My grandmother was the oldest daughter in her family of nine, and the “baby girl” of the family was named Rose, named after her mother. In 1924, Rose was sixteen years old, pregnant, and unmarried.
Teen pregnancy has always existed, certainly, and is still considered to be less than ideal, but in 1924, it was beyond shocking. But there was no shotgun wedding, no rush to legitimize, none of that. I’ve only ever seen photos of my great-grandparents as they died decades before I was born, but I think it’s safe to say that telling them she was pregnant must have been the most terrifying moment of young Rose’s life. To their credit, my great-grandparents supported their child and grandchild, and Rose stayed with them as they helped raise her son, Joseph.
Joe grew to be a fine man, and before leaving to fight for his country in World War Two, he married his love. He was nineteen.
Joe’s wife was pregnant when he died in combat.
Great-Aunt Rose never married, but she helped Joe’s widow raise her grandson, Bobby Joe. I like to think she was one of the many bad ass women in my lineage.