Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Aunt Maggie

Mary Margaret "Maggie" Pemberton (1946-1969)
c. 1950-52

This is a photo of my Great-Aunt Maggie, the youngest sister of my maternal grandfather, John Peter Pemberton. Maggie was the youngest of the ten children of my great-grandparents, John Vital Pemberton and Mabel Ellen Crysler. My grandfather was the oldest. He was born in 1928, so he left home and joined the Army shortly after Maggie was born. This photo was probably taken on the sidewalk in front of their home on 729 12th Street or 1207 Gillett Street in Port Huron, Michigan. Maggie was mentally disabled. I'm not exactly sure what her disability was diagnosed as. I know that she died of continuous epileptic seizures at the young age of 23. The family story is that my great-grandmother found her dead in the bathroom one day.

Betty & Maggie Pemberton, c. 1965

This is a photo of Maggie with her older sister, Betty. Betty is the second youngest of the ten children. From this photo, I thought maybe Maggie had down syndrome characteristics, but I'm not too sure. I just know that back in Aunt Maggie's day, people with disabilities did not have the rights that they have now. And even today, they still struggle for equal rights. My mom has said that even she and her siblings used to taunt and tease Aunt Maggie when they were young because they did not know any better. I really hope they got in trouble for that! As far as I know, my great-grandmother never institutionalized Maggie. She always took care of her until her death.

Tombstone of Mary Margaret Pemberton
Kinney Cemetery
Clyde Township
St. Clair County, Michigan

What is interesting is that my great-grandmother lost another child, Evelyn Marie Pemberton, to epileptic seizures and edema of the lungs in 1948. Evelyn was born in 1936 and died at the age of 11. Sadly, I don't think I have any pics of Evelyn. I wonder if my great-uncle Bill does.

Tombstone of Evelyn Marie Pemberton
Elk Township Cemetery
Peck, Sanilac County, Michigan

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