I think it is always a cool thing when we look through old family pictures of people we never knew, or at least don’t remember, and suddenly find ourselves looking at a familiar face…one very similar to our own. Such was the case for my youngest sister, Allyn Spencer Hadlock, when she read my story a couple of days ago, about my great aunts, Mina, Bertha, and Elsa. For much of her life, Allyn had noticed similarities between her sisters and other family members, and in reality there are many strong family resemblances, but she just didn’t see one that she could say looked a lot like her. She just assumed that she was of the Heinz 57 variety…a mix of several or many other family members. All that changed when she read my story, and looked at the picture of our great aunt, Mina Schumacher Spare. The picture of Mina bore a remarkable resemblance to pictures of Allyn, and to certain looks she saw in her reflection in the mirror.
Something about Mina’s face simply reminded Allyn of herself. She mentioned it to me, and I set about looking at pictures of Allyn and Mina to see for myself. I think Allyn hit the nail on the head. While Allyn’s eyes are bigger than Mina’s, the rest of her face is quite similar to Mina’s. I always find it quite remarkable to be able to see ourselves in the face of one of our ancestors. I am finding more and more that the Schumacher genes in my family tree are very strong genes. There are similarities that have jumped out at us through several of our family members and the Schumacher family, which is to say our grandma, Anna Schumacher Spencer and her parents and siblings. I love finding look alikes among the family members and ancestors. It gives people such a sense of belonging to see just where their characteristics came from.
For Allyn, who had always felt like simply a mix of the ancestors, seeing a picture of Mina that reminded her so much of herself, was a very cool feeling, and I can relate. I have come across different pictures of myself that remind me of Great Aunt Bertha Schumacher Hallgren, Aunt Ruth Spencer Wolfe, my daughter, Amy Royce, and my granddaughter Shai Royce. When you find that look alike, it seems to leap off the screen at you. It is just the coolest feeling, because even though you never had any doubt that you were a part of this family, you still wondered just exactly where you fit in. Then, when it has becomes so very clear, just exactly where you fit in, you start looking for other similarities you might have with that person, such as the fact that I laugh exactly like my Aunt Ruth…so much so, that every time I laugh, she comes to my mind. It is another connection I have to her, even though she passed away in 1992.
Unfortunately, Allyn and I don’t recall Great Aunt Mina or Great Aunt Bertha, so we are not aware of other similarities, although I have been told that I got my writing abilities from Great Aunt Bertha…a thought that I am honored to hear, because I consider her a great writer. Great Aunt Mina was a very capable woman, who got an education that was more than what many women received in those days, and that moved her into supervisory positions at her work. Allyn has that capability too, and in fact was just promoted to Clinic Billing Supervisor at Central Wyoming Neurology, where she has worked for some time now. She has shown that her abilities are just what they want in their office, and we are all very proud of her achievements. I’m sure her look alike, Great Aunt Mina Schumacher Spare would have been too. It is a testament to her belief if a good education, and never giving up just because you are a woman…something that we don’t have as big a problem with these days, but that Mina and her sisters, Bertha and Elsa dealt with for sure. Obviously, there is more about Allyn and Mina that is alike than just their pretty faces.
I love looking at old photographs of people and trying to decide who they look like. With some people that can be difficult, because they are a Heinz 57, of sorts…a little bit of both parents, with some aunts, uncles, and grandparents mixed in there. Other people are so obvious that you can tell who they belong to right away. Still others don’t necessarily look like a specific person, until a little later on in life.
Our grand niece, Jala falls into the “Wow!! She looks a lot like her grandma” catagory. I have always thought she reminded me of my sister-in-law, Debbie, but even more so, when I look back at pictures of Debbie when she was closer to Jala’s age. They have the same jaw line and smile…the same nose…the same ears, and even similar eyes. It always surprises me when someone looks so much like another person in the family, although I suppose it shouldn’t because everyone has those traits that are strong in their family. Nevertheless, when it happens it still surprises me.
Jala is my sister-in-law, Debbies first granddaughter, and I know they have more likes and dislikes in common that just their looks, though…like their love of quilts. Debbie likes to make them, and Jala collects them and other types of blankets. She must have a hundred of them, and uses every single one. In fact, I had heard that Debbie was planning to teach Jala how to make them herself. Just think of it. Then she could have 200 of them if she wanted, and her grandma wouldn’t have to make all of them. Ok, that was a joke, because I know that Debbie loves making quilts and other things for her grandchildren.
Today is Jala’s 11th birthday. You are growing up way too fast. Before we know it, you will be all grown up and married with kids of your own. Ok…let’s not rush things. Happy birthday Jala!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!