Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Here's the story, of a lovely lady......

In order to be "fair", I will share another story about a different ancestor. This time the story will be about my great grandmother Alma Guinee. I have no recollection of Great Grandmother Alma, she died when I was about eight years old. However, my grandmother Lucy shared the following story with my family when we asked questions about her. Here's how I remember the story....
Sometime after the turn of the 20th century, most likely between 1900-1906, Alma joined a circus, or a vaudeville show, or even perhaps Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show! (This story is very sketchy). She was only a teenager at the time. She may have traveled around the Midwest area with whatever show she was involved with. My grandmother Lucy told me Alma used the stage name of "Beatrice Arnold", which other relatives have also indicated to be true. In fact, people referred to her as "Bea". The story goes on to say that she performed song/dance routines and may have ridden a horse in whatever show she was in. According to my grandmother Lucy, Alma was actually a very good bareback rider. Apparently Alma very much enjoyed working as a performer and may have even had her picture on the cover of a playbill! (In the late 1930's or early 1940's, one of my cousins recalls her performing a song/dance routine for him to the song of "Shuffle off to Buffalo")
That's it. That's all I have of the story passed down to me. What parts are fact and fiction I do not know. How exciting as a child to think you might actually be related to someone in the circus or who may have really known Buffalo Bill! There are rumors that one of my cousins may actually have a copy of that playbill that Alma was privileged to be on the cover. I have yet to discover who may have it. As time goes by, my chances of getting a copy of that "playbill" may get smaller and smaller. My hope doesn't die though and my itch to find out more continues to grow.
I have been in contact with the Circus Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, unfortunately they have no record of a "Beatrice Arnold" working for the circus. Recently I have written to the Buffalo Bill Historical Society in the hope that perhaps they have copies of the shows' playbills. I do not have any personal pictures of Alma and I together. The few pictures I have however, do show a very lovely lady!

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The Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Genealogy Pox, author unknown


SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expressions, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses.
Has a compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from spouse. Mumbles to self. Has strange, faraway look in eyes.


TREATMENT: Medication is useless. This disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he/she can be alone.

REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is that the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!