guru!, I learned about a tender moment my great-grandmother shared with her niece Ruth. On March 1st, I posted a photo of my great-grandmother with her three brothers on the boardwalk in Atlantic City.
This is what I wrote then about the photo:
I wasn't sure when or where the photo was taken, but I knew enough family history to venture a guess that Minnie was visiting her brothers in Atlantic City."Minnie Crane with three of her siblings, (left to right) Bernard, Harry and William Crane, (printed June 1949). This is a photo I found after I published the book. It was most likely taken on the Atlantic City Boardwalk during one of Minnie's many visits. They look like they are dressed for a special occasion, a wedding perhaps?"
A few days later I received an e-mail from Ruth, who read the post and kindly agreed I share her note with my readers.
"The photo was taken on June 19, 1949, on the boardwalk outside the President Hotel in Atlantic City. The occasion was my first wedding ...." to my husband... "who had just finished his first year in Penn Medical School. I was 20--he was 21. Aunt Minnie had come up from Texas for this big family occasion (we had over 200 guests at the wedding).She was thrilled to solve one of my mysteries and confirmed that I was correct and that Minnie was indeed visiting Atlantic City and like I presumed, attending an elegant wedding. If I had been a bit more astute, I might have guessed Bernard was the father of the Bride, as he was wearing a white tuxedo and his brothers a regular suite.
Ruth's note continued with a wonderful memory from her wedding involving my great-grandmother:
There's a funny story that has made it into family legend concerning that day's events. It happened when my husband and I had decided to sneak out after most of the wedding festivities were over and drive to Philadelphia to start our honeymoon. I went upstairs to the ladies' dressing room in the hotel where we had planned to rendezvous. Just after I arrived, Aunt Minnie knocked on the door, sending my new husband into hiding under the bed. After Aunt Minnie and I chatted for a while, he felt the need to emerge, and the sight of him sliding out from under the bed caused my dear aunt considerable surprise and consternation. She was of course sympathetic to our plans--as you know your great-grandmother was a sweet, nurturing and romantic lady--so we took off and the story never came out 'til some time later."Today happens to be the 60th anniversary of Ruth's father's death. Bernard Crane, her father, was Minnie's beloved younger brother. When Feige —their mother—fell ill, Minnie cared for Bernard like a son. They remained very close throughout their lives. Bernard was the first person in the family to attend college. He went on to Medical School and practiced medicine in Atlantic City, until his premature death on March 21, 1953 at the age of fifty five. His death was a great loss for the family. Ruth's wedding may have been the last time Minnie saw Bernard (I'm going to have to ask Ruth about that). I'd like to think that her last visit with him was around such a happy occasion.