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Charlotte Hirst

Charlotte Hirst

Female 1859 - 1942  (82 years)  Submit Photo / DocumentSubmit Photo / Document    Has 17 ancestors and 36 descendants in this family tree.

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  • Name Charlotte Hirst 
    Birth 9 Dec 1859  Todmorden, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Initiatory (LDS) 6 Jan 1881  EHOUS Find all individuals with events at this location 
    FamilySearch ID KWCD-FN1 
    Death 6 Aug 1942  Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Burial 8 Aug 1942  Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Headstones Submit Headstone Photo Submit Headstone Photo 
    Person ID I131  mytree
    Last Modified 25 Feb 2024 

    Father John Hirst,   b. 7 Jan 1816, Slaithwaite, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 7 Sep 1878, Brighton, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 62 years) 
    Mother Charlotte Brook,   b. 20 Feb 1819, Salendine Nook, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 20 Jun 1880, Brighton, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 61 years) 
    Marriage 5 Nov 1837  Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F102  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family John Abraham Coon,   b. 22 Feb 1857, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 8 Oct 1934, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 77 years) 
    Marriage 6 Jan 1881  Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    +1. John Bert Coon,   b. 15 Nov 1881, Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 11 Jul 1963, Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 81 years)
    +2. Bertha Coon,   b. 23 Jun 1884, Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 24 Jan 1981, Sandy, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 96 years)
     3. Charles Lorus Coon,   b. 18 Mar 1887, Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 28 Dec 1889, Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 2 years)
     4. Myrtle Coon,   b. 19 May 1889, Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 24 Oct 1918, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 29 years)
    +5. Roswell Hirst Coon,   b. 4 Dec 1892, Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 24 Feb 1978 (Age 85 years)
    +6. Rudgar York Coon,   b. 30 Mar 1896, Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 11 May 1989 (Age 93 years)
     7. Archie Brook Coon,   b. 18 Jul 1901, Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 25 Sep 1964, San Diego, San Diego, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 63 years)
    +8. Clifford Alton Coon,   b. 23 Jun 1904, Pleasant Green, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 7 Jul 1993, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 89 years)
    Family ID F132  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 20 May 2024 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 9 Dec 1859 - Todmorden, Yorkshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsInitiatory (LDS) - 6 Jan 1881 - EHOUS Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - 6 Jan 1881 - Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 6 Aug 1942 - Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - 8 Aug 1942 - Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Pioneer
      John G. Holman Company (1868)
      Age at Departure: 8

      Holman's ox train of 62 wagons left the rail terminus at Benton, Wyomin g , on September 1 with 628 emigrants. Benton was located 11 miles eas t o f present-day Rawlins, Wyoming. This end-of-track town was in existen ce f or only three months, but during its brief history more than 100 peo ple w ere reported to have died there in gunfights. The company was delay ed i n Benton when a woman in their company was arrested on a trumped-u p charg e and they had to wait for her trial. U.S. soldiers had to protec t the co mpany when an enraged mob from the railroad town marched on th e wagon com pany. The mob had been angered by false rumors to the effec t that the Mor mons were intent on taking a woman to Utah against her wil l.

      Most of those who traveled to Utah in Holman's company crossed the Atlan t ic aboard the ship Emerald Isle. Many in this company were Danes and Sw ed es who suffered much sickness while crossing the ocean and after landi n g in New York. Also traveling with the company were 8 independent wago n s with about 40 passengers. After getting off the train and being load e d into the Church wagons, this company traveled in a northwesterly dire ct ion from Benton through Whiskey Gap and northward from there until the y r eached the Sweetwater River and the old emigrant road on September 8 . A s did many other companies in the 1860s, after coming through Echo Ca nyo n they traveled to Silver Creek and then down Parley's Canyon into th e va lley. They arrived in Salt Lake on September 25. Twenty-two people d ied b etween Benton and Salt Lake.



