Allegra Catherine O'Rouark

(1904-1971)

Algae met a bear
The bear met Algae
The bear was bulgy
The bulge was Algae

Something Dad said

At her 8th grade graduation, Allegra Catherine O'Rouark was a beautiful and engaging young lady

At her 8th grade graduation, Allegra Catherine O'Rouark was a beautiful and engaging young lady.

 

I don’t think I have ever met a person as unusual as my mom, and that may even be an understatement.  She was whimsical, brilliant and eminently disdainful of any kind of hypocrisy.  Then too she was zealously loving and aggressively protective of her offspring, almost and sometimes certainly to a fault.  That was my mama.

When all us boys turned 15, we were no longer her loving little kids but were suddenly and summarily men and thus sent off to fend for ourselves in a harsh and inhospitable place called the world.

Allegra was supremely gifted with a keen sense of observation, a sometimes harsh judgmental nature and an almost uncanny spirit for mischief and fun.  She was indeed complex and could write the most cleaver poetry at a moments notice:

We go to school
to
ridicule

or spin a joke, spring a funny pun, or pen a letter of such beauty and elegance (see below) that it would certainly be the envy Steinbeck himself.  But she carried a lot of baggage.  She felt that life itself was unjust and had done her a great and grievous disservice.  She was born into a family that had expected and anticipated her to keep her place and do what good young women were supposed to do; that is, care for her father and mother, the former whom she much loved and respected, and the latter, whom she considered lazy, inadequate, unintelligent and inconsiderate, two older brothers who were usually gone or constantly in trouble and a younger sister of wild and unpredictable temperament.

Allegra did not get the college education she so desperately desired.  She had not been able to pursue advanced studies in chemistry and physycs and "quantitative analysis" —things that she constantly talked about, wished for and dreamed of.

In her waning years, my mom began to suffer a litany of ailments, some real and some imagined, and she would collapse into states of near coma and emerge not the same personl.  I was just out of the army at that time and had a new wife and child.  My mom began to grow increasingly unstable until finally her heart left her.

Too many responsibilities at too early an age from what she considered an uncaring and unconcerned family had dragged her down.  Too bright and sharp an intellect in a world that was not cognizant of her understanding of things, or cared about the value or place of women.  Too many kids too fast had taken its toll on this vibrant, spontaneous and dynamic individual.  From 1937 till 1942 after six kids in six years, in addition to the two adopted ones, so much weighed her down  and she had never really again regained her formar strength.

Allegra, later was given to mysticism and tea leaves as a form of relief I suspect, (after all she had a Welch great-grandmother) often told me the story of the blood red sign on Bellingham Bay the day before Pearl Harbor when I was but a tiny swaddling infant, so on the spot she baptized me into the faith just in case--so my soul would surely get to heaven.

I dedicate this web page to the affectionate memory of my mother and the five children she brought into this world and the two others she raised..  

playing with her younger sister Elaine O'Rouark, Allegra is dressed up like an Indian

playing with her younger sister Elaine O'Rouark, Allegra is dressed up like an Indian.

 

 

Allegra O'Rouark with adopted Danny and James.  They were adopted before she was married.

      With her two older adopted boys.

Allegra Vautier with daughter marie

    Allegra with her daughter

baby Allegra O'Rouark

   Baby Allegra.

Allegra O'Rouark with brother Gerald O'Rouark

With big brother Gerald.  She has a bat and he has a glove.  I don't think she knows what to do with it just yet. 


I have included a few or my mother's letters on this page.  The first letter to her daughter-in-law describes some of her early childhood experiences.

The second letter offers some rather vivid insights into my Dad's side of the family.