Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fanny Wolford Jasper Walsh

Fanny is behind the camera - obviously

Sometime between 1930 and 1935, Fanny Jasper left Hogue, KY. She had graduated Science Hill High School in 1929. For a few years, she took turns taking courses at the University of Kentucky with her six sisters. Some were teaching school and funding the other's classes - then they would switch places. Each sister provided some money for the other's education. At some point, the story goes, a traveling magazine salesman came through town.  Fanny and her sister Nell took a leap of faith, and joined him. They left the farm and coal country Kentucky and traveled east. Nell didn't make it very far before she returned to Kentucky. But Fanny continued on to Washington DC where she retired from magazine sales and started a new life. 

Fanny met a young man named Edward Jerome Walsh. He had left the coal country of Scranton Pennsylvania for the opportunities of Washington.  They married at The Shoreham Hotel  in October of 1940 and set out on their greatest adventure. 

Fanny and Ed found a neighborhood being developed at the tail end of Massachusetts Avenue. It was far out in the boonies of Maryland.  The buses wouldn't even go there. Everything stopped at the DC line two miles away. They invested $9000 in the building of their new house. A sum that the Jaspers cautioned they would never recoup. The address was 4 Ardmore Circle, Washington, DC.

In that dream house, they started their family. Edward, jr. graced their lives during WWII. Five years later, in 1947, Fanny gave birth to a little girl with dark curls. In another five years, a tow-headed girl would follow.

Suzanne Elizabeth Walsh was born in Columbia Hospital for Women on April 19th, 1947. She was named for Fanny's sister Susan Elizabeth, but with a touch of Fanny's flair. Indeed. 

I am grateful for so very many things today.

But my Mom told me to always celebrate the MOTHER on a birthday. The mother, she said, had done all the work that day.

So today, let's celebrate Fanny Jasper Walsh. A truly remarkable woman who loved flowers and hats and Washington and her three incredible children, Ed, Suzanne and Kate. 

Well done, GrandMom. Well done.

PS - To Walsh women, I will spend today wearing Jeane Nate', hunting eggs and taking photos. And thinking of you.