This quilt was on my bed when I was a child. I was
12 when "Grammy" died. She was a special and precious
part of my childhood, spending hours telling me stories of the farm,
teaching me to bake, sharing her love of animals and nature. I knew
the words to "O Canada" before I learnded the "Star
Spangled Banner". Every afternoon she had a "proper tea"
with her own china pot and silver tea ball. I can picture her sitting
in her rocker making a rag rug. I still hear her voice with the
Canadian accent she never lost. After she died, the quilt was a
tangible reminder of her, and I often ran my fingers over the stitches
in each flower, trying to decide which was my favorite.
Even though I have never lived in Michigan, my roots are firmly
embedded in Arenac County. I spent summers with my aunts and uncles
and several times visited the farm.
Maple Grove Stock Farm was almost entirely self-sufficient. There
was a dairy herd, sheep, pigs and chickens. The workhorses were
half Cleveland Bay and Percheron, raised and trained there. There
was an apple orchard and a sugar bush. In the late 1800s Chautaquas
were held in the maple grove. The first pure bred Holstein bull
in that part of Michigan was imported by my grandfather.
In 1918 he died in the Influenza epidemic. He was only in his 40s.
My grandmother raised 5 children and worked that farm with the help
of hired men. I cannot imagind how hard she must have worked.
My grandparents, aunts, and uncles are interred in Maple Ridge Cemetary,
about a mile from the farm. Last summer I placed my parents' ashes
there. They are together in the Michigan they all loved so.