dIn honor of Mother’s Day, I’d like to share some stories written by my husband’s grandmother, Nellie Kathleen Aldrich Roddy. These stories are excerpted from a handwritten manuscript which starts “My grandson, Mark Robert Roddy, asked me to write about my early childhood days, so I’ve tried to go back and remember my time from 1907 thru about 1930.”
“I was born 9 Dec 1907 in our home on East High St. in Springfield, Ohio. I already had a sister, Mildred born on Maiden Lane, Springfield, Ohio on 14 Oct 1906. My brother, Harry P. Aldrich was born 18 Mar 1909 on Lagonda Ave, two months after our father Harry P. Aldrich died, 4 Jan 1909.
“My mother, Hannah e Allender Aldrich was born 4 Nov 1883 near Romney, W. Va. and was left with three small children to care for alone. She could have placed us in a Home operated by the Junior Order of American Mechanics Lodge, that my father belonged to, but she never did. She told me later, years later, that if she had had to, she would have placed us in the Home, which was located in Marion, Ohio, and got work close by, as parents were not permitted to work in the Home with their children there. However, instead she rented a large house near the shop area where there were many working men and operated a Hotel, on a small scale. Her brother Riley and some of his friends rented rooms and slept and ate there, and during dinner time, many other workers ate meals there during their work days.
“With three small children to care for, all under three years of age, feed us, make our clothes and do all that was necessary to grow us up, she was a busy young woman about 26 years of age. She had hired girls to help her but she said some of them were “tired” girls…
“She was very frugal and could “make out” on what little income women were able to earn in those times. City life was not to her liking, the only real and decent way of life was farming. She rented a farm in the area of Enon, Ohio and with the help of her brother Riley, took up farming with her little family….
“My mother was an exacting and honorable taskmaster and would not tolerate slipshod farming nor mistreatment of the animals, mostly horses, all all farming then depended on “horse power.” My mother then gave up farming, her love of a way of life, due to lack of help and moved back to Springfield with her little family.
“There in town she bought a large double house (an almost unheard of event for a widow with three children) on W. High St., and rented one half of the house and we all lived in the other half. This must have been in 1911 or 1912 because I went to Grayhill School a few months and I would have been 6 in Dec. 1913.”
I love to have these stories of Hannah written by her daughter. In them you can hear a daughter’s pride and admiration for her mother and see the strength and fortitude of a young woman, dealt a pretty tough hand, who got up every morning, put one foot in front of the other, and did what needed to get done. Hats off to you, Grammy Hannah and Grandma Nellie.
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.