A Short Life Long Ago


This is a picture of my Uncle Gene’s son who was born in 1919.  His name was Eugene Jr. and he was the only child of Mama’s older brother Gene and his wife, Blanche.  They had married very young, I think as teenagers.  And the next year they had their baby boy.  I assume Blanche loved the baby but apparently she had no idea how to take care of him, so when he got sick, and Uncle Gene was out of town working, she didn’t do anything about it.

The story goes that Blanche had the baby out in a stroller when she saw a friend on the street who stopped to admire him.  When the older, wiser friend looked at the baby closely she told Lilly to take him home immediately and call the doctor.  Blanche did and the doctor came.  But it was too late.  Eugene Jr. died the next day of pneumonia.  He was nine months old.

Uncle Gene divorced Blanche soon after that.  He could not forgive her for their baby’s death.  Uncle Gene eventually married again, but he never had any more children.  I don’t know what happened to Blanche.

I remember this picture hanging in my grandparent’s home, but after they were gone, it was just stored … no one really wanted it. Uncle Gene had died by that time too, so there really wasn’t anyone else who would feel a connection to the baby in the picture.

But, at some point, my oldest sister saw it stored somewhere and said she wanted it.  And she now has it hanging on a wall in her home with other old family pictures.

Eugene, Jr. had a short life, with a sad ending.  But, I’m glad my sister has given this picture of him a “home” so that he isn’t totally forgotten.

9 Responses to A Short Life Long Ago

  1. Chourou says:

    So Eugene Jr. is still alive in people’s heart.
    A Good story, Thanks for sharing, Sandy.

    Actually I’ve been too busy lately to enjoying blogging, but I’ve got refreshed up as reading your posting!

  2. Hilary says:

    I see that your sister has a beautiful heart like yours. How lovely to know that someone has cared to keep his memory alive in this way. And by writing about it. You two are gems. 🙂

  3. smallhouse says:

    Oh,my heart goes out to poor Lilly. I’m sure she was a very young mom. He was sure a cute baby. Thanks for sharing this story. Always fun to come and read.
    Have a good day.

  4. Sandra says:

    Chourou — It’s nice to hear from you. “Life” does sometimes get in the way of blogging, doesn’t it! 🙂

    Hilary — When I saw this picture on the wall at her house, it brought tears to my eyes. I’m glad his picture has a “home.” Thank you, as usual, for seeing me in the best light. I think that may say more about you than me; you are such an encourager.

    smallhouse — I thought about Lilly as I was writing this post. I wonder what became of her. I HOPE she went on to have a happy life, but this must have been just devastating for her. Thanks for commenting!

  5. chris H says:

    You know, that is so sad… for the young Mum and her baby… and of course the Dad.

  6. Sandra says:

    Chris — Yes, it is a sad story, and it always comes to mind when I see the picture of that sweet baby. Sad for all concerned.

  7. Beth says:

    That story makes me cry. It’s stories like that, that make me glad I believe in heaven. At least her life wasn’t a “waste.”

    So tragic, not just for the baby, but for the parents.

    I’m so glad the picture has a home!

  8. Beth says:

    Sorry about the gender change in my comment above–“her” should be he”!

  9. Sandra says:

    Not a surprising slip, Beth, since they dressed all babies in dresses back then!

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