Edith got a telephone from Arthur this a.m. early saying Mrs. Parker died last night before midnight. an awful shock to us all. I don’t believe it now as I write it. They are going down tonight as soon as Clarence gets home. Lu wants to “See”. Later, Got away at five minutes of five tonight + home about eleven, found them more composed than they expected. Fred is making a brave fight + so is Lu. Arthur is the one who breaking down, a new attitude for a son-in-law. Her body will be laid in the tomb tomorrow. too soon. I would not allow anyone of mine put away so quickly. She was planning to go down town this morning + do some shopping instead she has gone away for ever from the home she worked so hard for + was so devoted to. A vivid demonstration of the uncertainty of life.
Notes + Explanations:
Well, the Parker family seems to have gone through quite a lot in their lifetimes. It doesn’t even sound like Mattie (Martha Parker) was sick, but instead passed away rather suddenly.
Here’s a photo of the Parkers together with Edith, Clarence, and Annie.
I can only assume that the other older woman is Fred Parker’s mother, as I believe Martha’s mother was still in England. This photo must have been taken not long before this date in Annie’s diary. I think Lucy is holding the camera in this one. They are seated on the porch of the Parker house in Salem on Chandler Street.
I’m not sure what she means by “Lu wants to ‘see'”. It would seem that Lucy wants to see her mother’s body, but… she lives there. So I’m not sure why Lucy would have to wait for Clarence to drive down. Maybe Lucy is with them visiting Arlington instead? Or perhaps Mattie’s body was immediately removed or she was taken to the hospital, and Lucy needs a ride there?
Sounds like Fred and Lucy are in a bit of shock, but Arthur Hindle (Lucy’s husband) is quite upset about the whole thing. Since he was English, it’s possible that his own family didn’t immigrate with him… perhaps he felt very attached to his mother-in-law, who was also English. It’s likely that Mattie’s connections back in England explain the relationship between Arthur and Lucy even.
It’s also interesting that Annie finds it distasteful to bury Mattie so quickly. I wonder what the standard funerary procedure was then.
Oh, and, yes, they do have a telephone apparently.
Original Diary Pages:
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