Audrey Mae SpencerSpencer Historical CemeteryHenry Straight / William Spencer Family Cemetery
Vaughn Historical CemeterySpencers of East Greenwich, RI

Posts Tagged Edith

13 November 2002

Heather: When did you begin reading?

Sketched by Audrey, Geraniums on the windowsill

Audrey: When I was 10 years old, I belonged to the Anthony Library Association. We had an old fashioned desk with an opening down (pull down) desktop and the bottom of the desk had books. Mother (Mary Jane Vaughn Spencer) was a great reader. She would sit in the rocking chair by the window and see who was coming in the back of the house. She had geraniums on the windowsill in back of the washing machine and they looked so beautiful. She would have my father’s supper ready and (she would) jump up when she saw him coming home.

Before bed, we would all have crackers and milk. Still that’s all I eat (crackers and milk) and I dip a spoon in the jelly.

20 July 2003

Heather: I never heard of that song. I’ll check with Chuck to see if he knows it. What do you remember about Aunt Edith in your childhood?


Mary Jane Vaughn Spencer and her first daughter, Edith Anna

Audrey: She was so much older than I was. Her teddy bear was “Prince”. The most beautiful doll was “Princess”. Edith had a beautiful doll that was put together with string inside it. I was not supposed to touch it. As soon as Edith got in the car (or horse and buggy, I can’t remember which) to leave for Providence, I ran to get the doll in a little black trunk. The doll had clothes and I would dress and undress it—very carefully and I never got caught. Edith named her old rag doll, Cinderella Angelina Rachel Maude Portia Elizabeth. Everyone cut out rag dolls themselves. I don’t think we could buy them. Rag dolls were the size of a pillowcase. The arms went out straight and were stuffed with cotton. The doll’s lips were black—penciled in. I don’t remember dolls with yellow hair or red lips. That would come later. I played with Cinderella. I remember my phone number. It was 70J4. When they first began, the numbers were shorter.

20 December 2003

H: What was your mother like?

Aunt Mandy, Aunt Rachael, MaryJane Vaughn Spencer and child Edith Anna

She always had a nose in a book. She more or less educated herself. We had an old fashioned locked desk where there were two or three shelves full of books. I remember the one room schoolhouses. They were like little boxes over the hill.

Aunt Mandy was a teacher. Bible was her lesson. Aunt Mandy was the ancestor that saved post cards. I have two handled baskets here with post cards. I was going to college when Aunt Mandy died. You go straight down toward East Greenwich and that was where Aunt Mandy’s house was. The house is gone now.

28 February 2004

Heather: How is life at Alpine?

Audrey: Amber brought over the larger bookcase that Ernie made. He did a beautiful job. She put it in the trunk of her car. The bookcase is beautiful. Ernie made a shelf for my telephone and a place for the wires to go through the back and not get all tangled up in the front. It like a little desk and all I have to do is reach for the phone.

Amber, she has a great mind for thinking things out. She put the bookcase between my bed and the wall next to the window. I still have a clear path to the sink land beyond. Amber worked all day getting everything in order. My books from Emily Dickinson to the Dictionary are all in order. The picture of the (historical) graveyard is set up. She brought cardboard boxes that hold my beautiful cards from Edith. Edith always sent me beautiful cards. She has my bulletin board all set up with pictures. I couldn’t be happier. She set up Belinda’s picture as a nurse. Belinda loves to study and hopes to he a surgeon. I can’t wait! Doctor Belinda!

28 February 2004

Heather: What was the difference in ages between you and your brother and sister?

Audrey: When I was two years, Ed was eight years and Edith was sixteen years. Grandma had an awful time having children. She stayed in bed most of the nine months because she was afraid to lose me like she lost all of the others. When I was born, the doctor gave me a slap on the behind, and Grandma about died because she thought that was awful. The doctor had to slap me because I wasn’t going to breath. Grandma lost babies and had a hard time.

We (Edith, Ed and Audrey) seemed to be stronger. Other babies she lost. When I came along, Grandma was careful. When I was born, I had hair that was very dark. Grandma was very, very happy that I was alive. I was heavy as a baby. I think I was 10 pounds.

Your uncle Robert MacDonald weighed ounces when he was born, but when he grew up to be three hundred pounds. (whereas) I weighed ten pounds at birth but never weighed much more than a hundred pounds when I was an adult. It was just the opposite.

28 February 2004

Heather: Hello, Mother. This is Heather. What day of the week is this?

Audrey: You call me every Saturday and it is Saturday today.

