Loretta

It was 1752 when that old smarty, Benjamin Franklin, went out in the middle of a storm and flew a kite in a rain storm to prove that lightning had electrical power that might be harnessed.

But it was quite a while before electricity was harnessed for household use.

So, in the late 1800s things were different than they are today, many things.

Few country people had electricity.

Water had to be pumped into a bucket and carried to the house.

Needless to say, there was no indoor plumbing; so there were outhouses instead of bathrooms.

Miss Annie was young then; young and single. She lived with her parents, and every Saturday her father loaded their milk wagon with large cans of milk.

Miss Annie would put on a clean dress and bonnet and she would climb up onto the buckboard seat and ride with her father into town.

How pretty she must have looked.

Up and down the streets they went, selling milk and cheese to their regular customers.

A few of the regulars would pre-arrange and Mr. Leydinger would bring them a couple pounds of sausage or side meat.

With the money they received from their milk and meat products, they could buy those items that could not be produced in the barn or the garden.

The folks in town all knew Miss Annie. They saw her every Saturday when they made their rounds. She knew a lot of people, yet she never married.

Times were different then. There were fewer nursing homes and retirement facilities.

It was often the case that one child would not marry but stayed at home to take care of their parents, for as long as the parents lived.

That seemed to be the case with Miss Annie.

I met Miss Annie when I was 10 years old. By then, her parents were dead and she had been living alone in that big old house.

Branson Nelson was a man of large stature and clever business acumen. He knew that Miss Annie did not need to be taking care of that big house and all of that acreage.

He made her an offer. He would build her a very nice, modern house with a bathroom and new electric appliances and look out for her, as long as she lived, in return for that house and all of that property.

So the deal was made and a well was drilled and a nice house built, four rooms and bath with new electric appliances. He added a garage for her black Model “T,” which she drove only to church and to the market.

My father built our house right across the driveway from Miss Annie’s new house. She was a nice lady and we soon fell in love with her.

Time passed and her legs became weak. She devised pads for her knees and I remember seeing her, on her knees, wiping off the table.

It was decided that she could no longer live independently, so they came with an ambulance and took her away.

My mother and I stood on our big front steps and watched as they took her out on a stretcher. She was crying and I was confused.

“Why is she crying?” I asked my mother. “Are they mean to them at the nursing Home?”

“No,” my mother replied, “It is just that she knows that she will never see her home again.”

I was 13 years old. I had known her less than three years, but she was a sweet lady and I never have forgotten her.

Loretta Nazelrod Brown is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears every other Sunday in the Times-News.

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