Although my great grandmother Amanda knew me, I have no memories of her since she died when I was not yet five years old. For most of my childhood, the only think I knew of her was that she owned a box fan and had written her name on it in permanent marker. Somehow, it became property of my family and was my own personal box fan when we lived in our old seven bedroom farmhouse with no air conditioning. I know a lot about her ancestors thanks to a wonderful book that my grandmother gave me years ago but know very little about Amanda. While processing sweetcorn on the farm with my mother earlier this year, we got to talking about Amanda and husband Charles and I asked my mom what Amanda was like.
My mom said she was a straight laced baptist and thought all her children were going to hell for letting their children, Amanda's grandchildren go astray. My mom said she has memories of playing card games with her cousins and the games getting a little wild. She said one time Amanda gathered up the playing cards, spread them on a cookie sheet and baked them!
Amanda once got hit by a train and though she survived the incident, she got busted up pretty badly and had lots of scabs all over her legs. I remember my grandma talking about how the family dog spent a lot of time licking at the scabs which all healed so nicely that my great grandmother Amanda always credited it with her recovery. I forgot all about that story until my mom retold it and now I think I should spend some time searching and see if I can find a newspaper article on the subject.
My great grandfather Charles spent most of his life working at a John Deere factory and smoking and thus died of lung cancer of his only remaining lung the year before I was born. His wife Amanda would live another six years and die of Parkinson's disease which at the time, they theorized may have been caused by the trauma of being hit by a train.