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Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, January 31, 1991

Courting in buggy, Rose Bowl chariot races part of past


By Marion Henderson

She was "courted" in a horse-drawn buggy.

She saw one of the first Tournament of Roses parades where there were chariot races instead of a football game held in conjunction with the parade.

She remembers traveling from Corning to Kansas by "spring wagon."

Edna ANDERSON of Mount Ayr, who was 100 years old on Jan. 20, 1991, has found that one can collect many such treasured memories in a century of living.

Her great-grandson, Dan SNYDER of Brooklyn, IA was born on her birth date, so when she was observing her 100th birthday anniversary on Jan. 20, 1991 at a party in the community room of Clearview Home in Mount Ayr, Dan was celebrating his 21st.

Mrs. ANDERSON's daughter, Thelma RUSK, (grandmother of Dan) quipped, "You are both 'coming of age'."

Most probably will celebrate a 21st birthday anniversary but few are privileged to enjoy 100 years of life, particulary to the extent that Mrs. ANDERSON has.

A picture of Mrs. ANDERSON being greeted by 101-year-old Grant HAYES at her party, that appeared in the Record-News edition of Jan. 24, depicts her face the zest for life that she has.

Mrs. ANDERSON was born on an Adams County, IA farm and came to Mount Ayr in 1910 with her parents George A. and Fannie (RICHARDS) TENNANT.

Edna was the eldest of the TENNANT family of four. There was a brother, Carl, who was two years younger; another brother, Maurice, who was three and on-half years younger, and a sister, Gladys (PRENTIS), who was 11 and one-half years younger. Edna is the only one still living.

One of her early memories is of when the Adams County family farm house burned and the women, who came to help, were carrying tubs of water from the pump in an in-vain effort to put out the fire.

She also remembers her and her parents traveling from Corning to Lyndon, KS by spring wagon (a mule-drawn, buggy-wagon type of vehicle). When a tongue on the wagon broke, the family camped out on the ground in a grassy place while the repair was made.

A thunderstorm sent them scurrying to get everything back in teh wagon so they and their belongings wouldn't get wet.

Rose Bowl

When Edna's mother developed health problems the family moved to California where they spent eight years. (This was the only time that Edna wasn't residing in Iowa, most of the time in Ringgold County.) It took them four days, on the train, to get there.

The family had to live grugally while there and one of the things that was done was to obtain sea shells. Each family member had one at his/her place with a day's ration of butter placed in the shell. You could eat it all at one meal or extend it to last all day.

While in California the family lived on the "parade route" of the Tournament of Roses parade. Edna can remember her father selling ham sandwiches the family had made to those who were going to the big parade. It was truly a "rose parade" as roses were used almost entirely in making the beautiful floats.

The Iowa Hawkeyes wouldn't have gone to the Rose Parade and other festivities that Edna saw, as they did to the 1990 one where they competed on the football field.

There wasn't football competition but rather there were chariot races, reminiscent of ancient times. These chariots Edna saw in California were drawn by four horses.

On crutches 14 years

Edna developed tuberculosis of the bone when she ws one and one-half years old. It affected her hip and one knee. At age three she had an operation on her hip that enabled her to stand and walk by leaning on rosewood crutches. She was to spend 14 years using crutches.

She had formal schooling through the sixth grade and then protested, "I won't go to school on crutches." At that time children could be cruel to those with anything different about them.

Edna had a great desire for an education and was curious about the world about her. In order to facilitate continuing education, she developed an unquenchable thirst for reading, particularly books about history and religion. Those who brought her books from the library, brought her only the highest type.

Marries Jesse

After going with Jesse ANDERSON (J. M.) for five years she became his bride.

She was able to "walk down the aisle" at the ceremony because earlier, when she was 24-years-old, she had submitted to a knee operation at Mayo Brothers clinic in Rochester, MI. (sic, should be MN, Minnesota)

Interestingly, her two brothers couldn't attend the wedding, held at the parents' home on the road to Delphos, because they were in the military during World War I.

One family member suggested they place two United States flags they had on two chairs in order to feel the presence of the absent brothers.

During those years of "courting", the two traveld in a horse-drawn buggy, with "squeaky wheels." The family album contains a picture of them in the buggy, a forerunner of a one-seat car Jesse purchased just before they were married. "I had to sit close to the driver," Edna says.

Edna's role became that of wife, homemaker and mother to their three children, daughters Marion ANDERSON and Thelma ANDERSON RUSK; and son Max ANDERSON, all of Mount Ayr.

Jesse shared 52 years of married life with Edna before his death in 1969. His in-laws and later his son were to work with him in the operation of the Mount Ayr Mill and Feed store.

Their family circle was to expand to include Max and Maxine's daughter, Sharla NORRIS and husband Steve of Kellerton and two grandchildren, Shannon and Scott; and their son, Kelly ANDERSON of Mount Ayr and his bride-to-be Debbie LOURY.

Thelma and Bill RUSK provided four grandchildren: daughter Billie SNYDER of Brookly and her husband Ron, and their two sons, Dan and Nathan; son Andy of Loveland, CO and his daughter, Courtney; son Scott and his wife Norma of Nevada, IA and their daughter, Monica, and son Jesse; and daughter Bobbie RUSK of Houston, TX.

All were in Mount Ayr for the 100th birthday anniversary celebration and joined with the others who came to make an even 100 who signed the guest book.

THrough the years there was a great deal of "family fun" at the ANDERSON house, including outdoor games of croquet and horseshoes.

A quilt for each one
Testimony to how much her family meant to her is that each of her children and grandchildren have received a quilt, handmade especially for them by Edna ANDERSON.

Mrs. ANDERSON put first her role of wife and mother. Most of these years were during a time when "woman's place was in the home." Edna felt comfortable in this place. She thought that many things could be settled by a family sitting down at the table and talking things over.

She also believed that a mother has an excellent opportunity to teach youngsters life's values and to educate them about daily living as they communicate as a family at home.

Even though the business community in which her husband worked changed a great deal through the years, some of the ANDERSON's valued endured.

Her life in the community was spent mostly working in the United Methodist church and taking leadership in its women's organizations; as a member of Antiques and Literature Clubs; in a social club of young mothers (who still continue to meet even though that designation is no longer appropriate), the Narcissus Club; and in Chapter CK, P.E.O.

The gathering in her honor Jan. 20, 1991, caused her to reflect on her 100 years of lving and remember the wealth of experiences she had been able to enjoy.

Transciption by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2010

To submit your Tales From The Front Porch, contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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