Audrey Mae SpencerSpencer Historical CemeteryHenry Straight / William Spencer Family Cemetery
Vaughn Historical CemeterySpencers of East Greenwich, RI
Courtship, Marriage, and Home Making
10 July 2002

Heather: How are you doing these days?

Audrey: It feels good sleeping and resting. I like lying down and sleeping. I sit up and look out the front window because the neighbor across the street is having a room built on his house. Also, a neighbor, Michael J., walks by daily because he has to walk 5 miles a day because of his health. Crystal calls him my boyfriend, because he always waves to me.

17 July 2002

Heather: How are you this morning?

Audrey: I’m tired all the time. I have no pain. I’m slow but I get tired easily! (Audrey Mae is now ninety years old.)

5 February 2003

Heather: Mother, what do you remember about the Mitchell Maternity Home where Vaughn, Deardra and I were born.

Mr. an Mrs. Williams Mitchell


Audrey: I loved the Mitchell Maternity home. She was so friendly. She was a nurse. It was her own home. She only had one woman at a time, but sometimes, more than one woman. The doctor came. I think his name was Dr. Farrell. They (the nurse and the doctor) were all there right together in Crompton. One time they had to make me wait for the doctor. I was so mad.

20 December 2003

Heather: Tell me about some of the people there at Alpine?

Milton Earl MacDonald and Audrey Mae Spencer

Audrey: An old friend of mine, when I was young, is here (at Alpine). Milton and her husband were close friends. Theo is here now. She’s very nice. I knew her way back then. Her husband, Bill (Wilfred), and Milton were good friends and Theo and I were good friends. We all went to dances together at Shrub Hill (country barn). This was before we married. At first, I went with Jeannie to the Apponaugh Grange Hall. I remember I always had my favorite coat on. I went with Jeannie who went all the time. There was a man standing in front. I remember that he had pimples on his face. He said I am Wilfred Grove’s friend, Milton, and he asked me to dance. Dad was such a good dancer! I danced with him. Whenever he was there, I always danced with him ever after. Then he would pick me up. His sister Gladys would let Dad take her car every Saturday night. Gladys had a beautiful little roaster. The top could go down and the car would be open. Dad was nineteen years. I was twenty-one. Then he got a junky car. I never had many boyfriends. I just had him. Beatrice Shippee’s cousin wanted to date me, but I did not want to date him. I felt bad, as he was Beatrice’s cousin.

1 February 2004

Heather: What did Dad think about your mother?

Mary Jane Vaughn Spencer

Audrey: Milton said that my mother (MaryJane [née Vaughn] Spencer) is the best woman in all the world. He came every night. She was glad to see Milton. He played the guitar. She let him in every night. Grandma loved music. She and her sister, Rachel, were two little girls in blue and they sang in church.

1 February 2004

Heather: What did you think of Dad’s mother?

Audrey: Milton’s mother (Annie [née Walton] MacDonald) was a big woman and I wasn’t too happy with her heaviness, but she had a sweet face and she was always smiling and very nice. Dad and I would go to his home late at night after the dances, and Grandma Mac (Annie MacDonald), she would get up and make johnny cakes for us. The johnny cakes were about the size of a half dollar and I loved her johnny cakes the best! She worked for the Coward family and Mrs. Coward was rich and flighty but Grandma Mac, she got along fine with Mrs. Coward.

(Heather:  I was really astonished when I learned that when the Coward daughter grew up, she gave her son the middle name of MacDonald after our Grandmother MacDonald! How impressive!  The daughter named her child after our grandmother who was the child-care provider and housekeeper.)

7 February 2004

Heather: How did the New Englanders keep warm in the winter when there was no heat?

Audrey: I remember Ruth Rose, who lived in the little house on the corner of Middle Road, said that when the weather was cold and they didn’t have enough blankets, they would cover up with rugs from the floor. Those rugs were braided rugs made from old cloth cut up in strips and rolled into rags. Women would cut the cloth and roll the cloth together with strings and then braid the cloth into a rug.

21 February 2004

Heather: How has the weather been?

Wedding picture of Milton and Audrey MacDonald

Audrey: It has been raining and snowing so now it is muddy. The snow is piled up about five or six feet high. I’m happy and contented here. Everybody in the family is doing well. I’ve got on my white pants and red shirt. They (Alpine Nursing Home staff) are very good here.They take good care of us. Someone helps me get dressed each morning. They are very good nurses. We know them all. They are all pretty young and they wear pretty colors. We cannot find fault with these young women. They are kind and take good care of us.

I love this chair! (light weight “Companion chair” with four small wheels) I get around just like I’m walking.

Theo, she comes out and we have big and long talks in the hall. She’s in Room 10. I’m in Room 4. My room is nice. Everybody likes it here. I have three meals a day and the food is good. Theo plays Solitaire but I haven’t played cards lately.

She lived in West Greenwich and I lived in Anthony when we (Audrey and Milton and Theo and Bill) went to the dances. All the dances were (held) in West Greenwich. In the old days when we went dancing, all the dances were held in an old barn. After Theo and Bill married, they stayed in West Greenwich, and after we (Milton and Audrey) married, we didn’t see each other again. We didn’t get out then. Oh, Dear, my hand is tired!

Heather: I’ll call next Saturday, same time, same station!

16 March 2004

Heather: (Theo came in the room to chat) Theo, tell me about the double dating?

Theo: Milton and my late husband Bill grew up in Hope and they were childhood chums. They pooled their money and got a Ford Roadster Convertible. Every Wednesday and Saturday night, Theo, Bill, Audrey and Milton would go dancing. One night was square dancing and the other night would be round dancing. Bill and Milton would take turns driving and the couple that was not in the driving seat would sit in the rumble seat.

16 March 2004

Heather: What would you do when it rained?

Theo: We would all pile in the front seat. (Laughter)

(Somehow Mother, Theo and I started to sing I love Coffee and Mother knew all the words.)

Audrey: I love coffee. I love tea.
I love the boys and the boys love me.
Tell your mother to hold her tongue.
She had a beau when she was young.
Tell your father to do the same.
He was the one who changed her name.

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