Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Gains and Losses
In every life there are ups and downs. It was apparently no different for the young mother we met through the photo postcard I found in a northern California antique shop. While we've already discovered Hallie Randall and her darling baby Fay in Bandon, Oregon (according to the note on Hallie's postcard) and in San Francisco, California (where baby Fay and both her parents, Hallie and Charles, were listed in the 1920 census), it wasn't long before the family was on the road again.
Not long after the family had moved—this time, to Nevada—baby Fay became big sister to Shirley Irene. Barely over a year later, the family was graced with another daughter, Joyce Wanda.
Not all was well with the family, though, for by the time of the 1930 census, Hallie was listed with her three girls, but not with Charles. She was living in a home large enough to host six lodgers in addition to her three daughters. She was also working as a waitress at the local cafe. The census entered her marital status as widowed.
Meanwhile, back in Bandon, Oregon, where the hopeful story had started with that sweet postcard, a 1930 census entry revealed a Charles H. Randall living with his parents. Just as we had seen in the 1920 census, this Charles was born in Washington. His entry for marital status, though, was "divorced."
While Charles had apparently returned to live with his parents after breaking up with Hallie, she also was likely living in a town with her own parents. According to her marriage record—well, at least a transcript of the record—Hallie had married Charles Randall in the very city where she now was taking in boarders: Elko, Nevada. Her parents, Charles and Viola Kleckner, were living nearby in Elko County.
At the time Charles and Hallie had returned to Elko in the early 1920s, the place was a city of barely two thousand people, but by the time of the next census, the population had grown over one thousand more. This is not surprising, given the fact that the city's main economic support came from the gold mining industry—an economic source notorious for its unpredictable ups and downs. Perhaps it was the boom years that had originally attracted Charles Randall to move there from San Francisco. Perhaps it was owing to that same reason that he was no longer there in 1930.
No matter what happened to Charles Randall, his firstborn daughter, baby Fay, remained in Elko, where she attended the city schools through high school. Thanks to the school yearbook for 1939, we can find Fayetta Mae Randall's photograph, as well as mention of some of her school activities.
That was in 1939. By 1940, Fay was nowhere to be found in Nevada. Instead, she was back in northern California. How she decided to move there, I'm not sure—but I suspect what brought her there might have had something to do with a visit to her aunt. What convinced her to stay there, however, is more likely owing to a special someone she met while she was there visiting.
Above: Photograph of Fayetta Mae Randall from her 1939 Elko High School yearbook; courtesy Ancestry.com.