These days you can find information on just about anything that piques your curiosity. Not all of that knowledge, however, is welcome.
I’ve had few occasions outside of Christmas correspondence to touch base with my Bailey relatives for decades. Being the youngest of the cousins on my dad’s side, I’ve gotten word of the passing of several of them. The exchange of Christmas cards, however, was a reassurance that some were still with us.
Three Bailey cousins remained, including the oldest, Alva Berl Bailey, oldest son of my Uncle Jake (given name Oliver). Alva lived in Portland, Oregon. A few years ago Alva’s Christmas communiqué told of the loss of his wife, Nora, and the loneliness he was experiencing. I hadn’t heard from him for a couple of years, and if I recall correctly, the last card we sent him was returned.
Seeking further information, I tried Googling the Portland newspaper’s obituary file. His name was not listed. Last month I tried again. While no obituary was found, a Google search uncovered a link to Oregon vital statistics. His name was there. He died Aug. 21, 2012, at age 87.
Besides me, that leaves two Bailey cousins: Beverly Bailey Kurtz, who lives in Cody, Wyo., and James Ernest Bailey, who travels a lot but is based in Nisswa, Minn. We hear from them regularly at Christmas, and I also located an online blog about Beverly and her life in Wyoming.
My dad’s family was big on nicknames. Oliver had the same first name as his dad, so he was always called Jake. He had three brothers who grew to manhood: Clyde, Dad (Ernest Oren Bailey) and James Henry Bailey, called Jim all his life. Dad had a twin brother, Jesse, who died soon after birth, and a brother William Norton, known by his middle name, who died at 14. They also had a sister, Louella Marie, called Lula, who died at 9.