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Carrie Lena MARR 

3 Dec 1891 to 19 May 1978

Grammie’s happy spirit remained with her until she had to be confined to the nursing home in Vermont.  That broke her spirit as nothing else had done.  It was such a blow to her pride and to her idea of how families treated one another.
    Carrie Lena Marr was the only girl and youngest child in a family of six.  I am sure she was beloved, petted, and spoiled.  But as in any farm family there were responsibilities and she had her share.  The only one I remember her talking about, and it must have made a deep impression of some kind, was that it was her duty to empty the night pails every morning.  One day she stumbled and dumped the pail down the back stairs.  She had to clean up the whole mess by herself.  I think she was 8 at the time.
    Grammie had a deep sense of family pride.  In her day, the family farm was a show place.  Her self-esteem kept her in good physical condition, upright posture, well dressed, wearing jewelry, and with her hair coifed.  The woman who found her after her stroke was there to take her to her hair dresser’s appointment.
    Grammie was independent.  At the age of 70 she was working in a nursing home, for old people she said, cooking for some who were younger than she.  Until her stroke, she helped prepare the food for the daily hot meal at the Senior Citizen meeting place.
    After her stroke, she would beg Uncle Mel or Uncle Reynard to take her home with them.  She said she would keep house for them.  ( A granddaughter worked at the nursing home where Grammie lived.)

    When Carrie was just a little girl, Charlie was a friend of one of her brothers.  He was so impressed with her that he vowed to wait for her to grow up and marry her.  She was such a charming little girl it is easy to understand but surprising that it really happened.
    Her spirit of adventure led her to follow Charlie across Canada to the different construction camps as he plied his trade of carpenter.  At one of these camps, she lost her first child Lena at 4 months.  Also at one of these camps, she bore Melvin, a surviving healthy twin.
The other twin died sometime during the pregnancy. (That twin is in a museum in New Hampshire.)  She told me what she drank during this pregnancy but I have forgotten.  Whatever it was apparently drained the poison from her system and allowed her to deliver a healthy living child; a miracle even in this day and age.  Esther was born five years later and Bill two years after that.
    Charlie and Carrie’s dream was to move their family to the United States.  To this end, Charlie took a job in Philadelphia, while she stayed home (Digby, Nova Scotia) to look after Uncle Will and save their money.  As you all know Charlie died in Philadelphia not having been home for two years.  Carrie was determined to fulfill their dream.  She invested her insurance money in a Vermont farm, in partnership with Uncle Peter and Aunt Annie (Charlie’s sister).  This was during the depression and they lost their investment.  Carrie took a series of jobs as housekeeper and cook, always trying to improve their lot.  Even though she had offers, she determined never to let another man raise her children and remained single.
    Esther and Melvin remember her singing around the house and making hot chocolate after sledding.  She did a remarkable job under less than ideal circumstances raising three outstanding children.
    Charlie was a happy person who also liked to sing and go to church.  Melvin remembers that they would sometimes attend as many as three meetings on Sunday.  (He will make a good Mormon.)  Esther remembered that he was a very loving person, holding her on his lap and being very affectionate.
    Carrie was very artistic.  In later years when she had the time she did a lot of ceramics.  Each of us has several pieces to give us daily memories.  She also knitted and crocheted.  I think each child has an afghan that she made.  When she was in the nursing home she won first prize for her original patriotic design of bells in needlework.  With all the hardships of her life, I never heard one word of complaint about anything.  I think she enjoyed meeting and conquering the challenges of life.         She loved to travel, and made a trip to Bermuda with the senior citizens.  She wanted to go to Hawaii but wanted more to have money in the bank to leave to each of her children.  After she moved to the states, she never returned to Nova Scotia until 1952.  We attended services at the Baptist Church where Charlie’s funeral service was held.  We sat in the same pew where she sat during this service.  She sobbed all the way through as memories returned in wave after wave. 
While she was working as a pastry cook at The Chimes in Bellows Falls, she became a good friend with the cook, Nick Polizos.  They had many good times together and Nick became a good friend to all of the family.  She nursed him tenderly in her flat when he became terminally ill with cancer.  She could never again sleep in her bedroom but instead slept in the little room off the kitchen where she moved to make Nick comfortable in the bigger room. 
She was a perfectionist in many ways, obedient, respectful, a child of her times; she was reserved in expressing her feelings.  She loved to give gifts, Christmas, birthday, anniversary, Valentines, to children, in-laws, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She wanted everyone to have a memento and had all of her possessions tagged or instructions written for dispersal.   She tried very hard to be fair.

        Written by: Betty Louise Souder Spittle (age 56) in December 1983

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