Naughty – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

I have to admit that this is a retread blog post.  But, it’s for a good reason.  This picture is, at least to me, a great one for our theme of “Naughty”.  I’ve focused thus far on my family.  This week, we’re going to take a side track into my wife’s family.

Alma Ross Boyle at the bowling alley

Kathleen’s grandmother, Alma Ross Boyle was quite the character.  I never knew her really well since she died not too long after we married, but I always enjoyed being around her.  Alma was born Alma Beatrice Ross in 1905 in Brockton, Mass.  She had two older sisters, Edna and Rotha.  I get the impression that the three of them were all full of spunk. 

One thing I remember about Alma is that she loved to bowl.  She would drive to the bowling alley and play candlepins every week.  After she could no longer drive, she tried to walk to the bowling alley for a few weeks before the folks in her apartment building made her use the shuttle.  Alma died in 2001 at 96 years old, after fainting at the bowling alley.  Of course.

But, what I really laugh at is the picture of Alma, Edna, Rotha, and all of their friends in their bloomers and underclothes and “unmentionables” out behind the school.  What in the world are they up to!  This would have been maybe 1920.  The era of the flapper and all, I guess.  I have never figured it out.  And who took the picture?  Did their parents find out about it?  What did they think?  I am sure that we will never know.  Alma, Rotha, and Edna are all gone and I am pretty sure that they never told their kids about that afternoon behind the school house.  Shame.

Someone once told me that girls at that point might take phys ed in their underwear.  Seems kind of sketchy and unlikely to me.  These girls are all mugging for the camera and making faces like they are up to something.

The Ross Sisters and their classmates

I believe the three sisters are all just to the right of the window.  Rotha is kneeling in the front row with the headband.  Edna is immediately behind her, to the left a bit.  And Alma is behind her.  Standing next to Alma, with her camisole strap off her shoulder, wearing boots, with her knee up, is a good friend, Barbara,  who appears in many pictures with Alma.  She and her husband and Alma and her husband, Joseph Francis Boyle, remained good friends, went to the beach together, and traveled together.   My father-in-law remembered her name as Barbara Mossier, but I am not certain if that spelling is correct or if that’s her married or maiden name.  I am not able to find her in the 1920 Census in Whitman, Massachusetts, where Alma lived.  If they were in school together, I would have expected to find her.  So, mystery.

The Ross Sisters – Edna, Rotha, and Alma

All three of the Ross sisters were long-lived.  Edna, the oldest, was born in 1902 and died in 2003 at the age of 101.  Rotha, born in 1903, moved to New York City, where she lived until nearly the end of her life.  She lived until 1996.  And Alma was born in 1905 and lived until 2001.  I only knew Alma.  But I am glad to have known her.  I bet that these three could have been the models of Naughty as young girls, when they wanted to.


Author: Scott Dickson

I've been doing family history research since the late 1980s. Almost all of my family came into the southern colonies and worked there way across the South. Lately, I've started to look at my wife's New England, Irish, and French Canadian ancestry. My tree is online at

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