July 2018

Introducing Marjory Fay Spiker

We reveal the identities of the women in the "Creepy Photo" -- they are William Buckner & Anna Marie (Ward) Zinn's daughters, Ila Ota Zinn and Eliza Jane Zinn.

Introducing Marjory Fay Spiker

By Bobbi Spiker Conley

Less is known about Jake and Gay’s third child, Marjory Fay, than any of the Spiker children. She never married, never had children, and never moved out of the family home. She died at the young age of 52 from “unknown-natural causes.”

Paula, as the eldest niece, probably knew her best. She said, *When I visited the farm, it was only our family and the grandparents there. Uncle Brad and Uncle Bob lived nearby, but the rest of that generation had already moved out and gone their own ways. She played such a significant part in those early years and we had such wonderful experiences during my visits.

Aunt Marjory was a very hard worker, but Grandma let her spend fun time with me. She had collections of so many common items, like buttons, and I never tired of looking at them. We spent hours together and even slept in the same bed (until her snoring bothered me.)

I remember her red hair and the braids that were pulled up on the crown of her head. And I recall that she was short and quite heavy. Her weight seemed to make it somewhat difficult for her to get around, but she helped with chores and stayed busy. I played with her as I would a child. I feel that whatever happened to her (I have never heard what that was,) had occurred at an early age and impacted her brain development.*

Bob, Jean, Marjory, Dorothy and Kitty Spiker Mark, just ten years old when Marjory passed away in 1963, recalls *Aunt Marjory could read and speak well, but she was limited mentally. I do not know her medical diagnosis. She played card games with me as a child (Rook and Rummy) and she liked to play Hide-and-Seek and work puzzles. But she was considered an adult, and she took care of her own basic needs. She had chores around the house like washing dishes, and she could sew.

She and Grandma Gay stayed with us [Brad’s family] a few summers at the farm. I remember that she had long hair, worn up in a bun. I was a young boy when she passed. I did not expect it and wished I could have said good-bye.*

I, the youngest niece, never met Aunt Marjory. She died before I was born. My parents talked about her, of course, but only two things my Mother said stick out in my memories – the story about the 1950 flood and a brief mention that Marjory had had Polio as a child. So I was quite surprised (as were all of my cousins) to learn from the Death Certificate that the “condition contributing to death” was Cerebal palsy. This revelation explains much about Aunt Marjory’s perceived disabilities.

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a blanket term used to describe disorders that affect a child’s muscle tone, coordination, and posture. It is caused by an injury to the brain during pregnancy, delivery, or shortly after birth. CP does not get worse, but there is no cure for the condition. Symptoms - which may also include intellectual impairment - may be mild to severe, depending on the type of CP and the area of the brain that has been injured.

Born at a time when families were advised to institutionalize children with disabilities, Marjory was instead an integral part of Spiker family life. In fact, that may be the very reason none of our parents mentioned it. Labeling her condition served no purpose; it didn’t matter. (After all, it really COULD have been the excess weight that slowed her steps.)

We have very few photos of Marjory Fay Spiker. None is in color (I’m pleased to hear she had red hair like so many of our kin.) But we do have several stories from which to remember her. Here are a few snippets from our Library (to read the full story, click the Author’s name, below.)

  • Adelene Spiker wrote – After Lynn and I were married in 1946, we visited the Spiker farm pretty often. One of my fondest memories is of Marjory frying little sun fish. They were always so good! Lynn said her secret was that she never moved out of her tracks – she turned them often and served them when they were just right.
  • Brada Stotts wrote – I remember being in the kitchen making angel food cake with Grandma and Majory when we mixed the batter BY HAND!
  • Melinda Chambers wrote – Many of my early memories centered around Marjory. As a child, I didn’t really think about her age. I just knew she was always very friendly and fun to play with. She would make little dolls from hankies by wadding up a tissue in the hankie and fastening it with a rubber band to make the head (*see below.) When we weren’t playing with these dolls, we would often cut and paste pictures from magazines and put them in scrapbooks. In the evenings we would catch lightning bugs. There was also a large shrub (probably forsythia) at the front edge of the yard that had an opening to the inside, much like a tent, which made a great hiding place. Marjory always seemed to look forward to my visits and was eager to spend time with me.
  • Gary Zinn wrote – Cousin Marjory was part of my youth as far back as I can recall. She always gravitated to and got along well with the children in my age group. Socially, she was childlike herself, so interacting with the youngsters in the family was natural for her. It says something about the people of the community that no one, adult or child, ever made disparaging remarks about Marjory’s behavior. She was a member of our society, and we accepted her as she was.