      History of
      Charlotte Hirst Coon
      1859-1942
      By Bertha Coon Chambers, daughter
      Retyped by Victoria Wilson Chambers, great granddaughter-in-law, 2017

      Charlotte Hirst Coon was born in Todmordon, Lancashire, England, Decemb e r 9, 1859. She was the twelfth of thirteen children, three boys, two d ie d in infancy and ten girls, one of whom died at the age of eighteen.
      Her father was a farmer and a weaver of fine cloth in that little Engli s h village. Both her parents, John and Charlotte Brook Hirst, were stau nc h Latter-day Saints, having joined the Church before Charlotte’s birth , a nd for sixteen years John Hirst had labored as a home missionary an d trav eling elder throughout England. During this time his home was alw ays ope n to missionaries, among them were Charles W. Penrod and many oth er promi nent men of the Church. For years all in the family who were ab le to d o so worked and saved their hard-earned money that they might g o to Utah ; and by the year 1868, they were ready to depart from the lan d of thei r birth.
      This they did with mingled feelings of joy and sorrow—joy at the prospe c t of journeying to a new land—and sorrow because three of the girls wh o w ere married remained behind. Later two of these girls came to Utah , th e other one never saw her family again, with the exception of her br othe r John, who went to England on a mission many years later.
      The family embarked on the little packet ship Emerald Isle, an old-fashi o ned sailing vessel, with a company of 876 saints under the leadershi p o f Hans Jensen Hals. [Leaving Liverpool 6.20.1868 and arriving in Ne w Yor k 8.14.1868.] Incidentally this was the last group of saints to cr oss th e ocean in a sailing vessel, and also the last trip for the ship ; on th e return voyage it sank with crew and cargo.
      The long tedious journey of eight heart-breaking weeks was marked by ma n y sad incidents—terrific storms were encountered all the way and the ap pa ratus used for filtering the drinking water became unserviceable. The y a ll had to drink water from huge storage tanks in an unfiltered condit ion . Charlotte recalls her mother boiling Chamomile flowers in the wate r t o purify it. Many became very ill, thirty-seven adults and childre n died . Although just eight years of age at this time, Charlotte ha d a vivid r ecollection of seeing the bodies being lowered into the ocean . One day , during a heavy galea huge rope swung behind her and she wa s swept acros s the deck. A sailor rescued her and returned her to safet y.
      On the tenth of July her married sister, Nancy Dearden, gave birth t o a b aby girl who was named Emerald at the request of the Captain. Arri ving i n New York, August 11, they left by rail for Benton, Wyoming and a rrive d August 25. On September 1st with John Greenleaf Holman at the he ad o f a company of sixty-two wagons drawn by ox-teams, they started on t hei r journey across the plains. This was the last company to travel by o x-te am. During the journey, thirty-six died and were buried on the plai ns .
      Fourteen weeks after leaving England, the family arrived in Salt Lake Ci t y. Charlotte’s family settled in a little log house west of the Jorda n R iver. Her father and brother-in-law worked on the railroad under con stru ction through Echo Canyon during the winter and following spring .
      As soon as the water was warm enough Charlotte was baptized in the Jord a n River by Nathan Hansen and confirmed by her father. In 1872, they mo ve d to Pleasant Green near the west mountains where her father homestead e d and raised cattle. He was presiding elder of that place until his de at h and her mother was president of the first Relief Society organized i n 1 879. She also held this position until her death.
      As Charlotte grew older she became very active in the Church working i n S unday School, M.I.A., and was 2nd counselor in Relief Society many ye ar s later. She was a good singer and loved to do so. She was from a mu sic al family and sang in the choir for years before and after her marria ge . She taught the neighboring children for some time as there were n o sch ools in the locality.
      When she was 18 years of age her father passed away and two years late r h er mother followed him. This was a great loss to her as she was ver y dev oted to her parents. As all the other children were married she wa s lef t alone, so she lived with one sister, then another.
      On January 6, 1881, she married John A. Coon after he returned home fr o m the colonizing mission to Arizona. The ceremony was performed in th e E ndowment House by Daniel H. Wells. After their marriage they continu ed t o live in Pleasant Green. John A. owned some property given him b y his g randfather, he being the eldest grandson. He purchased more acre age an d a little house which was their first home. Eventually he homest eaded m ore land, purchased more, and finally owned a large tract of land .
