Sentimental Sunday: The Man She Almost Married – Part One

Benita (McGinnis) McCormick
          (1889 – 1984)

Edward Michael Savage

          (1886 – 1915)


The life given us, by nature is short, 
but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal.
                                                              –  Cicero

First in a three-part series

My 90-year-old great-aunt “Detty,” Benita (McGinnis) McCormick, was in the middle of a story about her 1913 trip to Ireland when she lingered over a page in the large scrapbook of her life’s memories. Her elegantly manicured hands, now gnarled from arthritis, lightly caressed the portrait of a fair-skinned young man in a dark suit and bow tie.  His name was Edward Michael Savage, but my aunt called him Ned.  Ned the “wonderful Savage.”
Portrait of Edward Michael “Ned” Savage, date unknown, as it appears
 in Benita’s scrapbook.  Her caption, written in 1982, reads, “I thought at one
time that I wanted to marry darling Ned.  We were very fond of each other.”

“Oh, I had my share of beaus when I was young, yes,” she smiled, her moist eyes studying the picture, “but Ned was different from the others. We had great affection for one another, you know.  I might have married him, if only…” Her voice trailed off as she looked away through an invisible window of reminiscences that was hers alone.

It was a scene that played out occasionally during our visits in the 1970s and early 1980s.   Although Aunt Detty and my great-uncle Phil McCormick had been happily married for over 60 years by then, she could still open that scrapbook and travel back through time for a moment’s stopover to the glorious days of her youth.  If Uncle Phil was nearby, he would smile indulgently, having heard my aunt’s stories many times over.
I was in my early 20s, still trying to figure out the mysteries of dating young men, and my aunt was only too happy to share her own experiences.  “Today you call it dating, but back then we called it courting,” she would laugh with a wink at my uncle.

Aunt Detty’s scrapbook contains three pages of photographs of her and Ned, and many of Ned himself. She labeled some, but not all of them, so we know that a few were taken while she was traveling in Ireland in the summer of 1913.

When someone keeps a lot of pictures of a person they knew decades, even a lifetime ago, you can’t help but wonder about that person – who they were, where they came from, what they were passionate about, and what became of them.

I already knew the answer to the last question, but that had not seemed enough. As I began to write about Aunt Detty, I kept returning to these photos, a full century after they were taken. I wanted to know more about Ned Savage and his family, who might have been part of my own family if not for a twist of fate.

And, as sometimes happens when family historians start to wonder about these people of our past, something about Ned Savage seemed to say, “Find me.”

So I did what any self-respecting family historian would do.  I set off to find him.

Tomorrow:  Mystery Monday:  The Man She Almost Married, Part Two

Friday:  Friday’s Faces from the Past:  The Man She Almost Married, Part Three


Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully


4 Thoughts to “Sentimental Sunday: The Man She Almost Married – Part One

  1. Thank you, Jacqi! Ned was a fascinating person…there definitely is more to come about him. I hope all is well with you. Thanks for the good wishes – and Happy Easter to you and yours.

  2. I'm just getting around to catching up with your blog again and this was the first post I read. Good hook! Now I'll have to read more!

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