Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Christmas Baby

Transcribed from Sarah's scrapbooks:

On December 20th 1896 the great event occurred – Leonora was born. I was overjoyed, the time seemed so long to wait, although I was occupied in school, of course. Aunt Sallie Goslee came over and was with Mama, Dr. Holmes and the nurse, Mrs. Becky Holloway, when the baby was born, about three o’clock on Sunday afternoon. Papa stayed in with her most of the time, but a good deal of the time he sat in the back room with me on his lap. When we heard Mama cry out, towards the last, I hid my face against him, and I remember he said “We hate to have Mama suffer so, but it will be over so soon, and she will be so glad to have the baby,” – and sure enough, it was soon after that, that Aunt Sallie came to the door and said “It’s a little girl (only she said guhl) and such a nice little baby!”

Leonora Alice Howe, age 13 months,
January 1898
I was inordinately proud of the baby, and wrote to Grandma and the Aunts that she had “Maltese Grandma [Sarah Evaline Arnet] Cost had one of the cousins (who crocheted for money) to make a wonderful white and blue sacque, it has puffed sleeves, in the prevailing woman’s styles and a sort of ribbed effect, very elaborate. It was still the fashion for babies to wear long clothes for at least five months before they were “shortened” just as 14 year old girls began to get their dresses “lengthened”; by the time one was sixteen dresses should reach the “shoetops” (high shoes, of course, by 18 “the ankles” and from then on, sweep the ground in successive waves. (It was pretty too, don’t let anyone tell you it wasn’t.) Grandma [Sarah "Sallie"Brown] Howe gave Leonora two most beautiful dresses, with delicate lace and “insertion” and “rolled and whipped ruffles."
eyes” and didn’t [writing not legible] write back to me that she wouldn’t have thought it of me to say the new little sister had cat-eyes! I remember too my delight over the clothes for the “Winter Baby.”

Howe Children – Sarah & Chandler – 1889
She had numerous other gifts of course. She had two, a white embroidered cashmere cloak, very long, and a white silk cap also embroidered. The heavy walnut cradle used by both Chandler [Sarah's brother, Chandler Harper Howe, born in 1888, died in 1889 of pneumonia] and myself was brought from storage for her. It didn’t rock on rockers like a chair but had a solid foundation with rollers, and the rockers moved in grooves on the crosspieces. (Mama afterwards gave it to Lee Cost Russell, for her children.) “Becky” Holloway, Mama’s nurse, stayed with us for weeks. Maggie Donnelly worked for us too all that time, and for about a year or more afterwards. Maggie afterwards married Albert McMillen, they kept the restaurant where Leonora & Mama used to eat when they stayed at Miss Rose Arnett's.

Leonora became an accomplished pianist and music teacher. She was the second wife of Charles Kipping, a pharmaceutical salesman based in Carrollton, Kentucky. More about Leonora will be included in future posts.

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