      Their first child, John Bert, was born in the little home, November 15 , 1 881. Before Betha, their second child was born, June 23, 1884, Joh n A. h ad made adobes and built a two-room house northeast of their firs t home . Four children were born there: March 18, 1887, Charles Lorus wa s born , he passed away December 23, 1889. Myrtle was born May 19, 1889 , passe d away during the flu epidemic of 1918. Roswell Hirst was born D ecembe r 4, 1892. Rudgar York, born March 30, 1896.
      Charlotte passed through many trying times raising her family of six bo y s and two girls. Far from medical aid, she nursed them through seriou s i llnesses with no one but her husband to help. They had faith in thei r He avenly father, firm believers in prayer and administration.
      Although she was not very strong, she was a hard worker—raising chicken s , and churning—making as many as eight pounds of butter a week. In 18 9 6 when she had five children, her husband was called to go on a missio n t o the Northern States. At this time her eldest son, Bert, was 15 yea rs o f age and Bertha was 13. She was an excellent manager and when he r husba nd returned home two years later, he found she had added to inste ad of us ing a sum of money he had placed in the bank for her use befor e his depar ture.
      At the time John A. received his call, twelve were called from the Pleas a nt Green Ward, most were married men with families, all farmers. At fi rs t a number of them did not see how they could go and leave their wive s an d children to run the farms. Bishop Hiram T. Spencer told them if t hey h ad faith the way would be opened up for them to go. They all wen t at dif ferent times during the year and filled honorable missions .
      From Bertha Coon Chambers’ Autobiography :
      “Father left on December 10, 1896 and returned December 25, 1898. Tha t w as a happy time for all. It took faith, courage and determination fo r al l concerned. Mother was a good manager and we children helped wit h wha t we could do. Bert especially was a great help in taking care o f the li vestock, feeding, watering and milking the cows. Mother’s niece , Emeral d and her husband Will, helped in many ways while father was awa y, especi ally on Saturdays in taking the butter and eggs to Salt Lake an d bringin g groceries home. Sometimes mother, Bert or I would go along t o help. W e had been doing this for some time before father went away, u sed our tea m and buggy some of the time, theirs other times.
      “During the time the men were in the mission field, Pleasant Green War d p rospered exceedingly, a new ward house was built. After father retur ne d from his mission, two other sons were born, Archie Brook on July 18 , 19 01 and Clifford Alton, June 23, 1904.
      “The money that had been saved was used the next summer to enlarge the i r home. In 1913, this home and all their household goods were destroy e d by fire caused by an overheated stove. The home was later rebuilt.
      “The folks took us, Bert and I, to the dedication of the Salt Lake Temp l e which was in April; I was nine the following June. The temple was de di cated April 6, 1893 by President Wilford Woodruff. The dedicatory ser vic es continued twice each day from April 6th to the 18th, again April 2 3r d and 24th, the 21st and 22nd being reserved for Sunday School childre n . It must have been one of those days we went.
      “It was not easy to make a living on a dry farm. Father acquired mor e l and – I think he bought some from some of his cousins and homesteade d som e. He eventually owned four hundred and some odd acres. They ha d to dep end on the snow in winter and rain the spring, also some water t hat cam e down from Coon’s Canyon in the spring. When it was a dry seaso n the cr ops were poor. Most of the land father owned was only good fo r grazing s ince it was up in the foothills next to the mountains. Thi s was where th e milk cows would be taken each morning for milking .
      “At different times in his life father owned quite a lot of cattle. T h e ones he was raising for beef would be driven to the canyon each spri n g and brought out in the fall to sell. The price of beef was much low e r than it is now, so one that weighed several hundred pounds really di d n ot sell for much. When father had a number to sell and got what he c alle d, a fair price, the folks were very happy. This meant money for ta xes , new clothing that was needed on a farm. The folks were very carefu l an d wise in their spending. They had to be careful. They were so ple ase d when they had what father called, a little next egg, left over, eve n i f it was just a few dollars. I never saw anyone that could make a do lla r go farther than mother could. If she wanted to get something a lit tl e special, she would save a little each week, even if it was just a fe w c ents. At times it would take weeks and months before she had the nee de d amount. She would keep it in a fancy cup she had on next to the to p sh elf in the cupboard. The money was never taken out for anything els e exc ept in case of an emergency.
