My Dad, James “Gene” Rier is standing in the center posing with his Lubec friends. He was about 16 yrs old. I am hoping that someone else will recognize the other boys in the photo!
Friends may come, and friends may go, the old friends and the new. But through the years I have come to know. That the best of them all is You. Patient, helpful, kind and strong. My teacher, pal and guide. I can’t go wrong while we trudge along. Life’s pathway side by side.
The back of the picture reads: “To Dad from Elsie. January 15, 1930. 75th Birthday Greetings.”
Elsie is my grandmother Harriet’s younger sister. Their Dad is my great grandfather William Gordon Means, born January 15, 1855. He died March 25th, 1930, little more than two months after his 75th birthday.
William Means is buried at the Court Street Cemetery in Machias, Maine. His home was at 24 Broadway, where I grew up.
This photograph of Mom was found in the old barn at 24 Broadway in Machias in the later years of my mother’s life. It was in an old trunk strapped up under the stairs to the second floor. I had never noticed it before. Mom said that Dad put the trunk there when they moved into the house in 1952 just before I was born, in an effort to store old things in a hurry. The forgotten trunk belonged to my grandmother Harriet and was filled with antique linens, her scrapbook, and old photographs. When the photo was discovered, I took it, along with other items from the trunk, for Mom to see.
“I haven’t seen this picture since I was young,” she said and smiled up at me from the chair where she sat most of the day, her mobility limited by severe arthritis.
“Wow! You’re so young and pretty, Mom,” I replied in excitement. I wanted to add that she still was but I knew that remark would irritate her. She hated getting old and no compliment could assuage her disdain for her reflection in the mirror. Wistfully, she fingered the linens I set in her lap and then looked through her mother’s scrap book which she did not remember. No wonder. It was 2007, seventy one years after that photo was taken.
Today, as I went through cartons of storage in need of one more round of organization, I found the photo in the original frame and another treasure: my mother’s writing.
Dad is on page 32 at the bottom of the page. Eugene Rier. Nickname: “Dan.” Favorite saying: “Jumping gracious.” A.A. 1,2,3,4; Latin Club 2,3,4; Freshman Reception Committee 2; Senior Supper Committee 4; Vice President 2,3; Dramatic Club 1,2; Junior Exhibition 3; Athletic Play 3; Class Will 4.
“Here is the prize fighter of the class and that’s not all: He is the life of the class, as well as a certain dark haired Dixie Bell. How about it Dan? May lady luck be with you in the future.
Another graduation photo of Dad in 1934.
As far as my grandmother was concerned Dad’s name was Eugene James Rier. When his birth certificate was registered, the names were written backwards, James Eugene, corrected with an arrow. When Dad entered the military, he was told the arrow didn’t count. He became James Eugene, but was called Gene throughout his life.