In all these latest newspaper clues about the Samuel W. Bean family of Alameda, California, there is something missing that troubles me.
Have you noticed?
When Sam and Maud traveled south to visit Maud’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. William C. Woodworth, the Covina Argus newspaper announced the arriving couple’s names—but no mention of their newborn son.
When the Argus provided the surprising announcement that Maud was returning from Texas to spend an extended visit at her parents’ home—most likely during her pregnancy that resulted in the birth of her twin boys—it indicated Maud’s return as if she were traveling alone.
Where was her now-four-year-old son, Sammie?
I would normally have presumed that the answer to such a question would have been, “With his mother.”
In this case, though, I’m beginning to wonder. Perhaps it wasn’t a case of a newspaper refusing to make any acknowledgment of the very existence of children. Perhaps Sam and Maud were traveling the country—as some later newspaper articles explained—making public presentations and selling Sam’s books. With the challenge of arranging both business details and travel itinerary for a blind and deaf poet, perhaps Maud was not up for also being full time supermom.
While I don’t know this for sure, I am guessing that maybe that near-unnoticed silence on young Sammie’s behalf was owing to the fact that Sammie might not have been with his father and mother.
Maybe Sammie was still at “home” in Alameda, at 1807 Santa Clara Avenue, with the woman who still lived at that address: his grandma.
Ella Shields Bean serving as surrogate mother? I think back, now, to the pictures I have of a very young Sammie—hanging out with Uncle Bob Grant while he fixed cars. Perhaps Ella’s daughter, Leona Grant, popped in often to help with her mother’s new responsibility as grandmother.
Missing those regular newspaper reports that kept me up on Sam Bean and the details of his life, I forgot that maybe someone else also might have gotten swallowed up in that silence: a little boy whose parents were busy covering the miles to earn the “living” that ended up keeping them away from home.
That might explain the other photo... Sammie Jr. with his aunt? He looks like he is enjoying his day with the cars!ReplyDelete
Well, Iggy, it might be an aunt, but it certainly wasn't Leona (Sam's sister and Ella's daughter). I'd like to see if I can pursue any clues about whether the other photo might have been with Maud's sister.Delete
I think there is a reasonably good chance this little boy and the little boy with the dark haired woman is one and the same.ReplyDelete
I thought so, too, Iggy...I only wish I could have gotten another picture with a closeup of the child's face. The younger child has such a distinct expression on his face.Delete
The one part that throws me off about the woman is that, despite looking a lot like Maud, she seems to be wearing pants...which I think would not have been in such vogue for women at the date at which Sammie would have been the age of the child in the other photo (still in the 1920s).
Oh, I remember the pictures of little Sammie Bean! Your guess makes a lot of sense. Caring for young children is difficult enough for the sighted. Perhaps at least there were long, long visits. You're right, I did wonder if Maude was traveling alone. I had the thought that perhaps she and Sam had separated. I hope that doesn't happen.ReplyDelete
Don't worry, Mariann, it was most likely travel on account of Maud's pregnancy. She probably just needed to be home with her mom. It does have me wondering, though, how her husband managed to cope--away from home on business--without her. I have my guesses, but haven't found anything to provide confirmation yet.Delete
Yes, It makes sense that he was with his Grandmother...how could they care for a toddler if they were travelling all over.ReplyDelete
You're right on that account, Far Side. I just wish I could find some actual report that would indicate that they were traveling, instead of just articles in which they say they've been traveling. Was the stay in Texas just one isolated instance? Or were there more? And what were they doing while traveling? I'm hoping there will be some more newspaper finds to help figure this out...Delete