Aunt Dot’s high school graduation

I was lucky enough to know my dear “Aunt Dot” well into my college years. Aunt Dot was Dorothy Mary Bailey (1896–1987), and she was my grandmother Dorothy Ruth (McMurry) Black’s aunt, so she was my great-great-aunt. She was an impressively graceful, charming, loving, and selfless woman. In fact, she also appears to have been a poised little girl as well. You can see for yourself—she’s the little girl in the center of my site’s banner photograph.

Dorothy and her husband Clarence had no children of their own, and treated my grandmother as the daughter they never had. I often felt that I was also the great-grandson they never had. In any case, when Dorothy died, she left everything she had to my grandmother. When my grandmother died, it all passed to my father, and with my father’s death two years ago, I inherited a lovingly cared-for set of photos, letters, documents, and other artifacts that I’ll be sharing with you over the coming years.

For today’s post, I’d like to share Dorothy Bailey’s high school graduation program. Dorothy graduated from William Winlock Miller high school 104 years ago today—May 28, 1914.

If you read the program closely, you’d see that Dorothy gave a “demonstration in shorthand and typing” at her commencement ceremony. You may have also noted that her name is spelled “Dorothea M. Bailey.” I’ve never seen that spelling before, and don’t know if that was the formal spelling of her name, or whether it was a simple typo.

Below are two photos of Dorothy from around this same time period. I believe the first is her high school portrait (so 1914), and the second is just a playful photo with her parents from 1915.

I love this picture of Dot with her sassy pose. She’s just a year out of high school, happily living at home with two loving parents. Over the next seven years, her life will radically change. The U.S. will enter World War I, and several people she knows, including her second cousin Clarence Bailey, will ship out for war in Europe. She and Clarence will write to each other often while he’s away, sparking (or flaming) a budding romance that will see them eventually marry in 1923. Finally, both of her parents will die—her mother in Tacoma, WA, in 1921 at the age of 62; and her father at her sister Lucinda’s house in Olympia on New Year’s Eve, 1923, at the age of 63. Her father wrote Dot a sweet letter three days after she and Clarence married, and just seven days before he died, that was the topic of a separate post that you can read here. But at the moment this photo was taken, and at her graduation just before then, none of that had yet happened and I like to think her life was still sweet and innocent and full of dreams for the future.

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