For a number of years I have wondered why my sisters all had a sweetheart chin and jawline, while mine was pretty square. It wasn’t something my sisters particularly noticed, and maybe my parents didn’t either, but I did. It just seemed so…square. I always thought it made my face look fat…especially if I was seated in the front in pictures. In reality, I suppose it isn’t so different from my sisters, and most people would never notice it unless I pointed it out, but we are usually our own worst critic, so I definitely notice that jawline.
I was talking to my sister, Cheryl Masterson about it the other day, and we began to wonder just where it came from. I decided to take a look at the pictures I have of ancestors on my Ancestry tree. It took a few minutes, but I came across a grandmother, Mary Ann Jeffries, who married James Fishburn. Grandma Fishburn seems to have the same jaw line that I do. I don’t think I really look like her in most ways, but that jawline is pretty distinct. My sister had to agree too. We know very little about Grandma Fishburn, because she passed away back in 1913, long before I was born.
Mary Ann and her first husband, Andrew Lake were apparently divorced, because he died after her, but she went on to marry my 2nd great grandfather, James Fishburn in 1863. She and her first husband had a son, Christopher Daniel Lake in 1859, and with her second husband, she had Hanna in 1867, Almira in 1869, and Edna in 1871 (my great grandmother). James, my 2nd great grandfather, died in 1897. In about 1900, Mary Ann married John Parker, who died in 1914, about a year after she did. I don’t really know anything more but the woman with whom I share a jawline, but it seems to me that he was not a quitter. She didn’t let life’s disappointments destroy her life, but rather picked herself up by the bootstraps and moved forward. Maybe it was because she had children to care for or live for, or maybe she just understood that life isn’t always a bed of roses, and we must each play the hand we are dealt. With perseverance, and faith in God, we go forward, and live on. As for me, I finally know where that jawline came from.
It’s easy to see how much or how little a person has changed, when you know them well. When you watch someone grow up and see them every day, you see the changes as they grow, but, it is harder to picture an older person as a young person. Our memory of them is only after their features have aged. Then we find a picture of them as a child, and we can see the features that have stayed the same, and the ones that have changed. It can be very surprising to find that not so much has really changed.
When I came across these pictures of Bob’s great grandfather and these of my second cousin, Ted, I was amazed at the fact that I was able to tell that the younger versions were indeed them. It took me by surprise, especially with Ted, who I see just about every week. Yes, I know what he looks like now, but even though Ted is my second cousin, I was not aware of that fact until about 20 years ago, when our daughters were bowling together, so the thought of knowing what he looked like as a child never occurred to me. Then, as I was going through some of my mom’s old picture a few weeks ago, I came across this picture. It was so absolutely clear that this was my cousin Ted.
With Bob’s grandfather, I think it might be even more surprising, in that I never knew him well. In fact, I only met him on that one visit, about three months before he passed away. And yet, I could easily tell that this little boy was indeed Bob’s great grandfather. The jawline and the eyes, and even the way he held his head gave it away. I guess you never really change that much, even though we like to think we do through the years.
I often like to think about what these people might have been like as young children. That is how they would normally change the most. Of course, different times and different generations would have produced very different people, as children too. The times were very different when Bob’s grandfather was young, as compared to when my cousin Ted was young. Still, not so much has changed in the way children act and play, when they are little anyway. The main change I see, is the toys they play with. Computers would have been viewed as almost alien in Bob’s grandfather’s childhood, and we would laugh at their toys too, because much has changed in our world, but I don’t think people have really change all that much.