I would like to introduce you to a very special lady….Her name was “Aunt Jesse”, I only knew her as that as I was just a child….Aunt Jessie was my maternal grandmother’s sister. There were three Reinhard sisters:
The baby in the middle is my grandmother Josephine ( born in 1891) , the child on the left is Mae Lillian “Mamie” and the oldest on the right is Jessie.
The family story is that Jesse got Scarlet Fever as a child and her fever went too high and she came out of it mentally “different”. She lived with her parents Charles and Amelia Reinhard her whole life, and when they both passed within 48 hours of each other she came to live at my grandparents house. She never got past about 10 years of age….so to me a 8 or 9 year old she seemed perfectly normal! She loved puzzles, she did hundreds of them and they were all in my grandparents attic. . My grandmother was rough on her sometimes or so it seemed to me as a youngster, and I would get cross at Grandma, I hated it when I thought she was being mean. Now as an adult I understand what a sacrifice my grandparents made in taking her in, and how it was like having a forever child.
In the few photos I have of Jesse as a child, she has a somewhat different look on her face, but she was never excluded from anything! That was not the normal for mentally challenged children in the early 1900’s and I applaud my great grandparents for not putting her away, like so many children were that were afflicted mentally in some form or another in that time era.
Above photo, L to R, Jessie, Mamie and Josephine.
This wonderful photo is at a Halloween Party, Jessie is the beautiful women in the white right in the middle, The woman sitting down on the far right is my grandmother.
Jessie is in the far right.
The photo that means the most to me is this one……
This is how I remember my sweet Aunt Jessie….always with one of those very worn, very soft aprons on and that sweet smile…..
Jessie outlived both of my grandparents and ended up in a nursing home in Eau Claire, she lived to the ripe old age of 82. Having very little of life’s stresses, Jessie was able to outlive all of her family. I don’t know if that was a good thing or not, but it was how it happened. As long as Jessie had her coloring books, crayons and puzzles her world was good…. I miss her a great deal some days…..