Saturday, December 24, 2011

Remembering Grandparents on Christmas

Merry Christmas. For me, Christmas is a nostalgic time as well as a joyous time. It is a time in which I remember the people who have touched my life. One such person is my paternal grandmother, Mary (Fitzgerald) Merrill. My life was touched by her absence.

Mary holding Gil, Lib and Dot,
and Fred Merrill, 1913

Christmas Tree, 1913

In December 1913, my grandparents celebrated Christmas with a tree and a new camera. Fred and Mary were living in Franklin, New Hampshire with their three children: Dorothy Margaret (age 6), Elizabeth Mary (age 2), and Gilbert James Merrill (6 months). I wonder: "Were there presents under the tree for the children to open on Christmas morning? Did Santa stuff special treats in stockings hung by the chimney?" I do know that there was plenty of snow to enjoy that winter. 

Uncle Dan Fitzgerald c. 1913
Mary, Lib, Gil, and Dot, Winter 1913
Above is the only photograph I have of Uncle Dan. Two years later, at the age of 18, Uncle Dan fell through the ice and drowned in Bradley Pond in Andover, New Hampshire. 

Mary, my grandmother and Dan's sister, is shown in the next photograph with her three children. Mary's fourth and final child, Fred, will arrive in 1915. Three months before the Christmas of 1918, Mary died from the Spanish influenza. I miss the stories she would have told if she had lived to see her children grown and married with children of their own.

© 2011, Cathy H Paris

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