Saturday, June 09, 2007

Clara Barnes Marsh

June 9, 1885 – June 26, 1980

As I enter my septuagenarian decade, I am growing more aware of family members who passed this way before me. My Aunt Clara lived to be the oldest in the family, dying at age 95. It is hard for me to believe that I knew so well, and spent so much time with, a person who was born in the 19th century 112 years ago today.

Aunt Clara was my mother’s older sister, the oldest of the four Barnes children born at the end of the 1800s in Kansas City, Missouri. Aunt Clara was born at home in the house near Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral where the Convention Center now stands.

She married a “railroad man” and moved to Chicago. She lost her husband and an infant daughter in the flu epidemic that swept the country in 1918. She never remarried and remained a widow the rest of her life. She was a “career woman” long before such were common and was a valued “Executive Assistant” for many years.

She never learned to drive, and walked everywhere or rode the bus right up until just before she died. She returned to live in Kansas City in 1957 when her sister, my mother, died and she “took care” of me for over twenty years. She lived on The Plaza in a brick apartment building across from Winstead’s. It’s long gone now and a glass building now stands where we used to sit on her porch all bundled up and watch the Christmas lights come on.

She earned extra money on the side by knitting tiny baby garments for all her friends and co-workers to give as gifts for new arrivals. I’m sure she is up there now knitting a tiny cap for Windy’s little one.

Her apartment smelled like lavender and old lace and I miss her still. Rest in peace, Aunt Clara.


Blogger Scott said...

Me too

9:04 AM  

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