Remembering Anna Jane....
Teacher Anna Jane Stickell was my eighth grade English teacher. She came to the Westtown Friends School in the fall of 1960 having just graduated from Elmira College. My memories of the class include spelling, word definitions, grammar, and reading “The Yearling” among other titles. I was not her strongest student. That year I also had her future husband, S. Warren Krebs, for art in the Bacon Cottage art room. When their relationship developed there was a buzz in middle school. Anna Jane also liked to remind me that one of her favorite senior boys in the dining room was my oldest brother, Chris.
Through the years my family and I saw Anna Jane and Warren on Nantucket. Hospitality was paramount at 57 Union Street. They had moved there for Warren to pursue his painting career. The Krebs family were active members of the community. Anna Jane taught eighth grade English in the middle school. Warren had his studio and gallery in their home, and he was active in the arts and theater on the island. I have several of Warren’s pen and ink and watercolor drawings of Nantucket life. My favorite is “Orange Street Bakery," shown above. Anna Jane had introduced us to Portuguese Sweet Bread which has been a shared favorite.
Anna Jane and I became closer after Warren had died in 2005. Steve and I visited her often on Turkey Hill. Her love of her home which she and Warren had built together, her family and friends, her love of nature, gardens, knitting, cooking, reading, plays, music and (politics) all added to her generous spirit. Her “bookcase” framed her broad interests.
On June 28th Steve and I spent the beautiful day thinking of Anna Jane, weeding, and swimming. Her great sense of humor and infectious laugh amplified her personality. Flying squirrels, trash and local community “dumps” and the “Rev” driving a red sports car always brought hilarious laughter. She readily shared her knowledge, interests, passions, sensitivities and thoughtfulness. Anna Jane was a true gift to me.