Posted by: marthabernie | February 8, 2015

Matilda Anna Laura McMenus Faulkner – 1918

002cThis is my great aunt, Matilda Anna Laura McMenus Falkner in 1918 at the time of her 50th birthday in August that year.  She had just divorced her husband (Lon Forkner/Falkner) and was living in Washington.  This was a very bold step for a woman to take in 1918, and while I don’t know the exact reason for the dissolution of the marriage after 32 years, my mother always thought it was because Aunt Annie’s husband drank a lot and wasn’t good at holding down a job.

Aunt Annie, as we all knew her, spent the next five years working in many jobs and moving around a lot.  She owned a restaurant, took a chiropractic course, worked as a nurse and a housekeeper, cooked at a logging camp, and in 1921 she worked at the State Training School in Chehalis, Washington.  The school was for orphan boys and those who were deemed “incorrigible” by the courts, and Aunt Annie cooked and taught “domestic sciences”.

After she divorced her husband, Aunt Annie wrote to one of her childhood sweethearts in Missouri who had recently become a widower.  I don’t have her letter to the childhood friend, but she must have been fairly direct in her desire to marry again because the reply from the widower, which I do have, is also very direct.  He states plainly that he could not possibly consider marrying “a divorced woman”.  This did not, however, deter Aunt Annie.  After living in Portland, Seattle, Spokane, and Chehalis, she moved to San Francisco where her youngest daughter and grand daughter had settled.  She took up nursing once again and in 1923 joined a “correspondence club” for single men and women where she met Walter Tweddell by letter and they were married in  November that year.  A real story there which I will relate another time.

In her photos, Aunt Annie always looks so regal and grand.  She was, however, a diminuitive little woman who was not even five feet tall in her older years.  This has always been one of my favorite photos of her.


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