Gertrude Scott Askew, my great grandmother, was a hard-working, unpretentious woman who was pressed into assuming adult responsibilities before her time, due to the premature death of her mother a few months before Gert’s thirteenth birthday.
Gert’s appearance has always been a little puzzling to me. Until this week, I hadn’t seen any photos of Gert before 1941, and in every photo I had seen of her (all dated 1941–1980), she appeared remarkably similar. Here’s a woman who took what life gave her, without complaint, and her portraits over the years hint at the silent toll that her selflessness took on her.
Gertie was the oldest of the children—all daughters—of Frank Scott and his wife Margret “Maggie” McAllister. Her sister Maggie Scott was 2 years younger than Gert, Cassie was 7 years younger than Gert, and Eva was 10 years younger than Gert.
I feel like I can see the heavy burdens she carries written all over her face.
The above photo is of Gert immediately after she and Clyde moved to Oakland from Minnesota in 1941.
My first estimate was that the above photo showed Gert in her late 30s or early 40s. Then I realized that Gert is wearing the same dress that she’s wearing in the photo that’s dated to 1945 (below). I think her youthful appearance in this shot is simply a case of old-school photo[graph]shopping, as also indicated by the fact that this photo has been carefully hand-colored.
There’s that green paisley dress again.
The baby she is holding was born in late July, 1946, so the photo above must date from late 1946 or early 1947.
Gert at her and Clyde’s 50th wedding anniversary in San Leandro, CA, on May 1, 1966.
The photo above shows Gert on her 80th birthday. This is how I remember my great grandmother, with her frock and her cat-eye glasses. Never complaining, always quietly happy.
Gert sporting her first-ever pants suit at her daughter Harriet’s house in North Hollywood, CA, January, 1978.