Back in the day families were generally large or I’d say huge by today’s standards. My Mom, Anne, was third in a family of 12 siblings. I’d call this MULTIPLES.
Between 1920 and 1935 Iva Mae Quist gave birth to this amazing line up of 7 girls and 5 boys. This picture looks like it was taken about 1939. I knew all of these Aunts and Uncles pretty well…some were more like siblings to me. In looking at my Family Tree on Ancestry I thought this would be a good challenge and learning process for me…to flesh out the info on this group.
Emma Lucille was the eldest, born in 1918, and the tallest. I remember her as being about 5’11”. Emma was very pretty and outgoing. She had a husky ballad singing voice and was known to show up at local venues to sing some of the popular songs of the day like I’ll Be Seeing You. I think Emma was a bit of a wild child. She married Charlie Huffhines in her mid twenties, divorced him, had some serious boyfriends, then joined the WACs (Women’s Army Corp) in 1945. She was stationed in Weisbaden Germany and was unfortunately killed in a Jeep accident in 1945.
Geraldine Mae came along next. She, like the first 5 girls, was born in Iowa. Gerry was another dark haired pretty girl. I think she worked as a maid when she was about 15 and she married George Nielsen in 1939 when she was 20. Gerry and George had a dairy farm on Route 21 just outside of Libertyville, Illinois. I loved to visit them when I was a young. They never had kids so they spoiled me and let me have the run of the farm. They were married for 15 years. George unfortunately died of a heart attack while out in the farm field. Gerry suffered from mental illness which as I remember it got worse after George died. Today she would have been treated with medication but back in the day she was a danger to herself and others. She was committed to a mental institution and, sadly, was never able to function out in the world.
My Mom, Anne Louise, growing up in the Depression Years, was out with her Dad selling fresh veggies to the neighbors, door to door, at the age of 10. Two years later she was farmed out to a wealthy family to be their nanny and maid. She never lived at home again! Can you imagine?
She went to school, worked for the family and turned over her earnings to her Dad. She managed to complete her junior year in high school and then she met my Dad, Jim. He “rescued” her from her life of service and they married when she was 18. Mom graduated from high school in her thirties after attending night school. She was a voracious reader and enjoyed lending books to friends and then discussing them. When she died at age 94 she was still doing the cryptogram puzzle in the paper and writing letters to the editor.
Helen Marie joined her three younger sisters in Iowa in 1922. She and my Mom were very close growing up and into their young married years. Tom was in the Navy when they first met around 1942.
Helen, along with a couple of her sisters, worked the blood plasma line at Abbott Laboratories during the war years. Helen and her husband Tom built a house “across the field” from my Mom and Dad and were a constant part of my young life. To me, my Aunt Helen was the dreamer, the nature girl. She probably would have been a flower child if she’d been a teen in the 60s. Tom and Helen moved to Arizona around 1955. They had two sons, Chris and Dan, who sadly passed away in their midlife. I cannot imagine the grief Helen must have felt. As adults, my Mom, Helen and the next sister, Alice would get together and talk until the wee hours of the morning. I always wondered what they could talk about for so long but then they’d grown up like 3 peas in a pod. They knew each other VERY well.
Alice Lavera, the fifth daughter, marched to a different drummer as I remember her. She spent a lot of time at our house as a young woman when she worked the plasma line at Abbott. I always admired that she and her sisters, Helen and Loretta had the most beautiful hair. They looked like movie stars. Alice was interested in flying so she got a pilot’s license. I think she flew a few times but then decided it was not for her. She married Art Parmalee, a handsome sailor and they had four children, some more first cousins for me! Alice moved to Arizona around 1953 where she often played guitar and sang country music at local venues. She had a husky voice and sang great harmony. I’ll bet she and Emma would have sounded great together.