      “The folks did not believe in going in debt, and never would unless it w a s very necessary. Sometimes in the winter when most of the cows were d r y and the chickens were not laying good, they would have to get some gr oc eries on time. I know when this happened they got as little as possib le . If the folks owed thirty or forty dollars for groceries by spring , i t seemed such a dreadful thing.
      “For a number of years, they went to the May sale at the Z.C.M.I. to g e t us fitted out for summer. I often times went with mother and helpe d pi ck out calico in different colors and patterns for dresses and apron s, pr etty flowered lawn (fine high-count yarn, silky finish) for best dr esses , a heavier grade of material in light and dark colors for waists f or th e boys, toweling and sheeting. She made a lovely white waist wit h a sail or collar trimmed in white embroidery for Rudgar when he was a l ittle boy . He wore this with a pleated black and white skirt. His hai r was lon g and in ringlets. He looked more like a little girl than a bo y. She ha d a very nice dress made by a niece who was a dress maker befo re father w ent on his mission. Mother made a very nice dress for Myrtl e and I; we a ll had our pictures taken before father went. Rudgar was j ust a baby the n, about a year and a half later, she had his picture take n in the littl e suit I have described to send to father.
      “Mother made a lovely white dress with a crocheted lace insertion for My r tle when she was little. I have the dress at this time. I don’t see h o w mother accomplished all the things she did, sheets and towels had t o b e hemmed in those days. This she taught me to do when I was quite yo ung . I remember some material she bought on sale for 5¢ a yard. She in tend ed to use it in a quilt. It was pink with a little design that was s o pre tty. Myrtle and I wanted it for dresses. I helped make them; th e skirt s were quite full. We wore them all that summer. Later, they we re cut i nto quilt blocks and put with other colors which made a very nic e quilt . Mother was a good seamstress, she not only sewed for her own f amily bu t helped her sisters and neighbors with their sewing. She mad e her own w edding dress, also helped a number of girls in the ward mak e theirs. Wa s very good at trimming hats which was the custom in thos e days. Her sis ters would come to get her to help them. She always ha d such good tast e in selecting our hats and trimmings. Myrtle and I wer e so proud and ha ppy to wear them with our lovely new dresses she alway s made for us to we ar on the Fourth of July which was a very special da y for all.
      “Down through the years I remember the wonderful picnics; always fried c h icken and lots of it. Mother would be up before day light cooking it ; i t always meant a hot fire in the cook stove. There were lots of bre ad a nd butter sandwiches and father always insisted we have sardines i n musta rd sauce, and the two cocoanut layer cakes mother made for specia l occasi ons such as the Fourth of July and Christmas. Mother’s sisters , their hu sbands and families were there. We went as one big family. Al ways ate to gether, there was always plenty for everyone. Aunt Fanny (Fa nny Hirst, 1 852-1926) and Uncle Bill Jenkins (William Jenkins, 1848-1920 ) and family , Aunt Sarah Coon (Sarah Hirst Coon, 1858-1911) and family ( Aunt Sarah wa s a widow), she and Aunt Fanny always took black currant pi es which the y stacked one on top of the other, three or four deep. Aun t Ellen (Elle n Hirst Whipple, 1862-1935) and Uncle Dan Whipple (Daniel W hipple, 1854-1 926) and family always took the jelly layer cakes. It wa s one glorious d ay. We would leave home eight or nine in the morning, i t was a long driv e.
      “The folks did not go to these places very often, there was always so mu c h to be done on the farm, but as nearly as I can remember, we went to G ar field on the Fourth for years. We children did not have much to spend , b ut a nickel went a long way then, you could get a good-sized bag of p opco rn or candy or a tall glass of soda water. I always felt so big an d impo rtant when I was at the fountain drinking a strawberry soda with t he pin k foam on top, which was my favorite. Sometimes father would tak e us u p in the canyon for a little outing. When the circus came to Sal t Lake , if it was possible, the folks would bring us in, sometimes whe n money w as not very plentiful we would just watch the parade, get a loa f of baker ’s bread, some bologna and cheese to eat on the way back home . When th e Buffalo Bill Circus came we saw both the circus and parade . Later on , we went to Saltair a few times, also Liberty Park, Wandame re and Lago on. We always had our new dresses for the Fourth, which see med to be th e custom for all at the time. The four families met togethe r on Christma s and New Years for a number of years. Mother had anothe r sister livin g in Pleasant Green, Aunt Nancy Dearden. She and her husb and, Uncle Jo e had four daughters, all older than we were. Aunt Nancy m et with an acc ident in her early married life and was an invalid for yea rs so could no t join in with the others.”

