Nancy Ethel Baker Taylor
Later this month, Aunt CB’s mother would have had her birthday—born 130 years ago! If this post sounds remotely familiar to you, it is because it should! Mom wrote this back in 2008, but she just read it over a few days ago and could not find a thing to change or add. How she would enjoy just sharing a cup of tea with her mother as the long days of July are upon us.
Ethel B. Taylor, Jun, 1961--427 W. Main, Waterloo, spirea bushes
While the words are the same, Pat Kinsella Herdeg has found new (to her) pictures of Nancy Ethel Baker Taylor. You will find the 2008 posting here, with different pictures than what you see below:
And, from 2012 when Grandma would have been 125 years old, more stories about Ethel:
And here, from 2013, a few of Grandma Taylor’s recipes:
Ethel Baker in garden at back of 427 W. Main, Waterloo
It was a warm sunny day in the mid 1930's. Adin’s car pulled up to the side of the road, parked in the weeds along the bank of a slight hill and we walked up it towards the plain white one room schoolhouse, carrying our deviled eggs and potato salad. As Harold and I struggled up the grassy bank I heard a shout, then, “Miss Baker? Yes, I can’t believe it’s you.”–and watched as a big burly man enveloped our mother in his arms, salad and all!
Ethel and her mother, Kate Baker
Several more people came hurrying over to take her dishes and shake her hand, hug her–with cries of “haven’t seen you since I said my ABC’s to you.” We were attending the Caldwell school house students' picnic near where my mother had grown up on the farm in Center Lisle but this was crazy! They treated her like a best beloved teacher. Yes, she’d taught here for two years after she received her state certificate from Cortland Normal to enable her to do rural teaching—but this—she was just our mother!
Ethel B. Taylor at Gettysburg, Aug 1952
Travel through the years of more Cortland Normal, teaching in Oakfield, NY and New Jersey, marriage, raising six children and fast forward now to the early 1940's. It was a playnight at our church. There on stage sat Momma, dressed in an old house dress with a crazy looking straw hat on her head, surrounded by several more members of her Sunday School Class dressed just a foolishly!
She had a scrub board held between her knees, and at a nod from the similarly attired leader she began wisking her stiff brush up and down the rippled exterior, creating a swishing sound, accompanied by someone with an egg beater in a tin pail, a zither sound from another friend blowing a comb covered with tissue, as though it was a mouth organ, another pounding the bottom of a washtub —the kitchen band played accompaniment as we all sang “You are My Sunshine” —that’s our mother? Yes—that’s our mother.
Ethel and her brother, Adin, 1963
The amazement I felt as a kid at the respectful way her former students treated her, the surprise I had as I realized the warm, funny everyday side of her in the kitchen band, watching the daisy in her hat bob, as she “scrubbed” away to the music. All a part of my growing up and understanding that “Just our mother” was a warm talented, loving person, who lived her life listening and doing for others and yes, she was our mother, but not “just”— she was more than our mother, she was a person who stood out among the crowd. I carry her with me, in my heart, every day I live.