My great-aunt Maud was a large part of my childhood. She lived nearby and I spent a lot of my early years following her around.
One Sunday afternoon in July 1947 she thought of several ways to amuse an eight-year old. As she wrote down for me later:
Today Candace and I measured the old elm tree in the back yard planted by my father in 1853. It was thirty feet around at the base. Then we counted my cousins on both Green & Trumbo sides. There were 62 Greens and 31 Trumbos (first cousins) and they had 198 children who would be second cousins to Candace’s mother.
As you can see, she was interested in family connections and I can remember drawing family trees on the back of old rolls of wallpaper at her direction.
She knew how to fold paper into miraculous shapes and forms. We made cornstalks out of newspaper and boats out of typing paper. There was one paper folded boat that went through many forms along the way – a pocket book, a picture frame, a double boat and finally a motorboat. We made nose pinchers, cornucopias for May Day, and lots of other things.
She showed us how to make hollyhock weddings, with a white flower turned upside down, with a bud as a head, for the bride and colorful bridesmaids to accompany her. See an example here.
Sunday dinner began with my father killing a chicken and delivering it to aunt Maud. She would pluck it and clean it, carefully pointing out the gallbladder attached to the liver and warning that breaking it would release bile which would ruin the meal. After the feet were cut off, we had the fun of pulling the tendons to make the toes flex.
She was the unofficial historian of Dayton and knew all the families for miles around. And of course (see above) she was related to almost all of them. I was fortunate to inherit all her family information and her photographs of early Dayton, most of which appear around this web site. I owe a great deal of thanks to this much-loved aunt.