The Rest of the 'Creepy Photo' Story

By Bobbi Spiker-Conley

Last month we told you about a large, framed photograph of two unknown women whose eyes followed you through the hallway and down the stairs. (Well, at least according to Drew and Brock. And possibly Beckett, too. Read the full story here.) We ended the article with a promise to reveal the identities of the women in the “creepy photo” so here is the rest of the story.

Creepy Photo Story As soon as I saw the photo, I knew I had seen it somewhere before. After a bit of sleuthing, I found a strikingly similar photograph in my genealogy files. The image was courtesy of Jerry Watson. It had been in his mother’s private collection.

*Note: Jerry’s mother is Mary “Elizabeth” (Sommerville) Watson, daughter of Sebra Nell “Nellie” (Zinn) Sommerville, a daughter of Henry Clay and Julia Ann (Bee) Zinn.

Creepy Photo Story Jerry told me that about 40 years before Elizabeth died in 1991, he had gone through all of the old family photos with her. She was able to identify about 80 percent of them, and Jerry dutifully wrote the names and details on the backs of the images.

Jerry’s photo had an original marking that read “This one for Nellie,” (referring to his grandmother.) Elizabeth had told him the women in the photo were Ila “Ota” Zinn (which he wrote as “Odie”) and her sister (presumed to be Eliza Jane Zinn), daughters of William Buckner and Anna Marie (Ward) Zinn.

So yes, the women in the “creepy photo” are our relatives. Our second cousins twice removed, to be exact. But no, Jerry’s photo (at right, top) and Brock’s photo (bottom) are not exactly the same.

It’s obvious the two photos were taken during a single photography session; the clothing, the stances, and the backgrounds are identical. But if you look closely, you’ll notice the differences in expressions, especially around the mouth. And most importantly, you’ll see that the eyes in Jerry’s photo aren’t creepy at all.

Perhaps that is why the girls wanted the “non-creepy photo” to be given to Nellie.


  • [![Spiker Bull Ride 2018](/images/posts/john-bob-spiker-bull-riding-2018.jpg){:class="image right"}](/images/posts/john-bob-spiker-bull-riding-2018.jpg) *Submitted by Spiker Bull Ride LLC* -- Summer is FINALLY here! We're getting ready for the 12th annual Spiker Bull Ride with professional bull riding, great entertainment, delicious food, and fun for the entire family! Will we see you there? Here are the details for this year's ride: Dates: July 20 and 21 Gates open: 5:30 pm Event starts: 7:00 pm Cost: Adults $15, children 6-12 $10, children 5 and under are free
  • *Submitted by Bobbi Spiker-Conley* -- Gary W. Zinn submitted two more stories for our Library. These will surely make you grin. [Squirrel Hunting](/invalid) - An avid squirrel hunter since the age of seven, Gary tells four quick tales of his hunting adventures in the Holbrook - Summers area. [The Dog that Wouldn't Stay Away](/invalid) - Overy Earl Zinn advises his son in a plan to send the dog back to its home at neighbor Marion Gray's house.
  • [![Mike and Paula](/images/posts/mike-and-paula.jpg){:class="image right"}](/images/posts/mike-and-paula.jpg) *Submitted by Bobbi Spiker-Conley* -- Here's another photo recreation from the 2018 reunion. Barbara Thrush captured the two eldest cousins, Paula and Mike, in the "new" picture. Marty Spiker emailed a copy of the "old" photo saying, "I love that Mike is wearing his lace-up saddle oxfords and Paula is barefoot. Obviously, Paula was old enough to decide not to wear shoes." Mike added, "Yes, I dressed up and 'city girl' went barefoot. I remember it vividly." Paula said, "I look a little serious (smiley face.) Definitely one of my favorite pics." Marty replied, "You probably looked serious because you were trying to handle squirmy Mike. Ha!"