Kevin in North Carolina — one of our readers — has amazed the retroblogospher by solving the “Sister Mystery” within 24 hours. I asked him how he did it, and here is his story – which is now a part of Maureen and Noreene Everett’s story:
Hi, Pam, it’s nice to finally meet you firsthand.
I’m just thankful I could help find out who the sisters were. Like most of the other people who saw Maurine and Noreene’s pictures, their obvious love for each other and for life struck a chord in me, and the mystery of the whole collection and how the photographs ended up on eBay intrigued me. History, genealogy, and preservation are some of my passions, and it saddens me to see once valuable possessions being sold off or destroyed and losing their original meaning. Fortunately, Roz gave the photos a new meaning to be shared by so many who never even knew the sisters.
I wanted to know who the sisters were, so I checked out all of the comments about the sisters on your site, The Sister Project, and Flickr, and saw there were no updates, so I took on the challenge myself. I really didn’t know how much luck I would have, and I never thought in a million years that I would have found their yearbook photos online, but once I found them in the census records it all fell into place. There’s still a lot that’s left unanswered, but at least it’s a starting point. One detail I don’t think was mentioned was that the sisters were raised by their mother and stepfather, Ina Hay and Rucker Everett, but their birth names were Maurine and Noreene Howard, which was a nice coincidence. It really would be something if the twins and I were related, but I doubt it since Howard’s such a common surname.
[I also asked him how he came upon Retro Renovation…] As for how I came about your site, I hope to get my grandparents’ late 1920’s bungalow (nothing very fancy) and restore it, so I was on Flickr looking at vintage linoleum ads and trying to get a feel of the layout of rooms in the 1920s and 1930s. I saw your geranium comments which led to your Flickr site and groups and ultimately to your blog. I’ve been checking in since then to see your updates because I really like midcentury style (furniture, appliances, patterns, etc.) and historic preservation (I share a similar distaste for granite countertops and HGTV’s habit of “updating” any house they set foot into). I also just like to get inspiration for any future projects I may come across. You have a really all-around great blog.
I’ll try to wrap up with a little about me. I work with my parents and sister on our farm in North Carolina. We also have greenhouses and were planting geraniums for the spring today. I majored in Southern Studies in college, dabbled in archaeology, and interned with a historic preservation group before I came back to the farm. Right now I’m just trying to clear out my yard (it’s pretty overgrown) and get some gardens going. And like I said before, my big goal is to eventually restore my grandparents’ house as a model working farmstead. Also, I hope to one day (probably a year or so) start my own blog about the farm, restoration, life around here, etc. I know I’ll do one when I can start restoring the house, because preservation needs all the publicity it can get, and I’ll definitely send you a link when I get it going, if you’d like. I’m still trying to get my office/library/studio fixed up before I can start working on any projects like that.
I know that was way too much information, but maybe there’s something interesting in all of that. Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know, and I’ll keep it shorter next time.
Kevin, are you kidding, you are just amazing and I could read what you write all day long. Thank you, and don’t wait too long to start that blog.
- Readers, there’s also more at TheSisterProject.com, where the mystery was first published.
- And see all the original photos here, at writer-artist Roz Liebowitz’s flickr photostream.