Bard Family

Betsy joined Mary as a big sister when the only Bard son was born, just a few months before Betsy’s second birthday. Sydney Cleveland Bard (“Cleve”) had a head full of red hair like his sisters, and rounded out the traveling Bard bunch. Because their father Darsie was a mining engineer, the family moved quite often. All three of the eldest Bard children were born in different states: Mary in Montana (1904), Betsy in Colorado (1907*), and Cleve in Idaho (1908). This prompted Sydney’s father to comment, when hearing of Cleve’s birth, “I trust you don’t feel compelled to have a child in every state!” Two more sisters, Dorothea (“Dede”) (1915) and Alison (1920) were born in Washington state, where the family finally settled. Another girl, Sylvia, died in infancy.

While their mother Sydney certainly was no shrinking violet, it was Gammy who kept the Bard children amused and the household lively – often, unintentionally. Betty described her as “ [my] grandmother who wore her corset upside down and her shoes on the wrong feet and married a gambler with yellow eyes.”

Betty and her siblings were told to call their maternal grandmother “Deargrandmother,” and the children seemed to merely endure her presence during her infrequent visits. They were always glad to see her leave and return to the east coast (or to leave themselves, if they were visiting Sydney’s parents). Sydney, too, seemed to prefer keeping distance between her family in Virginia and the Bards. Not many women prefer the company of their mother-in-law to their own flesh and blood, but Sydney apparently did. Even after her husband’s untimely death, Sydney kept her mother-in-law living with her and the children. It would be many years before they parted company.

* Some sources cite 1908 as the year; however, 1907 is the correct year of Betty’s birth in Boulder, Colorado.