In a previous “True Stories” Episode, I wrote about how a hair-pin turn on a slick day brought 88 year old Mrs. Ruth Holtzclaw and her hand-made quilts and warm delicious pies into our lives. (https://sepetjian.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/true-stories-from-across-the-fruited-plain-episode-1-mrs-ruth-holtzclaw/)
Well, as God would have it, Miss Ruth and I actually collided right in front of the home of Mrs. Millie Uland. Miss Millie (as we affectionately call her), also 88 years old at the time, was Miss Millie’s best friend and family through marriage. (Miss Ruth is actually related to Miss Millie’s 97 year old Husband, Joe.)
I first met Miss Millie when she came outside after my accident with Miss Ruth.
After assessing her friend’s well-being, she began to reveal an untarnished cognitive capability by the depth of historical knowledge as a life-long resident of the area by recounting events and history from nearly a century ago!
She talked about knowing every cat, dog and horse from where we are in the country, all the way to town.
She spoke of riding her pony to school and church, the same Walnut Grove Church that still sits atop our hill which has been active for a hundred and fifty years and which they have both attended their entire lives.
Imagine going to the same church for 90 years!
An old country church that remains open always and ever unlocked to this day.
She mentioned stopping at the spring for a drink where an old iron pot with a leather strap would hang on a nail for passerby’s to quench their thirst; The same spring that is today my water table and the spring which is bottled and sold as Walnut Grove Spring Water.
She even at one point, stretched her arm out, pointing to a corn crib-looking shack across the meadow in the distance in which she was born.
The more she spoke, the more I realized how little this area had actually changed in a century and a half and how much a part of living history Miss Millie actually was! I departed a short time later, but subsequently looked for Miss Millie while passing by to and from town occasionly.
Then, one early Saturday morning last May, I was outside mowing when I saw a car pull up the driveway. As I approached, I was delighted to see it was Miss Millie!
She had stopped by to check on us and bless us with the above hand-made quilt she had made for Vera Eloise, having heard through the country grapevine that we were home with the baby.
She also stopped by to invite us to their Old Timey Walnut Grove Memorial Day Celebration to which we most pleasantly obliged and at which we were most cordially received!
This summer both Miss Ruth and Miss Millie will turn 90! They don’t know it yet, but we have something special planned for our two adopted Grandmother’s!
Across the Fruited Plain Community…I give you…Miss Mille!