My father’s “Aunt Duffy”, Helen Duff Forrest (1913 – 1992). Another Tom Forrest photo, beautifully scanned. As he points out, Helen is wearing the same dress that my grandmother Mildred Jean Thomas was wearing in the photo of her I posted here recently.
Here’s my father remembering her:
“Aunt Helen was always called “Duffy” by both friends and family. She went to work in Washington DC, I think, directly from high school. She worked all her life for the National Milk Producers Federation. She lived in a small apartment in the home of a family named Cramer. I’m not sure if this was in DC or one of its suburbs. She worked initially as a secretary and later as an office manager. She died somewhere in the DC area. She visited us at least one a year because she could take the train directly from Washington to St. Albans.”
Helen Duff Forrest
I rather like this photo of my grandmother and her sisters… especially the casual cigarette my grandmother is holding in her hand.
Betty, Mildred Jean, and Helen "Duffy" Forrest (front to back) about 1938 or 1940.
Tom Forrest sent me this photo of my grandmother, Mildred Jean Forrest (1915-2006). She always went by “Jean” and I didn’t know until I started doing family research that she had been named for her aunt Mildred Nason Cairns. My father said that she hated the nickname “Millie”, so she went by Jean.
As I’ve said before, I don’t have many memories of my father’s parents. They came down to Wisconsin to visit on a couple of occasions (once for my High School graduation) and my sister and I went up to Saint Albans, Vermont to spend a week or two with them during summer vacation on at least two occasions. They also came down for my father’s second wedding. I remember my grandmother as a somewhat strict but warm woman. She seemed tall (to me) with white hair. She used to make us “Fluffernutter” sandwiches if we were good (peanut butter and marshmallow fluff on white bread). She always seemed to be doing housework or cooking in the kitchen. She was always smiling and laughing at whatever we kids were doing. If you got hurt, she could handle it. I have memories of her and my grandfather watching baseball on the living-room TV while they sipped hard-liquor out of glasses on their TV trays. She always wore house-dresses and sort of orthopedic-style shoes.
I know she was a nurse for the county or state school system for many years and that’s how she met my grandfather. He owned a service station and she brought the car she was given to drive for her job in to his station to be maintained. He invited her to go horseback riding. The rest is history. She and my grandfather lived at 3 Calo Court in Saint Albans basically from sometime in the 40’s until the day they died. Despite being relatively healthy, my grandfather died only a few months after his wife did.
Here’s the photo. She looks to be about 16 years old to me.
I got an email tonight out of the blue from Tom Forrest. He lives in Danbury, Connecticut, and is the grandson of my grandmother Mildred Jean Forrest Thomas’s younger brother John Prescott Forrest (1923-2004). He sent me a short email saying he’d gotten a message from me on Ancestry.com. He asked how my dad was doing and whether or not I remembered my great-grandmother Lulu Cairns Forrest. I don’t. Although I visited Vermont (where my father’s family lived) when I was very young, I only remember visiting there twice. Once when I was about 11 and once when I was about 13. Although they were very memorable trips in many ways, I don’t recall meeting any of my father’s family apart from his parents, his brothers, and their kids. If I ever met Lulu or any of my grandmother’s sisters I don’t remember it.
Tom also enclosed some fantastic photos of the Forrest family and one of my dad’s family. I’m really looking forward to talking to him and getting additional pieces of information about the Forrests.
Fred Thomas III, Dave Thomas, Fred Thomas Jr., Mildred Jean Forrest Thomas, and Dick Thomas. My father and his family about 1959.