I’ll bet there was a lot of cheering when Edwin William arrived. He was born in Illinois after the family moved the five girls to be closer to father Carl’s family. I remember Ed as a jokester. I was a bit afraid of him as a child. He served in the Navy for 2 years at the same time as his Dad who served as a ship’s repairman. Ed married Bertha Lou and was a hard working Dad of 6. He and brothers Don and Rick could get a little crazy. My future hubby was afraid they would kidnap me the night before our wedding so he whisked me away for coffee at midnight to keep me safe. Sadly, Ed died at a very young age.
I was probably closest to my aunt, Loretta Iva, when I was growing up. She visited my Mom a lot and was only 10 years older than me. She married Tom Amburgy and they built a house next to my favorite Snow Apple Tree, across the field from my house. I often went to visit Loretta after school and played with their baby Teresa. I remember being devastated when Loretta and Tom decided to move to California. I had just announced my engagement and was so sad that they would not be at my wedding. They did return to the Midwest in later years and Loretta lived with her daughter Terry when she passed away.
Carl, Jr. was fondly known as Red. Being close to my age when he was maybe15 and I was 5. He’s the one who took me out in the snow with a baseball bat to kill rabbits for dinner! And when he was stationed in Japan in the Army he had a painting of me done on a silk panel. So special. He married Jan Amburgy (sister of Tom) and they settled in California where Red became a barber. They had 2 boys and lived in the same house all their married life. Red passed away in 2011.
Donald Leroy had rheumatic fever as a child which was not treated so he was left with a severely damaged heart. To me he had a heart of gold. He spent time with me as a young kid playing in the fields with fake guns and Daniel Boone hats. He had not finished high school but decided it was important as an adult so he attended Waukegan night school and graduated the same year as I did. He married Shirley Holbrook in White Lake Wisconsin. When my Dad died in 1954 Don stepped in and tried to help my Mom as much as he could even though he had his own growing family of three girls. At that time there was no surgery that could correct his heart condition and he passed away in 1960.
Myrtle Jean, always known as Jean, recently celebrated her 89th birthday. She is, in 2021, the only living sibling. Jean married Oran Whitt in White Lake, WI. They had 4 boys…more cousins! Jean is the only sibling to complete college, becoming a highly regarded elementary school teacher in White Lake. She traveled to Sweden with her son and has enjoyed the hospitality of many of our Swedish relatives, opening the doors for visits back and forth. Jean is a woman of many interests and is a delight to visit with. Like her Dad, she has friendly chipmunks who come to visit in the afternoon for their peanut rations. Love you, Jean!
Lester Byron, born in 1934, as I recall was a very shy and quiet person so it is a mystery to me why he signed up for the Army to fight in Korea. He was only 17. He sent me a beautiful embroidered, quilted silk jacket from Korea. I wore it to high school and was the envy of all. Les was undoubtedly a victim of the war as I’m sure he suffered from PTSD. He married Patricia Boyd from White Lake, WI and had two daughters. Les worked as a heating and air conditioning tech. He loved to play cards and loved his girls and grandkids. Most of my memories of Les find him sitting in a chair, smoking. Les passed away in 2014.
Richard Alan was born in 1935; my uncle was like my brother! We had a lot of fun playing together – cards, tag and baseball where I stood too close to him and got hit in the head by the bat as he swung it. To me he was Rick. When I went off to college, he went off to the military but luckily went to Germany instead of Korea. He married Ceil Hoffman and they had two boys (my cousins!) who were just a bit older than my first babies. As young couples Jim and I often visited with Rick and Ceil – lots of Canasta games, cookouts and beer. Unfortunately, our lives seemed to go in different directions and we lost touch. Rick sadly died in 1988 after a long battle with leukemia.
It’s taken me several days but I have managed to add a couple of vital records and a picture to each of these Aunts and Uncles. I have added a few memories of my own which I hope are correct. It’s amazing to me that Grandpa Carl Quist and five of his children as well as several of the in-laws served in the military in WWII and Korea. To the best of my knowledge all the siblings, their spouses and their children were/are law abiding citizens who have provided for their children a better life than they had.
1 plus 1 equaled 12 children who then produced 28 cousins! Last time I counted those 28 had 46 offspring. I’d call that MULTIPLES.