Addie Mae (Densmore) Anderson - Andrew Anderson
Born: 10/12/1890 Died: April 1955 - Born: 12/16/1883 Died : 12/10/1970
These are my Anderson Grandparents. My mother’s parents, Grandma Addie died before I was born so unfortunately I never knew her. She had breast cancer. The cancer was in its advanced stages by the time saw a doctor about it. My mother told me that I was quite a bit like her. She quilted and loved to sew and so do I. Her favorite beverage was tea, green tea. So is mine. For years I tried to learn to drink coffee because that was what “everyone” drank but my stomach really did not like the acid it produced so eventually I gave up and started to carry tea bags with me. I was thrilled to discover that it is good for you! And on a not so good note, Mom always told me that “you have the Anderson tummy”. The larger than it should be waistline… She said “the Anderson woman, the Densmore woman and the Hayner woman, they all had it” and mom did too. So do I! It was hard to get rid of in my 40’s and seems impossible in my 50’s. I wish I had known my Grandmother.
I have a feeling that I was more like her than Mom would ever admit. I have the old family photos and in them I have found my Grandmother was not always the conventional “lady” of the 1920’s. I have several pictures of Grandma Addie with Grandpa and with her friends and she is smoking a pipe. I tend to think that my Grandmother did not necessarily “follow the rules”. You know the standard norms of society in 1920. Women did not smoke pipes in the 1920’s but Grandma did.
Well, like my Grandma, I did not exactly follow the rules of society 50 years later. I got pregnant at sixteen and got married. The last few weeks of my junior year, (and before I was married) the school confronted me about the rumors which were circulating around the school, the rumor that I was pregnant. I very defiantly stood my ground. They tried to throw me out of school. I told them that I would finish my school year I told them that I would come to school everyday and they would give me the credits for my classes. And I did finish my junior year. I told the school officials that I would follow their “rule” for the fall semester when I was big and pregnant but I warned them that I would be back for the winter semester. I did go back to school after my son was born. I finished school and graduated with my original senior class in the spring. It was the first time that a teen mother came back after giving birth and finished her senior year. It was one of the hardest things I have every done…Take care of a newborn and do home work but I had told the school I was going do it and I was going to do it. As it turned out, my younger sister was in Jr High school and due to over crowding, the school implemented a split school schedule so the High school building could be used for Jr High and High School. She went in the afternoon and I went in the morning so she watch my son (with the assistance of Grandma), while I went to school. I could never have done it with out her. Let’s just say quite a few of my Mother and Dad’s gray hairs came from me…
I never took the easy path. I tested every rule and followed the path least traveled. I have come to believe that it was the way my Grandma did it too. My Grandpa sailed the Great Lakes and was gone for weeks on end. That meant that Grandma was left at home to raise 8 children and run a household by herself. It meant that she made many decisions because she could not wait until Grandpa came home to help her. That is no small feat for a lady in the 1920’s and 1930’s. So I think that we were very much alike, my Grandma and me. She gave me my “spunk” that I am very proud of. Thank–you Grandma! We'll talk about Grandpa Anderson next time!