My grandmother, Sarah Matilda Daniell, went by her middle name; of course, to me, she was Grandma. She was a school teacher for awhile, and just recently, I learned from my Dad (her son) that she had spent some time finding a religion that she liked. Grandma was raised an Episcopalian but didn’t find it fulfilling. As a teacher, she had summers off, and did a lot of research during that time. At some point, she discovered the Rosicrucian faith, and decided to travel from Boston to San Jose, CA, no small undertaking in 1920, to visit the mother church there! She met her husband in CA, had my father, and ultimately decided to come back east to her family when my Dad was just a baby. They made the trip in a Model T car; my Dad told me they took a southern route to keep warm, and at some point went over a bump and my father flew out of the car! That could explain alot
Back in Boston, she tried the The Church of Christ, Scientist, at the Christian Science Center in Boston–Dad said he vividly remembered the inside of the dome and how beautiful it was. I’m not sure she ever found any specific religion that suited her; I think she pretty much walked her own path, and made it as enjoyable as she could. My father was the apple of her eye! And she loved me, too, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Maybe it was because I was her first grandchild; maybe there was just some “connection” between us, but she loved me and I loved her.
Her marriage didn’t last long; she was divorced when my Dad was 2 or so. I’m sure in that day and age, it was a hard thing to go through. We never had much contact with my grandfather, in fact, I never knew him. We think he was a drifter of sorts, but … who knows!
By the time I was born, she was in her late 50s, retired and living in a brownstone on Clarendon Street in Boston. I used to love going to visit her there, the one thing that stands out in my memory was the HUGE spider plant in one of the windows. She moved from there to a retirement community on Cape Cod, to be closer to her sister, Mary, who lived with her daughter and SIL, Roz and Jim (the parents of my cousins, Mel & MB).
I used to love visiting her here, too, especially in the summertime when I could kind of come and go as I pleased (at 14 that was fun!). She always cautioned me to be careful, not to let anyone kidnap me and sell me into slavery and I would laugh. I remember her making her special dessert, a type of Bananas Foster, and she always had ham & sweet potatoes at the holidays! She also always had cookies on hand for the kids, especially Ideal cookies (they were by Nabisco, and they’re not made anymore), man, were they good–chocolate on the outside, cookie on the inside with a delish peanut butter filling.
The last place she lived was at a nursing home in Tewksbury, MA. She’d gotten a little careless in the retirement place, forgetting to turn off the stove, that sort of thing, and it was decided she needed a more watchful environment. I didn’t visit her much at the nursing home…I was too busy doing things I shouldn’t have been doing and such, but still, she was happy to see me when I did visit. And she was the life of the nursing home, always playing the piano and singing Tea for Two or other songs.
As she aged, she got … a little (more) “different”, others might say strange, but she was never mean or unhappy. She was the first one to play the piano or get the crowd singing…or tell very strange stories to us kids! She was the grandmother with the cookies and yummy things to eat, always. She was patient, she was kind, she was generous and she was much loved!
As my cousin MB said, “She really was a treasure. And it’s amazing that she was so sweet. Her life really wasn’t so easy, yet she always had a bright smile and positive attitude!”
Mel adds: “She made cookies for Mike (her oldest son) when he was little and I used to see her at Stop and Shop with my Grandmother and Mom, buying her eclairs and [coffee] yogurt too, she loved those. She was a treasure.”
And that’s why I wanted to name this venture after my Grandmother! She dealt with life in a positive, albeit offbeat manner and as a result, everyone that came in contact with her has fond memories of knowing her.