26 November 2008


Mother in Irwin's Chapel, primitive church,
Musuem of Appalachia, Norris, TN., Nov. 1984.

Mary Savage Collins (click on her name to read her obit) is 94 years old today (day of original post) but she died early July, `08. I confess ambivalence about her. She’s a bundle of contradictions. She saw herself as constant. And in her way she was persistent, steadfast, and unyielding. In her final years she'd run you over with her zippiddy-doo-da walker and thoroughly enjoy gossiping with you while doing it.

Self-reflection was contrary to her natural confidence and authority. She wept over the blessing of a meal yet attended any church because the minister was handsome. She was a letter writer and diarist in a time when letter writers and diarists were declining. She was a natural organizer and keeper of papers, business documents, my formal wording giving a sense of the formality of her persona. At the same time she was a party girl and if there was ever a woman of her time to whom the saying, “Girls just want to have fun,” it described my Mother. This girl liked to play, party, and imbibe.

She was a keen observer and retainer of names and faces and of those names and faces who aspired into public places. She was a farm girl who attended Connecticut College for women during the Great Depression. She wanted to get off and away from her father's fruit and chicken farm and her family's ancestral grounds. She succeeded but just by an hour's drive. During the Depression the Hartford Courant did a feature article on her because she looked so like The Duchess of Windsor and maybe because she was one of the smart ones who left the family farm and used a typewriter and worked in the department of education and lived in the big city. She kept a copy of it and naturally showed it off and she was so proud of the comparison and the likeness was uncanny. Her ashes rest in the Wilcox Cemetery of Berlin, CT. besides 375 years of Savage family members.

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