Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Jack is a friend of mine. He is 24 years old and is originally from Twin Falls, Idaho. He moved to Logan in 2016 to attend Utah State University and studies Electrical Engineering. His family is “incredibly large,” his mother being the second youngest of eight and his father, the youngest of seven. He has over 90 cousins in total of which he is the second youngest. He has an older sister and a younger brother
I had heard this story before in passing and when I approached Jack about recording it from him, he was happy to help. Unfortunately, we were unable to schedule a meeting in person, so he decided to email it to me. This is “copy and pasted” from that email.
“So my great grandfather (on my dad's side) had gotten married to my great grandmother, Joe, as people called her. They had a nice family had some kids and the like until Joe died of some disease. I think it was tuberculous or something like that. Anyway so my great grandfather remarried fairly quickly after Joe had died. I don't know why but the lady he married had something against Joe and pretty much buried anything that had to do with her. Pictures, memorabilia, etc. And since all of Joe's kids where around adulthood, the new wife pretty much minimized contact with them even as far as I understand anyway. Fast forward a bunch of years and my great grandfather, and the new lady had some kids, grew old and died.
I was like four or five when this happened so this was a story my parents told me. I do remember the big blue house but that was about it. Honestly the house has probably been condemned or changed by now but that house was apparently their house since Joe and married my great grandfather and he had just never moved. Anyway the new lady had apparently the new lady had passed that animosity about Joe onto her kids as the new lady's kids did not like anything or anyone that had to do with Joe. None of us really know why. (Either that or no one will tell me). As far as I understand my father had asked them only to get rebuffed with a "You know why!?" kind of answer.
Anyway this posed a problem because my great-grandfather had left in his will that all of Joe's stuff went to her side of the family (meaning her kids and her kids dependents) with a few of his things. Now my grandparents and all of their siblings where far away at the time. Mostly in Nebraska and Missouri. While the closest grandson was my father. There was a couple of my cousins who lived nearby as well (they were in their 20's or 30's,.... I am the second youngest of a very large extended family) but the responsibility to represent Joe's children fell to my dad. After a lot of disagreement they finally agreed to let my family have two hours to search the house for any of Joe's stuff. The problem was in addition to only being two hours that only one person was allowed to search and that it couldn't be my dad. I don't remember the reasons why but they had basically backed my dad into a corner to agree and none of my cousins could make it during the time window or they just would have no idea what to look for. So my mom, who's only connection to this was my dad, volunteered.
To understand my mom, she is a tough lady, who won't take crap. She is as my father calls her a "True Idaho'n farm girl" and she will work harder and longer than a horse to get something done. In the two hours my mom searched the house and she says that she was prompted to look in an old part of the house. Now the house used to be an old coal storage house before my grandfather had bought it and my mom found an old coal storage closet, in a crawlspace like area. In that spot was a couple of boxes that contained old china, silk, and photos that hadn't been seen by the family since Joe had passed away.
One of them was a photo of Joe with her family, before she got married. It was one of those old family photos where everyone sits still for hours so no one really looks happy. However Joe is easy to pick out because she is the only one that IS smiling in the photo.
Anyway they got the stuff in time and left. Over the next couple of weeks my mother would wake up in the middle of the night thinking about Joe. Multiple times a night and it would constantly come up throughout the days. So my mom scanned in the photos, got the one I mentioned enlarged and framed. When she hung it up in our home, she declared that "There you go Joe. You can quit bugging me now." My dad says that Joe didn't want to be forgotten and to this day the photo is still framed and hanging in our home.”
Jack was told the story in his youth and related it to me easily and was very willing to participate and emailed this story to me within 6 hours of our original correspondence. The way he types reflects his speech patterns as well as his familiarity with the legend.
Dr. Lynne S. McNeill
Semester and year
Place, Hillary, "Mom and The Photo" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 370.