My mother’s autograph book mostly covers the years 1934-36, when she was 12 to 14 years old. As you might expect, most of the entries are from classmates. Some are corny, some a bit flowery and many are simple variations of the “Roses are red” poem.
One of the most interesting to me, however, is this one, dated Aug. 15, 1935:
To Elsie Marie
As the page on which I write;
May there be for thee no cloud of sorrow,
May thy heart never know a blight.
Your old friend
Martha was 73 years old the day she signed my mother’s book. My mother turned 13 that day. That my mother would enter her teenage years in the company of an elderly, non-family member gives you an idea of Martha’s role in my mother’s life.
Mom never met her actual grandparents, who lived in far off Denmark so she adopted Martha, who appears often in Mom’s answers to questions in the “Mom, share your life” book. Here’s one of Mom’s answers:
I met Martha several times before her death at age 99 in 1961 and she was just as Mom described – my adopted great grandma.
Writing prompt for the day: Write about a non-family member who had a great impact in your life.
Photo: Martha Chamberlen holds Elsie (Andersen) Lehmer in 1923 photo. (Walter B. Lehmer collection)