Monday, May 1, 2017

Finding a Plausible Explanation

It's been four months since I began that research journey to uncover the story behind a discarded photograph album found in a local antique store. Since then, we've learned that the couple who assembled the album as a Christmas gift, back in 1936, was Harry and Alice Reid from County Cork, Ireland. We've even become acquainted with their granddaughter, Heather, who has since graciously shared additional family photographs with us.

There was one more question I wanted to see answered, though: just how did a Christmas album from Ireland make its way to a small town in northern California? Was there a descendant here who moved five thousand miles from beautiful, green Ireland to make his home in the parched hills of northern California?

Heather had a suggestion. There was a family member, a brother of her grandfather Harry Reid, who had emigrated from their home in Ireland. Only problem: he moved to Canada. Granted, he since removed from his home in Ontario to live in Buffalo, New York. But that still is a long way from northern California.

Nevertheless, I had to check that out. I've been emailing with a descendant of that branch of the Reid family, thanks to the introduction kindly provided by Heather. Once again, I've been blessed with further details on the family, including more wonderful family photos. This past weekend, I was finally able to call and talk to this Reid family member and compare notes on just how that photo album could have completed the trip from a home in Buffalo to some place in California.

So, once again, I have the privilege of introducing another member of the Reid family—this time, a cousin of the young girls, Ruby and Iris, whom we met in the very first pages of the photo album. Her name is Rita, and she, like the album we're attempting to trace, lives a long way from the Ontario town where her parents once lived in Canada. And far from the address in Buffalo, New York, where she, herself, spent her childhood years.

Like many families in the twentieth century, Rita's was one which, over the decades, changed residences several times, including a cross-country move to California. Unfortunately, that move to California was to southern California. If you are not familiar with that state, let me assure you, it is a long drive just to traverse the territory between, say, Los Angeles and San Francisco—let alone travel the full distance from the state's southern to northern border.

To make matters seem even less credible, I was talking to Rita this weekend at her home in Oklahoma. Not California. Oklahoma.

Did that photo album make an unexpected detour in the process of this family's North American journey?

To examine Rita's theory of how the album ended up in California, we'll first need to take yet another detour to learn the story of Harry Reid's brother Richard.


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