Gladys Anderson Ridley

Gladys 97This is the oldest sister of my paternal grandmother.  She was born in Boston, Mass., raised in Buxton, Maine, and lived in Sanford, Maine as an adult. She graduated high school, attended Normal school, taught 2nd grade for a short time, belonged to the Grange most of her life, married, raised a daughter,  was widowed after 23 years of marriage, loved to travel, and especially enjoyed time with family.

I remember a couple of trips to visit her way up in Maine (a long trip from northwest Connecticut) when I was a child.  I was probably around 9 or 10, and that would mean Aunt Gladys was already 75.

She was old, and looked it (to me).  She was kind as could be.  She had this special item at her home that no other relative or friend of the family had – an outhouse!  For some reason, being in the woods with this old woman who still used an outhouse was an adventure for me, and my sister, if memory serves.

I’ve met many of her descendants in the last few years as I researched the Anderson/Boothby family.  She may have had only one daughter, Bernadine, but that daughter left plenty of children, and grand-children!  Many of them still live in the same area of Maine where Gladys and her siblings were raised and many of them knew Gladys well.

One in particular, Debbie, has shared a great deal of information about my Great-Aunt Gladys, her great-grandmother.

Somehow, it didn’t stick in my memory, but in addition to the outhouse, Aunt Gladys lacked running water in her home, until 1969, and then, only cold water in the pantry.  A home that remained in the family for generations.

I probably wouldn’t have thought much of it at the time, but Aunt Gladys also became the owner of the town’s Boston Post Cane. (A special gift for the oldest resident of the town that comes with publicity in the Boston newspapers.)  In fact, her daughter was also a recipient of the Boston Post Cane!

Aunt Gladys lived to be just over 100 years old.  What a lifetime!  She kept things simple, although she did become a ‘snowbird’ later in life, spending winters in Florida rather than Maine.  She was fun.  She loved life.  She loved family.  She left a legacy all Anderson descendants can be proud of and hope to emulate for many, many years!

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