Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Visiting Cousin Evelyn Taylor, by Sue Kinsella

Mom (Aunt CB) and I packed up sandwiches and brownies and drove down to LeRoy, New York in June to visit Evelyn Taylor. Her husband, Bryant, was always one of Mom's favorite cousins and she has missed him greatly since he died 19 years ago. His parents were Floyd (son of BW and Emma Carson Taylor) and Goldie.

Evelyn happily greeted us and we settled down in her living room to catch up on news. Actually, I think I had only met Evelyn and Bryant once before, more than 40 years ago. They had just come back from a stint in Australia and attended the wedding of "that girl who didn't change her name when she got married."
            "That would be me," I told her.

Evelyn is in her 90s now and so inspiring with all that she is doing! As readers of this blog know, she writes wonderful stories about her earlier life with Bryant and their three kids, Lance, Pam and Mitch. On this visit, I learned that she is still part of a writing group that meets frequently.

She had set a beautiful table for lunch, with lush roses in the middle and matching dishes, beautiful linens, and lovely serving bowls. As we ate and chatted, I asked about the collection of graters that covered one whole wall of her kitchen. That's when we learned that she is in the midst of writing a book about kitchen graters, with a prospective publishing date for this fall. It will include pictures, recipes, and special chapters about graters for nutmeg, cheese, sauerkraut and soap. To be honest, I had never imagined graters for sauerkraut and soap!

We were admiring the silverware, so Evelyn disappeared down the hall and searched in a closet. When she came back, she placed before us four small spoons.

Three of them, she said, were "coin silver." I had to look that up, and learned from that it is "silverware produced in colonial America up until just after the Civil War. European coins were melted down and cut into flatware and serveware." They felt much lighter than usual silverware, almost like aluminum.

One had the initials "BW" on it. We assumed this was for Bryant's grandfather, BW (Bryant Waller Taylor). We wondered whether that might have been his baby spoon. Another had the initials "LT," which we thought was probably for Leon Taylor, BW's son and Bryant's and Mom's uncle. We couldn't make out the initials on the third spoon. These second and third spoons were tiny, possibly intended as salt spoons.

The fourth spoon was "newer" and more ornate, with the dates "1852-1902" engraved on the handle. This, Evelyn said, was a spoon commemorating the 50th wedding anniversary of Daniel Taylor and Cordelia Waller Taylor, parents of BW. So, altogether, between the spoons and those of us at the table, we represented five generations of the Taylor family!

After lunch, when we re-settled in the living room, we talked some more about Mom's cousin, Bryant. We laughed and laughed when Evelyn told us that, for a second job, Bryant drove a schoolbus in the mornings to take children to kindergarten. He was a wonderfully outgoing person who charmed the kids with songs and funny sayings. Adults still come up to her and burst into one of his songs in particular, Evelyn told us, the words of which are:

I had a little chicken
And he wouldn't lay an egg
So I poured hot water up and down his leg.
The little chicken hollered
And the little chicken begged.
And then the gosh-darn chicken laid a hard-boiled egg!


Pat said...

Evelyn and Sue,

Thank you so much for sharing this afternoon with us! Would have loved to feel the 'serveware'--had never heard of that. And, to hold the spoon used by B.W.!!

I love to read these stories of visiting cousins!


Evelyn Taylor said...

Sue, you did a wonderful job of writing about our visit.
I enjoyed it so much and especially meeting you.

I always like the "show and tell". That is the teacher in me!


CB said...

I have to add my 2 cents! Eve is an only child so, as all my sisters have sought greener pastures, I have claimed her as my NOW sister! She is a peach and I am lucky!