Millie Jane Wren, (Grandma)
This is where the J in Susie J comes from.
This picture says it all. Hard-working, tough, and sweet. And she still had 40 years left of living after this picture was taken.
Born: November 1, 1899
Delivered 7 children at home.
Never drove a car.
Widow from 1955 until she died, April 29, 1995
Continued to run the farm, after Carl’s death, and raised 7 children, by herself.
Favorite quote: “Can I get you something to eat.”
Her noodle recipe escaped us. It was always described as a pinch of this, and a pinch of that.
Sweet as butter and honey.
Weakness: stray animals. She claims that they just wander in, uninvited, and she’s always shooing them out. Yet, we find never fail to find a mysterious milk bowl hiding behind a door, fresh and ready for the stray.
Biggest mystery: Hickory nuts. Each fall, she’d have a bushel basket full of nuts she had collected from her woods – and they were all shelled. I can’t find the time to shell one. Did she have some kind of “nut fairy?”
Her source of gossip: the party line at number 465-3698
Once, a dog wandered, one of many, into her backyard, with his leg cut off by some trap out in the woods. She doctored the wound with herbs and got him back on his 3 legs – and he continued to have a full life.
Claims to fame: she could finish a Rubik’s cube in about 10 minutes – well into her 90s.
Hobbies: Crossword puzzles. Knitting, crocheting, making hard-tack candy.
Her flower garden was large and lush and colorful. Her secret? She baked the dirt for her flowerbeds in the oven. She claimed this killed any diseases or funguses that could hurt the crops.
Although she was a farmer, and grew vegetables and flowers, I never once saw her cut a bunch of flowers from her garden and put them in a vase. And except for the exception of a plate of tomatoes or a bowl of cucumbers, we never had a fresh salad. Everything was made into stew or a roast –always yummy.
She also cheated at cards. In the game hearts, she would hide them on her lap so that the score wouldn’t count against her.
Although she claimed we don’t know what we were talking about, her marriage certificate is dated 3 months before the birth of her first child.
My favorite memory of her: Spending the night with her as a child, crawling into bed with her, and just as my eyes were fluttering to sleep, she’d say, “Do you hear that?” It was the wolves. I wasn’t afraid, as they circled the house and they howled through the wind. She seemed confident they were our friends, and I believed it was safe to go to sleep, at her side. Maybe they kept thieves away.
All of her children outlived her, and she never had to face the sorrow of grieving a child’s death. She did have to face the loss of a granddaughter to a tragic car accident at age 18. Later, she took the loss of two daughters-in-law especially hard. “I’ve already lived a full life. Why didn’t the Lord just take me instead?”