Arlene 1It has been awhile since I’ve posted anything. I am still working on my novel, which I have re titled the never ending story.  Little humor there.  I have also been lately thinking of a fictionalized version of my grandmother Arlene’s life story.  It is a sad tale.  In the spirit of this thought, I decided to recycle this post.  

This is my grandmother, Arlene Lorraine Urquhart. She was born in Middlesex, Mass in 1919. Her parents were Nellie Mae Ward and Hebert Urquhart both of Nova Scotia, who immigrated to Mass in about 1900 and married in 1903.

Sometime in 1938, Arlene became involved with a man and became pregnant. Rumor has it that this man was a priest or seminarian. Anyway, in April of 1939, my mother Jackie was born. (see previous post).

Arlene went to Tampa, Florida sometime before of after Jackie’s birth. In 1940 she married Vincent Usher and had another child, Juanita. This marriage only lasted  a couple of years. Vincent had adopted Jackie, but Arlene left anyway in 1942, leaving Jackie and Juanita with Vincent. She would see them from time to time. I have this information from Juanita, but I believe it was sporadic, where Juanita was concerned and possibly Jackie went to live with her at times during her next marriage to Omer Blackshire.

Juanita told me that she lived with Vincent, her father always and never with Arlene. Jackie told me she lived with her mother sometimes.

In 1943. Arlene married Omer and had eight more children.Arlene with Omer Blackshire

I have contact with two of my aunts from this marriage, Jan and Laura. I have received quite a bit of information from them. But it seems at some point, they were surrendered or taken by DFS, Department of Family Services and went to group homes. I was told that they were not kept together but reunited later as adults.

Blackshire family with Jackie

This is Omer and Arlene. Jackie is the child sitting at the far right and Jan is the child between Omer and Arlene. When Jan sent me this picture, she said it was one of only a few she had.

Two more children were born after this picture was taken. Not long after that, Omer and Arlene divorced, the children went to the group homes and Jackie who was older by then, was on her own and got married to my father. She was 17.

I don’t know much about why Arlene was, well, the way she was. I can speculate that it had something to do with having parents who were much older when she was born, maybe. There was also a brother who died at the age of 9. I don’t know what of. I have not been able to find the death certificate yet. I have also heard that Arlene may have had a drinking problem as an adult. I do know that her mother, Nellie had emotional issues.

Unfortunately, none of her living children, of which 6 remain, know very much about her. She didn’t stay around very long.

She may have had a later marriage to a man in Georgia in 1957, which only lasted a year as she died in 1958 at the age of 39 of Ovarian Cancer. Jackie, my mother, said she got to see me one time before she died. I don’t know if this is true or not.

I do know that Arlene seemed to lead a very sad life. She was always on the move and leaving children behind. I make no judgments, but I just could not imagine leaving my child behind. My baby is almost 21 and lives 2 houses down from us, for now, at least. Still, my mother gave up me and my sister and brothers. Our father, Harry, I don’t think was capable of caring for us, as he had  drinking problems of his own. That’s a story for another time.

Still, we ended up o.k. Our lives are a testament to the fact that you can break the cycles of your past.

Hello. I am the author of the Historical Fiction novel called Mamie Garrison. It is a tale of slavery, abolition, romance and history, set in the years just prior to the Civil War. It is available on Kindle for .99 and also in paperback. Mamie Garrison has a dual storyline. The present day story involves Bella and Andrew finding Mamie's journals. Their story includes romance and paranormal aspects. Mamie's story follows her adventures as an abolitionist through her journals. There are some mysteries as well as an unusual background in Mamie's life. I have completed book two in my series. Colin Garrison, Book 2 of The Garrisons is available at Please see my Colin Garrison page under the menu option for a small sample of this new book. The third and final book in the series, Emily Garrison is now available. Please see above for link. I am 62 with one adult child and one grandchild. I have always enjoyed the written word and have been a voracious reader from my early youth. I am inspired by many authors in the historical fiction genre. I am also a lover of Russian literature, particularly Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. I find great inspiration for creating characters by looking at the ones these two authors have created. There is such a depth to them. I have written for most of my life in one form or another. I have dabbled in poetry and songwriting, and have more started novels than finished ones. In my free time, I like reading, history and travel. I am interested in genealogy and working on my family tree. I live in St Louis.

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