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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Grumpy and the Pistol

The first time I saw this picture I was about 11 years old when my cousin Ed and I were at our grandparents house in Wichita (Planeview) KS.  We were both fascinated that this was our grandfather, Grumpy (Granville Wilkins) as a young man and he was holding a gun pointed at someone.  We could see faint handwriting on the image "daddy" which was no doubt written by one of his four daughters which could have been Ed's mother, June or my mother, Jane.

Grumpy was 71 in the summer of 1959.  Ed and I were his fourth and fifth grandchildren so he had plenty of grandfathering experience by that time and had probably configured several stories to be told to his grandkids.  My memory of Grumpy is a man of few words who only spoke when he was spoken to.  Ed and I began to ask about his childhood and the picture raised all sorts of questions.  Where were you?  Is that a real gun?  Who are you pointing at?  His response, Texas, yes and silence.
Our grandmother, Bomba (Ora Roddy Wilkins) died the summer of 1960.  Grumpy lived another 11 years.  Somehow the picture came my way sometime after his death in 1971.

Since his death as my interest in Wilkins genealogy grew I have shared the picture with other family members asking those same questions Ed and I asked in 1959.  No one had any more information about the image other than confirming that it was indeed Grumpy holding the gun.  It remained a mystery why the original is torn, what is missing?

In 2011 after my genealogical research led me to distant cousin, Joe Wilkins the picture took on new meaning.  Joe is the grandson of Ellis Wilkins, Grumpy's older brother.  Joe is in possession of all of Aunt Addie Wilkins Schroeder's family photo collection which he shared with me.  Addie was the younger sister to Ellis, Jim, and Granville (Grumpy).  To my surprise her collection had an intact original of the pistol photo.  Unfortunately, Joe had no more information about the image than I had.

So....the complete image shows a bit more detail.  The photo was done in a studio.  A backdrop and reflector can be seen.  The mystery remains as to who the person on the right may be.  Could it be his brother Jim?  Jim's life is somewhat of a mystery which I will explore in a future post.