Excerpt from Kathleen’s Memoirs of The Great Depression
To my great sorrow, Annie had finished all ten grades in Cuthand. On Mr. Kinnebrew’s recommendation, she’d gotten a position as mother’s helper to Mrs. Hinson, his wealthy aunt who lived almost adjoining the Clarksville High School. Judge and Mrs. Hinson were one of the most prominent families in Clarksville. They’d had only one child, Laura, who was “sweet but simple.” They’d always doted on Laura, giving her a privileged, though very protected life. Unfortunately, Mrs. Hinson was hospitalized for a while when Laura was about fifteen, leaving Laura in the care of the housekeeper by day and her father at night. The gardener who clearly saw how they doted on Laura was able to woo and win her without her mama’s interference. Naturally, she fell for the first man to ever allowed to pay attention to her, even though he was nearly fifty. When he caught the housekeeper was too busy to notice, the old goat slipped her off to marry one afternoon.
He convinced Laura to keep the secret of their marriage until it was obvious a baby was on the way. Not surprisingly, for the sake of decency and their daughter’s happiness, the Hinsons did their best for Laura and her family. Laura wanted her useless husband. He had enough sense to know which side his bread was buttered on, so was always good to her and the children, though he never worked again. The Hinsons built her a nice house, adjoining theirs. Over the next few years, Laura had a large brood, but was never capable of keeping house or caring for the children, so Mrs. Hinson had a housekeeper to take care of the house and help with the children. Annie’s job was feed and dress the school kids off in the morning and make sure they got their homework in the evening. For this she got room, board, a small salary and generous bonuses. She had to be there Monday afternoon through Friday morning. It was a wonderful job for a high-school student. It broke my heart to see her catching a ride in with the mail carrier at six am on Monday morning, but was the high point of the week when he dropped her back off Friday afternoon, full of tales of the Hinsons, high-school, or life in Clarksville. She always managed to bring me a tiny gift or two, such or a damaged book or toy one of the kids no longer wanted. Best of all, was a piece of Laura’s candy.
Any story Annie brought me from her time at the Hinson’s was golden. Though Laura was simple, she had a gift for making candy. Hotels, stores, and high end business competed for the confections she she’d learned early to make candy at the hand of the housekeeper who raised her. Her husband was only too happy to serve as delivery man for her, selling all the candies Laura cared to make. What a stroke of luck for him! He’d married the goose who laid the golden egg!