November 28, 2021

G.W. CATE AS A YOUNG MAN


This photograph is the only one I’ve ever seen of my maternal grandfather as a young man. He died years before I was born (as did all my grandparents) and so he is only known to me through family stories, this photo and one later photo of him with my grandmother Evalee Ensminger Cate..

Among the photographs Mother had of her younger life were many from relatives (most of them Ensmingers) who left Tennessee for new lives in Kansas, Texas and California. These distant family members often sent photos of their children or family portraits to the Tennessee relatives they loved but rarely could visit.

Perhaps my grandparents also sent family photos to their distant kin but if so, they apparently didn’t keep one for their home.

Mother always talked lovingly of her father, of his gentle and loving nature, and his high standards. He seemed to model the type of life he encouraged his four children to live. When Mother was left as a young widow with a little son, he partnered with her to give them as secure a life as possible.

The older photo of him also shows his neatly trimmed mustache. His dark hair and eyes were also characteristic of two of his children—Della and Jack.  The other two—Clifford and Harriett—were blonder and had blue eyes like their mother and her family.

Photographs—tangible records of family and friends. Sometimes we have only one or two of someone we knew—or perhaps their annual photo Christmas cards—or albums (now often digital ones) full of pictures.  They may be carefully identified and dated or randomly scattered in an old shoebox or two. Each picture has a story to be seen and told.

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