Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pistol Packin' Granny??!

My Uncle Bill died June 3, 2012, after a long illness.  He never married, so his nieces and nephews were his family.  He was a benevolent curmudgeon.  We will miss him.

While planning Uncle Bill's memorial service, my brother and cousins have been looking over old photos via email and internet.  My cousin Deb found this photo of our Grandma Quist (Genevieve Parrott Quist).

The photo was dated December 2, 1923, and on the back it says, "I'll learn someday."  I have no idea what she was shooting at -- or why she was shooting in December in chilly South Dakota.  Apparently, eccentricity runs in both sides of my family!  So I come by that trait honestly.

This photo amuses me because it seems so totally out of character for my grandma -- a very strict and proper librarian who always wore her hair pulled back in a bun and zealously guarded "the collection" [of library books] in the Carnegie Public Library in Madison, South Dakota. I never pictured her as the Annie Get Your Gun type -- and certainly not as a pistol-packin' granny!

She had a four-year college degree, which was quite unusual for women of that era.  And her mother, my great-grandmother, was also a public librarian.   My cousin Deb, who found this photo, is our generation's librarian, carrying on the family vocation.  And most of us are avid readers.

Grandma Quist died of Parkinson's Disease within months of her retirement when I was quite young.  Much of her life is a mystery to me.  And this photo is one more odd-shaped piece of that unsolved puzzle.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower


  1. It always bothers me to hear how someone passes soon after retirement; you would think that a little bit of relaxation and sleeping in would be warranted after a long career of hard work.

    I bet your grandma could tell some stories by the looks of that photo.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Erika! Perhaps my cousins can help me learn a little bit more about this mysterious lady who was my grandma.

  2. I'm sorry to hear about your uncle LeAnn!
    I love the photo of your grandma :) My grandma will surprise me with stories now and then too...just when I think I have her figured out, she throws me a
    curveball story!

  3. That photo is really cool! She looks so interesting, and kind of intimidating haha.

  4. The older I get the more interested and appreciative I am of the backstories that older people carry. Unfortunately my grandparents died when I was too young to really get to know them. Their pictures reveal nothing behind the very proper poses and serene facial expressions.

    That's why it's so important to write. You never know if down the line someone will have the curiosity to see from whom they inherited their eccentricity!

  5. We have found lots of interesting things about our grandparents, too. The staid exterior seems to have held a lively spirit for many of that generation!