Remembering Anna Jane....

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Dear Laurie, Jenn and families,

 

Dear Ones, I think of your mother every day and still can't quite get my head around that she's not there. Because I wasn't with her in the last days, I think (although I know better) that we're just between our monthly phone calls, and I'll soon hear her voice, asking if this is a good time to chat and do I have a cup of tea, she'd ask with a chuckle in her voice. She'd have coffee, of course. I feel, well, guilty that I wasn't a support when she was struggling although you have told me it wasn't news she really shared.

 

My long and precious friendship with your mom began in autumn 1958 when she came to Swansea University College, University of Wales.  I think she was an exchange student, and I was in my first year there. We lived across the hall in Beck Hall of Residence. I can picture her in my mind's eye, exuberant, always  cheerful, and excited about everything -- even the food we were served. She went home with me on at least one occasion, and I think she enjoyed experiencing English home life. She later told me what a special year that had been although it ended with sadness and her father's death.

 

Little did we know at the end of the year that our friendship would flourish beyond Christmas greetings. When I came to America upon graduation, it was a heartfelt pleasure to reconnect with Anna Jane.  Your mom was teaching at Westtown School then -- and being courted by your father. I visited her there. What a beautiful site! Your mom was not an easy catch; I expect you know all this.  However, Warren was persistent. And it was a thrill when Anna Jane and Warren became engaged and she asked me to be a bridesmaid. Girls, you do know that was a beautiful garden wedding. The weather was perfect, our long blue dresses to die for and large brimmed hats so elegant. Your mom was the perfect bride and gracious in making sure everyone was at ease. I treasure the initialed silver brooch she gave each of her bridesmaids. Dean was a handsome young man passionate about flying, and as a flight attendant for Pan American Airways, I have to say I was not unpopular. 

 

When Bill and I married in 1964, your parents attended our wedding in New York. My parents, sister Susan and brother Christopher flew over for the occasion -- and a holiday, too. Actually they drove south to stay with your parents, and they also met your grandma, Anna Jane's mother. So they must have also gone to Frederick. I do recall your grandma told A.J., “You will have the girls and Angela will have the boys." How did she know that?

 

Do you remember any of our times together on Nantucket? You might not recall that we had mutual friends Lee and Janet Morgan who spent summers on the island. So we had some happy visits. One was a fun evening cook-out on the beach another was dinner at your home. However, busy years raising children and working ourselves meant your mom and I communicated less in those days.

 

Sad really that it was bereavement that brought us closer again although our friendship deepened and our regular phone conversations became both a joy and a support.  Also I was glad that I was able to visit Mom in Florence, September 2014, and spend a few days with her in her beautiful home.  She was her busy self. Of course, we visited the knitting shop, and an unexpected treat was Uncle Dean and Aunt Robbie flying in to visit. That was really the last time that I saw your mom well. We did have plans for more visits, but they didn't happen. As Mom flew Southwest when she traveled to Houston, we did manage a cup of coffee at the airport when she passed through St. Louis with time to spare. That was probably 2018; I was concerned as I saw how she had aged.

 

Dear Ones, I have rambled on (but I could have shared more); I hope you know I loved your mom very much and admired her greatly. She was always positive; she was very intelligent and had a wonderful attitude to life. You were her

world, and she was so proud of you. Thank you for taking the best of care of her. I'd like not to lose touch with you and am keeping you close in my heart.

 

With love,
Angela

 

Angela Ferree

Ballwin, Missouri 

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