ANNA MADE HER ENTRANCE into the great flow of humanity exactly one hundred and twenty-seven years ago today. Let me tell you, Dear Reader, had she not shown up when she did, you wouldn't be reading this blog posting today! My mother, the youngest of ten children of Anna, called her mother "Muvvie," but I always just called her Grandma.
As luck would have it, only yesterday I came across a bit of archival data, written by my mother's sister, my Aunt Osie (yep, her real name!):
Mama's (Anna's) own mother died when she was only four years old. There were those who offered to take 'Little Annie' into their home, but her mother had requested that she and her sister and brothers be kept together, so she became her father's shadow, trailing him as he worked around the home. Later when he remarried, she was big sister to a growing family of younger children.
When she was fifteen, Anna's father moved his family from Ohio to southern Virginia. Here Anna met and learned to know Henry, (and how lucky for me that he joined the human race as well!), a young man who, just a few years earlier, had moved to the same area from the state of Maryland. I'll bet you can wager a pretty good guess what happened next, Dear Reader!
Well, of course! On a balmy afternoon in January of 1906, Anna and Henry were married.
Once again I quote:
Side by side they worked, strong young Henry and his petite little bride, clearing land, planting crops and building a home. On her 22nd birthday they welcomed into their new home their firstborn--a son, Arthur. The family grew and the house grew with it until a 14-room house held ten lively children--five boys and five girls. Those were busy years filled to the brim with work, play, joys, and sorrows.
The years moved on. I remember Papa used to smile and say about our little mama, "Precious things come in small packages." She moved quickly, running upstairs and down, indoors and out, and as she hurried about, she sang. She sang from sunrise to sunset and on into the night until, satisfied that her house was in order and all the children in, she caught a few hours sleep. She never claimed to be a fancy cook (Oh, great whirring blenders, Dear Reader--this was a hundred years ago! No dishwasher, coffee maker, mixer, crock pot...) but the birthday cakes she baked each year for each child, the array of homemade Christmas candies, her lacy-edged pancakes which none of us have been able to duplicate, rate truly as works of art.
All of the children had established homes of their own and Mama and Papa had celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in the Big House before retiring to a new brick house nearby. When asked how she felt about leaving the old house with all its memories she replied, "Half the battle is in making up one's mind."
Epilogue: While all three of my other grandparents passed away in 1968, Little Annie lived to the age of ninety-three and died in 1978.
Three of the children who grew up in that Big House are still here to remember Muvvie,(including Osie and her twin brother Oliver).
And I'm thinking of Grandma today, with fond memories.
All things progressing as they did, I learned to know Grandma when she lived in the little brick house. (It happened to be right across the road from the brick house in which I lived).
She kept a nice big, toy-filled basket in her living room. It was slightly misshapen. And you know, Reader Dear, that's what I love about it--this distinctly slouching basket* that I fill with toys for my little actors.
*the very one