|Maggie and grand daughter #2, Sissy, Christmas 2009|
Her own mother died of the flu on Christmas eve, when my grandmother was five.
Being so young, she was not allowed to attend the funeral.
Being so young, my grandmother couldn't step in to care for the family.
She and her sister were put into an orphanage which was not an uncommon practice in the period. While a widow would struggle to raise her children, a widower did not become a "single father."
Several years later, when my great-grandfather remarried, his children were removed from the orphanage. Unfortunately, it is not the happy ending we might hope for. Her stepmother rivaled stepmothers of mythology and literature in her cruelty.
My grandmother weathered this shaky start. She loves people and is remarkably gregarious. In fact, when I was little, I sincerely believed my grandmother knew everyone in Nashua, NH.