Bellzona's Picture Book
The Osages - Mertie
calculated date of this photograph of Mertie Rusk, half sister to Bertha
is approximately 1935. Mertie is not listed on the Osage allotment roll
Mertie is standing on mown
ground. One can look closely and see, faintly, a barb wire fence in the
background. This says the picture could have been taken around the ranch
house area of Dennis and Bertha's.
She mimics her sister as a
child in an effort to fold her hands in placid control. Here again she
mimics the ways of the Anglo women who held their hands just so, in order
to show their delicate, soft texture, unmarred by rough work. In her right
hand, notice the cigarette in her fingers, another way of poking fun at
the women who were just coming into the age of rebellion as far as smoking
publicly was concerned.
This picture would mean
nothing unless one knew the personality of the mischievous girls who
missed nothing in their study of the people around them. It is a joke she
is sharing with her sister, Bertha.
"See! I'm all dressed
up in these fashionable clothes, I have affected mannerisms, I'm smoking
too. Now, am I doing everything as it should be done?" There is
nothing malicious, just girlish fun.
Mertie had a rare sense of
humor and anyone who remembers her has some funny story to tell about how
she was witty and to the point with her fun loving comments. Sometimes,
she went to great lengths to entertain by acting out a situation while her
audience was sometimes thrown off by her deep insight into the problems of
the day brought to light, before there was laughter.
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