      Two sons, Roswell and Rudgar served in WWI. A number of grandsons and g r eat grandsons in WWII. Two sons filled missions, Roswell in Canada an d C lifford in the Southern States. Many years later Clifford and his lo vel y wife LaVerna went to the South again on another mission. A large n umbe r of grandchildren and great grandchildren have served on missions i n dif ferent parts of the world.
      They moved to Salt Lake in 1918, lived in Miller Ward for a number of ye a rs. On January 6, 1931, John A. and Charlotte celebrated their Golde n We dding anniversary with their six living children, 17 grandchildren a nd fi ve great grandchildren.
      John A. passed away October 8, 1934 and Charlotte August 6, 1942. She w o uld have been 83 the following December. At the time of her death sh e wa s survived by one daughter and five sons, 19 grandchildren and 20 gr eat g randchildren.



      Grandma
      Charlotte Hirst Coon
      1859-1942

      by Carolyn Coon Dupuis, granddaughter
      Shared with permission from Isabelle Dupuis, great granddaughter
      Excerpt from The Lilac House, p. 15-17


      She was my only grandparent I ever met and that she was my father’s moth e r amazed me. Amazed was a word that I, a tall and six-year-old girl, h a d recently learned about the time Grandma Coon came to visit us for a w hi le. Maybe it was for two weeks, maybe three. My only memory of he r aft er that time is that she retired into one of the bedrooms at Aunt B ertha’ s and died when I was eight. Aunt Bertha’s husband, my Uncle Roy , wa s a carpenter, and he could add an extra bedroom on to their house a s eas ily as some uncles could read the Sunday paper .

      Grandma got to stay in my room, while I moved downstairs to the extra tw i n bed in the basement. But all of my waking moments, apart from schoo l , were spent beside her. I’d rush home at 3:30 and there she would b e i n a dark dress with her favorite brooch at the neck, the brooch a gen tl e oval edged with tiny winking lights, or else wearing her favorite ne ckl ace of shiny, black wooden beads. She wore dark stockings and blac k oxfo rds with chubby square heels. Some folks called them old lady sho es, bu t I thought of them as being quite pleasant. The laces were alway s neatl y tied. But that she was my father’s mother amazed me, as she wa s just s lightly taller than me, and my father was a strong and sturdy si x-footer . I wondered how in the world he ever managed to get out on th e day of hi s birth.

      Grandma’s skin was like lovely soft and wrinkled silk, her smile was li k e my father’s smile that made me feel safe inside, and she wore eyeglas se s with delicate slender stems. Her hair was gathered into a shiny bu n o n top of her head.

      I used to help her get ready for bed in my bedroom. She always manage d t o have already put on her warm white nightgown with the long sleeve s an d stand-up collar before I arrived. The sleeves ended with cuffs th at fa stened with little white pearl buttons and the same white buttons w ent pa rt way down the front. There were gentle tucks across the front a nd th e collar was bordered with lace and so were the cuffs. She would l et m e take two magnificent combs out of her hair, they were tortoise she ll an d a part of them stood up tall and straight above the teeth. Magni ficen t was also a new word for me that year and I was certain it was exa ctly r ight to describe my grandmother’s two combs. When her hair fell d own al l the way to her waist it was like a curtain of stars. Every even ing she ’d let me comb it, and it was exactly like combing starlight.

      Then I would help her bundle it up again, patting it just so, and she wo u ld carefully place two large dark hair pins and a net for the night. T hi s was followed by a little white cap with lace on the edges, and mos t ama zing of all, two little booties for her feet, crocheted of a warm p ink ya rn and with chain-stitched laces to adjust them to the right tight ness . I was pretty good at tying bows, so she let me make the final adj ustme nt on her two booties each bedtime .

