7/13/2008

Happy Birthday, Nanny


Louise Cobb Diggle
Born: July 13, 1886, Charlotte, NC
Died: July 10, 1956, Charlotte, NC
She married Samuel Lewis Diggle in 1910 and by 1923 they had eight children. My father Robert was the fourth child - the third of three boys.

By the spelling of my name, Ellouise, you can tell Mama figured out a way to name me for both grand-mothers - Ellie Hall Keasler Baer,her mother, and Louise Diggle, Daddy's mother. If Mama had gone into labor just a bit sooner I would have been born on Nanny's birthday instead of Bastille Day.

Nanny has been dead fifty-two years but I still have vivid memories of her and I have a few tangibles;
1. a silk scarf she bought for me in Ivey's Department Store when I was about 15 - not particularly pretty to my eyes now - but I can't part with it.
2. the silver flat ware she left to me in an informal personal will she wrote on blue stationery the night before she went to Duke Unv. Hospital for surgery for an aortic aneurysm.
3. the small framed picture of Confederate flags that used to hang in Papa Sam's home office.
4. definitely ugly pewter urns that once sat on her living room mantle.
5. a stack of old books from a literary society she belonged to in the 1930s.
6. a worn flannel receiving blanket edged with handmade tatted lace that she made for her first great-grand child - our son Jimmy - before she died.

What does this tell you?
I was her second grand-daughter, the child of a troubling son and a daughter-in-law she little approved of and barely knew. I admired and loved her from arm's length. That smacks of a side bar in a southern novel.

The tangibles are the stuff of attic museums - if anyone knows the person. In this case, since I am the only one in my immediate family who knew her or remembers her, my guess is - this stuff is headed for the dumpster.

Unless, I can make art out of it - or give it a story. Or toss it myself.

Its time, isn't it - to think of these things.

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