How I would love to be able to talk with you! Recently, on a trip across country, we stopped in Tallahassee, Florida to meet your niece Shirley Long Collins and her daughter Allen Collins Heitz. As one does when meeting people one doesn't know, we picked a restaurant, exchanged make and model information on our cars and set out. Ed and I arrived at the restaurant first, he secured us a table and I set out for the parking lot to try to identify my relatives. Three likely candidates approached but as I started to ask about their identities, they said, "Oh, you are an Allen. We would have recognized you any where."
You always encouraged me to make time to stop and see Allen relations as we were driving across country. Mostly, I was too shy to approach people I did not know albeit relatives. I'm largely over my shyness now and make an effort to meet relations whenever I can. You said that the Allen's were lovely people and you were right. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and they brought wonderful photographs for me to see.
This is one of the great photographs that Shirley shared with me.
|Hazel Bynon Allen|
cropped copy of photograph in possession of niece Shirley Long Collins
used with permission
|1900 Census showing Hazel Allen in the home of her father|
Chester B Allen with mother Ida M and brother Chester D.
Enumerated 28 June 1900 by William J. Han?, Knoxville, Ward 11, Tennessee.
Image from www.ancestry.com
One of the other remarkable parts of this photograph is that it shows you before you lost your eye. I know you were self-conscious of your prosthetic eye. It never made any difference to us and it was years before we realized that you had lost an eye. In fact, I have to look at photographs to remember which eye it was. Shirley remembered how traumatized her mother had been that she had been responsible for your loss. Her daughter Allen, though she never met her grandmother Martha, remembered that they were always cautioned about the danger when using scissors.
It is so much fun to see you as a child, I'm going to have a framed enlargement made of this photograph! I promise to look up relations whenever I have the chance, especially Allens.
P.S. I think I also recognize the cheeks.