I love this picture, don’t they all look so happy? This was at the wedding of my cousin Dick (Albert Richard Jones) and his bride Carol Montgomery. It was taken on June 22, 1953. My mother was very pregnant with me so maybe she decided to stay out of the photo!
As with any picture, the stories of the people always interested me. On the left is my dad, not biological, but that is a whole different story you can read on this blog. Dexter Halldin, a sweeter guy you never could meet. Only problem was he was an alcoholic. He was able to hold on to a business, function successfully, and drink every darn day. He lived to be 79 and I always say it was because he was “pickled” and therefore his body could last (he passed in 1995).
Carol was such a beauty, even in her later years she had such a poise and grace. But she didn’t like our family. Not sure if it was because of the drinking, or because we were loud and kinda nuts but Dick and Carol dropped out of our lives for many years until I found them when they were in their 70’s, living only about an hour from where my husband and I lived at the time. Dick had been a pretty bad alcoholic himself until he quit in his 60’s and he was glad to be back with the family after I coaxed him into attending a family reunion. Carol was always gracious to me when I saw her but very standoffish….oh well, I liked her.
The lady next to her is her mother, Carol. I didn’t know her but I have inherited from Dick and Carol quite a few pictures and items from her mother’s life. She was an accountant, a very smart woman, but according to family lore, a very controlling and manipulative one.
Cousin Dick, now he was a sweetie. He shared with me so much during the few years we got to get to know each other. He lived in the shadow of his older brother who was killed in WWII , see my blog page Cousin Bill Their father, also Bill Jones, was so crestfallen when his son was killed I think he left a wound in Dick that never healed. Dick told me once that he and his brother weren’t close, and he seemed to feel so guilty. Dick and Carol would go on to have one son, they named him Bill. But no grandchildren. In fact their son Bill died in 2002, before they did. He had only one lung and something went wrong and he died in his sleep. He never married. Dick became a successful real estate salesman. Dick had been estranged from the entire Halldin family from after his dad died in 1967 until I found him in 1995 after my father died. Dick was glad I looked him up and he shared so much with me, including all his letters home from WWII, along with the letters from his brother. Dick started getting Alzheimer disease in the early 2000’s. Carol took care of him but she died in 2007. We had moved to Colorado in 2004 and hadn’t stayed in as good a touch as I should have so we only learned of Carol’s passing from a caregiver. Carol wanted to be sure Dick was taken care of and they picked a family friend who handled everything. Dick was able to stay home with a live in caregiver until about 2012 and then he had to go to assisted living. He passed in 2013. Whenever we came to California we would visit him and Carol, and him and his caregiver after Carol died. Even when he couldn’t remember who we were he was the sweetest guy ever. I think he really felt bad about not staying in touch with the Halldin family over the years and I am glad we could share a few years with him. I inherited all of his pictures from our family and Carol’s family – I love looking through them.
And then Aunt Vivian. What a lady! She wasn’t Dick’s mother. Dick’s mother was my dad Dexter’s sister Gertrude. She had died when Dick was 7 years old of pneumonia – those were the days before antibiotics. She was only 33 and my father was devastated, he was very close to his sister.. Vivian met Gertrude’s husband, my Uncle Bill, in 1945. She was living in a little apartment behind my grandparents house and Bill lived in another apartment. They hit it off right away and became a couple pretty quickly. His son Bill had already died in the war and Dick was coming home soon from the Navy. Vivian and Dick became so close that she legally adopted him so that he could be in charge of her affairs if anything happened to her. Vivian was married to Uncle Bill until his death in 1967. She didn’t remarry until about 1983 when she married a good friend of her and Uncle Bill’s, unfortunately he passed away shortly thereafter. She stayed in Southern California until the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and it scared her so badly she moved to Las Vegas, and she was 88 years old! Aunt Vivian lived to be 99 years old, passing in 2005. I visited with Vivian a few times in Las Vegas and she was always so chipper and sweet. She loved to gamble the nickel slots and we had a lot of laughs doing that!
So the happy faces of this picture may have held so much joy on that wedding day, but there was lots of heartache in the years to follow. A family separated that had been so close. No real reason why that I know of – but there are so many secrets in my family – maybe I just don’t know the real reason.