I have learned that it can sometimes be a bit … unnerving … to snoop around in one’s family past. One never knows what information is just waiting to be discovered. One might find one’s self genetically linked to delightful African Canadian cousins and discover historical information about ancestors who were born into slavery. Or one might learn fun facts like that one’s own grandmother was several months pregnant when she married. One might come across intriguing hints about one’s father’s very young first marriage – stuff like that.

While I’m fascinated by the more distant past, I feel just a little detached from it. It is something else entirely to start poking around into the young lives of one’s own parents. It’s almost impossible to imagine “mom and dad” as young adults doing things like having crushes, participating in campus clubs, graduating from high school, choosing careers, getting friends to sign their yearbooks …. recently added American high school yearbooks (1900 – 1990) to their searchable database. (And that reminded me that I have in my possession several of Garth’s and Shirley’s high school and college yearbooks – I have never looked at them very closely, but I will now! What stories these yearbooks tell!)

Predictably, the new information offered on reveals some information about the Kansas folks, but very little on Mona. That’s quite possibly because the Gees/Shaws bounced back and forth between Canada and the U.S., changing professions and religions (and sometimes even races!) for a couple of generations. I have never had a very clear picture of where my mother actually grew up – but now I know this:

In 1938, my mother, Mona Gee, was a graduating senior at Detroit Central High School.


Mona's hs
Detroit Central High School


And she was BEAUTIFUL!

 last try


Mona was a member of the Ellen H. Richards Club which was organized to promote interest in home economics, promote fellowship and contribute to the school’s social atmosphere, all noble goals at which Mona certainly excelled!

Ellen Club

Much to my disappointment, and probably Mona’s as well, she was apparently absent on the day the yearbook photo was taken!

Ellen Club 2 


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