      Sometimes my mother would come into the room and say that I was combin g G randma’s hair too hard and that I was hurting Grandma. Grandma alway s sa id that I was doing a good job, and would flash one of her smiles . My mo ther seemed to be saying that a child as lively as I was might o verwhel m Grandma. After all, she was 81. But I don’t remember that Gra ndma eve ry seemed overwhelmed, maybe because she had given birth to eigh t childre n, raised seven to adulthood, and had been co-manager of a larg e family f arm.

      They say that out in Coonville [present day Magna], which was close to C o on Peak and to Coon Canyon, Grandma’s butter was the best to be had an d i t brought a higher price probably than anyone else’s in the Salt Lak e Val ley. She packed it to chill in special little metal molds that bor e he r initials. Grandma had run the farm a couple of years by herself ( wit h the help of her older sons) while her husband went on a mission fo r th e Mormon Church. And Grandma had walked across the great plains o f Ameri ca headed for the promised land of Utah when she was just a youn g girl . She carried a rag doll. And before that she and the same rag d oll pas sed through Ellis Island.

      So I don’t think that I was too much for her to handle at all, even if s h e was 81.

      I didn’t see too much of my grandma before she stayed with us, she ha d t o share herself with five other married children and about 28 grandch ildr en and I was number 26. But sometimes when I get scared in the nigh t , I think of the valentines my grandma used to mail me, red hearts an d la ce bursting to be unfolded, and remember the box of Sweet’s chocolat es , a single layer as big around as a bed pillow, that she’d give us eve r y Christmas and that my parents would always hide under the bed .

      And I remember the little girl that I was, sitting cross-legged on the f l oor opening and smelling and then closing a bottle of lavender toilet w at er, then rubbing the lavender flowers on the label and the narrow lave nde r ribbon around the neck, and finally wrapping it carefully in whit e tiss ue paper, colored Christmas stickers and bright ribbon. I can sti ll se e myself gently tugging at the ribbons to make them just right, kno wing t hat Grandma would put the bottle in the very center of her dressin g table .












      Inheritances
      [From] Charlotte Hirst Coon
      1859-1942

      by Carolyn Coon Dupuis, granddaughter
      Shared with permission from Isabelle Dupuis, great granddaughter
      Excerpt from The Lilac House, p. 33-38


      The Bedspread
      When my grandma Coon died I felt that my heart dropped out of my chest , w iggled out of my body and somehow floated away. She was my dad’s mot he r and the only grandparent I had ever known. But my eight-year-old he ar t started returning, apparently in little bits and pieces beginning ab ou t a month later when I learned that I was to have an inheritance.

      An inheritance! This was a completely new word for me, but one the re s t of my family used with a great deal of facility. I remember proudl y te lling my playmates that I was to have an inheritance and they weren’ t sur e what that was. But they were both envious and impressed.

      It was white like fresh snow on the winter mountains, like clouds in a c a lm summer sky, like milk just separated from the cream, and like a baby ’ s first tooth and like the white lace doily on the homemade valentine . I t had been on my grandmother’s bed and was absolutely without blemis h . I felt almost overwhelmed to be given such a prize. Apparently hand -w oven the spread resembled a very heavy damask but had gentle ridges an d b umps which I enjoyed touching with very clean hands. I treated it a s car efully as my grandma would have me do. I never placed anything o n it exc ept my Teddy Bear and I made sure he was polite. I never sat o r slept o n it. At night I would carefully fold it back to the bottom o f the bed . In the morning I would perfectly smooth it when I made my be d…


      The Down Pillow
      It was covered in pale green polished cotton and was exceptionally comfo r table to sleep on. It meant more than a pillow to me, it meant my gran dm a’s presence. I slept on it almost very night of my life between th e age s of eight until three years after my marriage. At that point ther e real ly weren’t enough feathers left to plan on a second pillow. I hav e it i n my linen closet now, a deeply cherished souvenir of when I wa s a littl e girl and would talk to it, cry to it, and tell it my secret s .


      The Black Beads
      A long strand of wooden beads, each shaped like a ball, all the same siz e , all separated from each other by a black knot. I wasn’t supposed t o st art wearing these right away, according to my mother but I did. Th e bead s are still in excellent condition and I wear them often. And eve n now w hen I have them on I can sometimes feel my grandma’s presence .