Monday, March 18, 2013

“Reap What You Sow” By Aunt CB Kinsella

Ethel and Lloyd Taylor

This story begins long before I was born. Ethel, having taught in the country school where she grew up and also in a distant town (Oakfield) school, wanted to now travel and “see the world!” Her aunt and uncle lived in Scranton, Pa, and she’d been there. Uncle Frank was a conductor on the railroad and his “turn around” trip was in Newark, N. J. and he would know people she could trust there, so she applied for a job and was accepted. She began work Sept. 3, 1913 in Orange, N.J. ($650 per year--another factor in her choice—her boyfriend, Lloyd Taylor, was to attend telegraphy school in Albany in the fall).

While teaching there she again attended several churches before she chose the Methodist Episcopal church and also joined the Young People’s League on Sunday night, where I think she met her good friend, Adelia Guernsey. “Dede” was a secretary in an insurance office and over the two years she taught in N. J., they became close friends. She often had Sunday dinner with Dede, her sister Lily, and their mother their apartment.

Aunt Dede, 1929

Time moved on, Ethel and Lloyd married, had a family (six children) and when the days I’m going to speak of came about they lived in Geneva, N.Y. It was the height of the depression and while Lloyd had a job, in the late 1920's he had to go into bankruptcy and lost his farm. Now he worked as a seed analyst at the Experimental Station and the children, age 3-15 were all growing!

Harold, Doris, Lucille

We had as much as everyone we knew, and it never occurred to us that we were poor. The girl next door always wore clothing of the latest style and bought lots of magazines but she shared and we got her cast off clothes and we all played together. She was one and we were six, so we understood when she got loads of Christmas gifts. Besides, we were lucky, we had our “Aunt Dede!”

Every year, from mid December on, we waited breathlessly for the UPS man. She always sent a large package with a gift each for all six of us. We didn’t have to know her to love her, nor did we wonder how she knew what to give each of us (we were not privy to their correspondence!) Thus she was our “Santa Claus,” the one who made our Christmas tree worthwhile. So I loved my “Betsy-Wetsy” doll the year she came, and proudly wore my Girl Scout belt with a whistle attached over my cast off uniform from a cousin! It was never a chore to write our “thank you’s.”

Each year we agonized as the days came closer to December 25th with no package. In all the years that I remember, it only once came late--the next day--and that was a sad one, but it was usually a squeaker, arriving in the afternoon of the 24th! But as I said, time moved on and we grew up. When the packages stopped coming I don’t know but I do know that when I was in Nurse’s training and found myself in Poughkeepsie for a 3 month’s psychiatric assignment, I took the three days I had free at the end, hopped on a bus and went to E. Orange N. J. Aunt “Dede” and Lily met me and I stayed with them, enjoying their hospitality. Now their mother was gone but I thanked them, telling them all they had meant to us over the years, acknowledging their work in purchasing, wrapping and mailing those many packages. All this in the days of no scotch tape and tie the boxes well with string! They did admit it was difficult for them to find the time, thus the “late day” packages.

The moral of this story is simple. “You Reap What You Sow”— they looked for our childhood notes, they showed me some they’d saved and knew they’d gained our love. They had no other “grand children” but considered us to be theirs. So watch what you do for others, it can come back to LOVE you!!

Lucille, the Author

No comments: