Iza Pearl (named after her Aunt Ima Pearl) was my great, great grandmother. I’ve had the privilege of long visits with her daughter, my Great Grandma Dorothy, who has shared the stories, memories, and adventures of Iza Pearl. She was born of Irish immigrants who left the lush, green, rolling hills of Ireland for the flat, dry, dusty plains of Garden City, Kansas.
There, Iza’s family ran a successful sugar beet farm. Iza Pearl was one of four sisters—Viva, Ethyl, and Grace. Unlike her sisters, Iza Pearl was considered petite and fragile, and proved to be of little help on the family’s sugar beet farm. Approaching 24 years of age, Iza’s parents feared she was getting “too old” for marriage. Since she was of little use on the farm, they packed her bags and put her on a train headed East to find “office work”. Iza landed in Wellington, Kansas where she not only found a desk job, but someone to marry her ole’ maid ass— the hip and handsome, William McKelvy. Several years later, at the “ripe old age” of 32, Iza delivered a healthy baby girl, my great grandmother.
I have several things for which to thank Iza Pearl: her awesome name that makes a memorable and catching studio name, my red hair, my brown eyes—including my right squinty eye, and lastly, my pale white, yet freckled skin. I can’t go without saying a special thanks to her “stout” sisters for my Irish, sugar beet farmin’ and stalky calf muscles, to which my grandfather jokingly refers to as “cows.” For this, I thank you.