Friday, August 19, 2011

Aunt Sarah

Well, really, my Great-Aunt Sarah.  Just saying her name makes me smile.  She was a frequent summer visitor to our house, when I was very, very young.  I remember her as always smiling, always happy.  Here she is holding me on her lap, long, long ago.  That is the smile that I remember.  I just realized that I still have that lawn chair.
Born in Ireland, Aunt Sarah never married.  She lived in New York City, in the Bronx, in a wonderful apartment that I saw only once.  It seemed so big to me.  I wonder if it would still look as big if I saw it today?

She was a successful businesswoman, running a hair salon that featured the "Harper Method."  If you have never heard of this method, or Martha Matilda Harper, the woman who invented and franchised it, here is an article that explains who she was, and what she accomplished.  Martha Matilda Harper and the Harper Method. She was quite a pioneer, in her time.  One of the women who visited Aunt Sarah's salon was Mary Pickford.

But that is not the Aunt Sarah that I remember.  I remember the jolly lady who would sit out on the lawn with my Grandmother and spend the entire afternoon doing handcrafts, and chatting.  I remember the woman who always had time to sit down and have a tea party with me.  And, I remember that she told wonderful stories, though most of them have faded from my mind now.  Only the Country Mouse who went to live in the big city remains.  I wonder if that was Aunt Sarah, telling stories about herself?

Here are my Grandmother, and Aunt Sarah.  Yes, Aunt Sarah could often be that sweet and silly.
That's the house I still live in, in the background.  You know, it's funny but when you live in a place for so long, you think it has never changed.  But, looking at that picture I see many changes.  The garden and the trees are gone.  Even the foundation, made of field stone, has changed.  It's now concrete block, put in when my Mom and Dad had a cellar dug under that part of the house after WWII, for the princely sum of $300.  Only the house remains.

I have a cousin named Sarah, named, of course, after our sweet Aunt.  I haven't known her very well for most of our lives, because we have lived so far apart.  But, through the wonders of the internet, we are now getting to know each other.  We're discovering that, though our lives have taken very different paths, we have a lot in common.  And, I'm discovering that there is a lot more of Aunt Sarah than just her name, in my Cousin Sarah.  Here's an old picture of us, when we were young.  I'm the baby, Sarah is the one in the middle (who does that smile remind you of?), and the beautiful girl on the left is my other cousin, Mary Lou, who also has a very sweet smile.
Now, both of those girls have large families of their own, and are Grandmothers and Great-Aunts.  I bet that their Great-nieces and Grand-nephews have just as wonderful memories of them as I do of Aunt Sarah.

11 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

what neat memories. and you were an adorable cherub baby!

Janet said...

Wonderful pictures-I really enjoyed reading your memories of them-thank you for sharing them.

Madi and Mom said...

You my dear friend inherited Aunt Sarah's talent for telling great stories about your family...what a beautiful post and absolutely priceless pictures. I hope you and cousin Sarah can get togehter sometime soon,
Hugs Madi and Mom

Sharon said...

That's really sweet, nice tribute too! Surprising about the house, have you thought to do the gardens like your Grandmother had them? Really neat pictures, you were a cutie! Thanks for sharing this great post!

Sarah said...

what a beautiful story, and what treasures you have in your memories. And in that house! So many family homes are lost because everyone moves all over! Its so wonderful that you still have your families old place and that its being loved and cared for! Enjoyed your story and pictures! Thanks for sharing!

Genny said...

I love the fact that you live in that beautiful old house and that you still have the metal lawn chair. I remember having chairs like that when I was a kid. The pictures are fantastic. There's nothing like old family photos to bring back all those great memories. Aunt Sarah sounds like such a gem.

A Mom In Missoura said...

Hi! I'm a new follower! I love all the family photos! Thanks for sharing!!

willowhousechronicles said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Aunt Sarah and a lovely memory. It's so neat that you still have the house. I'm glad you're reconnecting with your cousin. Thanks for sharing.

KB said...

It seems so wonderful that you still live in a house that holds so many precious memories. I think that's rare these days... You are very lucky.

Your Aunt Sarah sounded lovely.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Louise -- The memories of your family members is so touching. I have wonderful memories of when I was young but today's memories are slim pickins' when it comes to family. Everyone lives so far apart. It is the times. No more huge family gatherings like when I was young. I know I would love your house -- just from the glimpse of the back of it in the photo. I lived in a similar house after I was married. I call it my "farm period". You had an aunt Sarah and I had a great-aunt Marie that I fondly remember -- very similar to your aunt's personality.

Oh I do go on when the memories awaken. Thanks -- barbara

Judith said...

Louise, I followed that link, thanks for posting it. I love stuff like that. What an interesting woman M M Harper was! Way before her time. She deserves to be much better known. I'm going to see if I can track down a copy of that biography. How interesting that your Great Aunt Sarah was a "Harperite", she must have been a fascinating person too.