To me, she never spoke about her girlhood. Never a mention of her family and siblings…never a word about growing up and helping her parents in their grocery and cafe…unspoken, untold, unsaid.
My maternal grandmother, Isabella Mary Boultinghouse, grew up in Bloomington, Osborne County, Kansas. Whenever we talked, she spoke of farm chores, Saturday night square dances, needlework, and the Busy Bee Club. I knew the names of her best friends. Once in awhile, I heard snippets of news about the neighbors. In my presence, she appeared to live in the present.
As I began my genealogy quest, my grandmother had passed away ten years earlier. In researching, I stumbled across the digitized version of her weekly county newspaper…published every Thursday. What little gems could be uncovered from that Osborne County Farmer?
As a student at the one room Bloomington School, each term she received a certificate for no tardies or absences. Her parents taught her that a girl being educated, responsible, and on time were important. I wondered what her best subjects were and who were her best friends.
She finished her formal education at the age of 16. Then, in the paper, I spied a gem that was totally surprising. She was the teacher for a year (1919-1920) at Bloomington School because the previous teacher was on a leave of absence. She never shared this with me…I became an elementary teacher myself. Wouldn’t she have wanted me to know since we held this in common?
When my Grammy passed away in 1996, she left me two things: a gold-plated fountain pen and a watch on a ribboned pin. Now I am thinking: did she wear the watch and use the pen when she was a school marm? Maybe, that was her way of sealing the connection.