Wednesday, December 23, 2020

52 Ancestors - RESOLUTION: Please Hold for Katherine Riley

A resolution is not just a New Year’s tradition that we make and break. The word implies a strong decision to do or even NOT do something, but it also implies a quality of being determined or resolute.

Katherine Riley, grandaunts Lillie Killeen
and Helen Killeen Parker
September 1965

Katherine Riley might well be described as “resolute” when she gave a vase to her good friend, my grandaunt Helen Killeen Parker. Oh, it wasn’t a gift. It was for safe-keeping until she returned from the nursing home. Katherine was determined to come home and retrieve the vase. Why the vase was so important, I don’t know. All I know is that she told Aunt Helen, “You hold on to it until I come home.”

Helen held on to it until she knew she was dying. That is when she gave the vase to her niece, my aunt Betty, with instructions to hold on to it until Katherine Riley came home.

Katherine Riley never came home. She died in April 1982, about a year after Helen.

My aunt once showed me the vase. She told me it will be mine one day and that I should hold on to it for Katherine Riley.

It’s a real commitment.

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Clear a nice place for Katherine’s vase and then decide who gets it next.

  2. What a sweet story that gives not only a clear picture of the kind of woman that Katherine was but also Helen.

  3. Aww!! I hope that your daughters will continue the tradition of holding onto the vase.

  4. What a beautiful story. And when that vase arrives in your home, think of the story you can tell.