First Posted: 5/11/2013
Ed Note: Following is a letter sent to Ann Conte, of Pittston, by her granddaughter Ellen Schroeder, of Connecticut. Ellen’s mom is Karen Flannery, the former Karen Conte. We are publishing it because it is beautifully written and because the sentiment expressed applies to all grandmothers. Ann Conte is a vibrant 93 years old. Also, the “Gramps” mentioned is the late Dan Conte, beloved Pittston barber.
I wanted to send you a note on Mother’s Day to acknowledge the role and influence you have had on me and the other mothers in the family. You are the mother of mothers — the “Grand Mother” in the truest sense of the word.
In particular, I am grateful for the time I shared with you growing up. I have such fond memories of hiking Buttermilk Falls and Rickets Glen and wonderful times at Ocean City with you. I think most fondly, though, of my sleepovers with you as a child.
You may not remember, but you were the first person to talk about race with me (you explained that the term “colored” was no longer to be used; instead “Black” was the most sensitive term).
I can remember watching you study or do homework of some sort (perhaps you took some kind of class?) and looking forward to the time that I had homework with wirebound notebooks and sharpened pencils.
I can remember you noticing with mild disgust the age spots on your hands — I can see them still in my mind’s eye. Thinking of this as I see my own age spots developing seems to lessen my own distaste of aging and all of its accompaniments — both good and bad.
I remember Gramps’ breakfasts in the morning — the table set and food ready even though he might have been long gone to the barber shop. This may be one of the reasons that breakfast is still my favorite meal.
I remember the sweets that could always be found in your kitchen — in the cabinet on the freezer.
I always looked forward with great anticipation to spending that special time with you.
I think, too,about the wonderful mothers you raised — Jane, so full of goodness and giving, and my own mom, the woman who taught me most everything I know about marriage and mothering. You raised women who are giving, loving, and strong — likely because this is the embodiment of you and your traits.
Through the good times and the tough times, I have learned what an honor it is to be a mother in this family and, for that, I am most grateful to you — the mother of mothers.