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Opaline Esther Doyle Spink

A photo of my grandmother when she was young. If I did not know this was my grandmother, I would think it was my aunt. My aunt Jo looks so much like her mother. I am amazed. I have heard a commercial that our ancestors are a reflection of us. This photograph really could be a mirror reflection of my aunt.

Opaline was born in 1904 on May 31st. Her mother was Amber Alice Cook, and her father was Joseph Doyle. She was an only child. Joseph left the house, and Amber Alice Cook remarried. By the time Opaline was 16 she is listed as married, but living in the same home with her mother and step father Mr. Harrington. Opaline at the time worked in a candy factory. I could not find the name of the candy factory where she worked, but it could not have been far from downtown Indianapolis since she lived in Haughville. Since it was in the 1920’s I am guessing she may have walked to work. Horses were still in service for milkmen to deliver milk to the customers that ordered it. I doubt that the they had a car in the 1920’s.



Opaline would go on to marry three times. She had 14 children. Many of us grandchildren would often speculate over the number. Why so many children? My conclussion was she was lonely. Since she was an only child, and her father left when she was young maybe she felt abandoned. Having a full house helped her feel needed.

In 1930 she has two daughters, and is married to Otto Watson. Otto worked as a laborer. By 1940 she has four daughters, and is a widower. She is renting a home at 518 N. Miley.

By 1945 Opaline is married to Russell Spink, and they will have Mary Jo, Jim, Henry, Henrietta, and Frank. I am not sure what happened to 5 of the children. Maybe it was that she counted every pregnancy.

I know all the Watson girls went to live with another relative. I am sure this was really hard on the the youngest girls. I am not judging, people have their own reasons for doing what they do. People also have different expectations when entering a relationship. Opaline had no career of her own, it was the 1940’s. As much as this may have been seen as a clean slate, it must have caused some animosity, and hindered relationships between the Spink and Watson children. Just as Opaline felt abandoned, some of her girls would have the same feelings.

It is never easy being a mom! No mater what day and age we live in we have to make hard choices that we have to live with for our lives. As we talk to our parents and grandparents we have to remember that the choices they made were more than likely very hard ones. We have no idea how many tears they hid from us to make our lives a little easier.


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