When I was seven my father, Elwood Bailey, became very ill. We lived in Tampa, Florida, but he thought it necessary to send me to Chicago to be cared for by his niece, Eileen, Lucia. One day when I was eight I was sitting on the dining room floor reading Tom Sawyer when she came up behind me and said, “We’re related to him you know.” What? We’re related to Tom Sawyer, Oh Boy!! No, she explained, we’re related to the author, Mark Twain, and his real name is Samuel Clemens. What a letdown. At the time this meant nothing to me.

When I was nine my father died so I spent the rest of my growing up years being cared for by my cousin, Eileen and her husband, Russ in Chicago. It wasn’t until I became a teenager and found out just what a big deal it was to be related to Mark Twain that I started researching the connection.

It wasn’t until years later when I saw my first picture of his granddaughter, Nina, that the pieces of this lifelong puzzle began to fall into place for me.
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