Last year I came upon the above photo of my great-grandmother Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff. She is pictured outside the barn of the old Woodruff farmhouse in Hillside, NJ. The house still stands, but the barn and surrounding fields were eventually lost to development. This is the only old photo I’ve seen of the premises there, and the fact that it includes my father and his cousin Dick Brown makes it even more special.
When my late Dad retired in the late 1980s, he set out to write down his recollections of the years in his life leading up to his marriage to my Mom; his logic for stopping there was that we all knew what came next. At the time that bothered me, but all these years later, I can see his point. Why potentially ruffle the feathers of your kids and other family members by writing something they may read some day and take the wrong way?
Of course, I am exceedingly grateful for the details he left us about his growing up years. Here are some recollections of 1927 that pertain to the old Woodruff family farm house and the wooden sugar bucket (photo, right):
…Grandma Woodruff died. A real blow to everyone. I remember seeing her in her casket in the living room of the old farmhouse on Conant Street in Hillside, NJ. I remember going into the field and picking some daisies and bringing them in the house and placing them in her stone cold hands. I remember the old barn. One day the young hired hand dared me to eat horse feed. I did and got sick as a dog. I remember an old horse-drawn wagon in the yard. Dick Brown (my cousin) and I used to play on it and pretend we were driving. Grandma used to make me ‘sugar bread’. Homemade bread, home-churned butter with lots of sugar on it. She also fed me lots of sweet tea. Nothing not from scratch!…
My Dad’s Grandma Woodruff had six daughters with her husband William Earl Woodruff. I have no contact with descendants of the sisters of my grandmother but, of course, would be pleased to hear from any of them at any time.