8 May 2004

Heather: How did Grandma [MaryJane (née Vaughn Spencer] prepare the meals, especially in the cold winters or the hot summers when there was no electricity on the farm?


MaryJane Vaughn Spencer

Audrey: We Yankees, we never ate anything bad. We had vegetables from the land. We had plain food from the ground.

Grandma had a can of milk that hung down the well. The can had a cover and a handle and hung down the well. The milk was nice and cold as it hung in the well. Grandma would reach down and pull it (milk container) up. She would reach it and put (pour) milk in her pitcher. Then, she would put the pitcher of cold milk on the table (as we sat down to the table). We had cold milk.

We would hang the ham on a hook in the cellar. As you go down the cellar, about two steps down, you could reach over to the top shelf for butter. Everybody put milk in the well in a can with a lid and handle, and put everything else in the cellar.

It wasn’t easy with the snow. We had the cows in the barn. They would run out and get right back in.

Mother would pay me a penny to take a swallow of milk. Mother would peel a raw potato and dip it in vinegar. The vinegar was in a saucer. I loved vinegar and raw potato. Nobody else liked it, but me. Mother had a hard time to get me to eat anything good. I was a skinny little thing. Every winter I was in bed. I had all those childhood diseases. I would lie in bed and look out the window and wait for the green grass and I’d know it was spring.

School was a mile from my house and when I went there, I had to walk. I think the name of the School was Middle Road School. I would walk through the field. Edith went to a different place in Washington. Ed went to school, but when he went to Anthony, he was happy to get out of that school and go to work.

(Looking out the window at Alpine Nursing Home) here is a nice yellow bird. Here’s two, they are so pretty. Grandma always shook the tablecloth out the window for the birds. Birds would come for the crumbs.

24 July 2004

Heather: Hello Mother, today is Saturday. Did you learn to swim as a kid on the farm?

Audrey: I swan but very funny. I’d keep my head above water. I can’t stand my face in water. We swan in Carr’s pond. We used to walk up to Carr’s Pond. Edith, Ed and I used to go there. I was under ten years. I would sit on a big stone in the middle of the sand. I watched Ed and Edith swim. I went with them. They went swimming and I sat there. I didn’t learn to swim. I don’t think they ever offered to teach me. Dad could swim and I think Grampa did, but I don’t think Grandma liked the water.

28 August 2004

Heather: She never got her money! Did they have any children?

Audrey: Yes, they had Amy, Leah Louise, and Girlie. I always loved the sound of Leah Louise, what a pretty name. The three girls lived in the city and went to school at Auburn in Providence. They came home in the summers.

Richard drove a train, so he was never home. I think he was only home on the weekends. He drove an old fashion auto that he drove to the country. The auto had only one other seat.

Aunt Lottie used the front door only when her three daughters came home. The three daughter lived upstairs and Richard had a small corner room downstairs. The front door opened to a big hall and stairs and each family had their section of the house with their (front) door shut.

Ed and Jenny lived downstairs. My brother (John) Ed was named after his grandfather, John Johnson Spencer.

My brother Ed was Anna Maria and John Johnson’s only grandson* (that lived to adulthood). Grandpa had two daughters, Edith and me, and one son, John “Ed”. (John Edward had no sons.) Richard had three daughters, Amy, Leah and Girlie. (Alfred) Ernest had Marjorie and Richard* who died when he was a boy, around twelve years old, from a heart attack or heart problem.

* This appears to be incorrect.  AudreyMae was 92 years when she made this comment, and this last sentence does not appear to be accurate.  Alfred Ernest’s son, Richard, has a gravestone in the Spencer Family Cemetery on Middle Road.  His gravestone is on one side of Alfred Ernest’s stone and his two daughters’, Deborah’s and Jane’s,  gravestone is on the other side of Alfred Ernest’s stone.  Alfred Ernest’s (“Uncle Ern’s”) son, Richard, grew to adulthood. Richard and two of his daughters are in the Spencer family cemetery.  Was Audrey confused with the sad fact that her brother’s, John Edward’s, first grandchild died at age 12 from a heart condition? Or did the scribe not read her notes correctly? Was Audrey actually talking about the two different grandchildren?

More research is needed.  If any web site reader has more information about this, please add a comment to this site.  Thanks.

4 September 2004

Heather: Hey, Mother, if you say you had pretty kids, then that meant that you were pretty, because ugly people do not have pretty kids!

Audrey: Well, Edith, she was always looking in the mirror and fixing herself up. She was always dressing up and going dancing. But I was just a plain old kid. I never stopped to think about it (fixing myself up). Edith didn’t care about study, but I liked it (studying).