What’s Familiar, What’s Familial, and What’s Unknowable In Between

Trey Graham
Feb 17, 2018 · 6 min read
Clara Marquis Graham, the author’s great-grandmother, circa 1905 — possibly upon the occasion of her wedding to Frank Graham.


“Look how hard-boiled she looks! But in spite of her strict [schoolroom] discipline, every one of her kids thinks she’s the candy lady.” — Clara circa 1945; caption on reverse by Frank Graham, her husband and my great-grandfather
Melvin and Ruth Weller leaving for their New York City honeymoon, and a dashing Melvin posing at the Battery in lower Manhattan. The CMS&N was the Columbus, Magnetic Springs & Northern, an electrified interurban railway that operated north and east of Columbus, Ohio, from 1903 to 1919. Melvin Weller was a telegraph operator for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Ruth recalled that their trip to New York was free — a wedding present from the company. Three years after these pictures were made, Melvin was dead, one of perhaps 100 million victims in the Great Influenza of 1918.
The nerd-handsome young Tom, probably in his early teens, and Eileen, pictured probably 8 or 10 years later, around the time of her brief romance with Tom.

From Eileen Weller’s diary in the wake of the revelation that her sweetheart Tom Graham was in fact her uncle — and that she’d have to end the affair.

Eileen Weller Stephenson — my first cousin once removed, if you’re keeping track — at her father’s grave in Richwood, Ohio, Sept. 2006. Eileen was a Red Cross staffer in World War II and worked a top-secret job in the 1960s at Mount Weather, a continuity-of-government facility in the Shenandoah Valley. She played basketball at her local community center into her late 70s, researched our shared Marquis genealogy back to County Cork in the 1720s, and left us in February 2015.

INCENDIARY: ‘The Arsonists’ and Other Stories of Season 38

Rehearsal journals, backstage secrets and more from the Woolly Mammoth team and special guests

Trey Graham

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INCENDIARY: ‘The Arsonists’ and Other Stories of Season 38

Rehearsal journals, backstage secrets and more from the Woolly Mammoth team and special guests