|Adelaide, age 3 (earliest picture I have)|
When I was growing up, one grandmother lived with us all the time, the other for 6 months of the year. I don't think I really appreciated all that they did -- for starters, they took care of all four of my parents' children in an era when mothers were expected to be home. No lunchroom at school: kids had an hour and a quarter to walk home, eat, and return for the afternoon. She was there to nurture us and feed us every day, 24-7.
Luckily that wasn't as much a problem as I thought it might be when I tried years later to correct her death certificate. Adelaide H Richardson died 6 August 1971 in Houston, Harris County, Texas, at age 87. Only, a bit of arithmetic shows that she wasn't 87 but really only 77. I decided that I should tell the folks in the State of Vital Records office that her death certificate was incorrect. It took a number of months with notarized letters back and forth, copies of her birth certificate and certificates identifying her parents to finally get her death certificate amended. Now, if you order a copy, at the bottom, is the "AMENDMENT TO CERTIFICATE OF DEATH" listing her mother's name as "Alice Copeland" instead of "Alice (don't know)" and date of birth as November 4, 1893" instead of "1883" --- type of document: "affidavit of granddaughter..." not mentioning any of the vital records I had sent.
So who was this Adelaide Harvey who married Robert W Richardson? Definitely more than just someone who was 77 when she died from pneumonia, carcinoma of the lung, with contributing conditions of chronic bronchitis and asthma and carcinoma of the face. To me, she was "Grawa," the name I gave her when I first tried talking. She was the person who would always have treats for us children at lunch such as a homemake cake with butter cream frosting or send one of us out to buy one package of Paul Malls for her along with Hersey with almonds or Nutty buddies for everyone -- depending upon the season.
Adelaide grew up the youngest of 4 children. Her early years were near relatives in Wisconsin. One day her aunt, Isabel Harvey Wegemann was minding her while making angel food cakes for the church supper. Addie watched as her aunt carefully separated a dozen egg whites for each cake. This became an all-day project as Isabel baked a dozen angel food cakes, all for the church supper -- no tasting! Addie was devastated that she could not even have a little taste. At the end of the day, Isabel made one more angel food cake for Addie to take home for dinner. Every year thereafter, her sister Katherine made her an angel food cake for her birthday. In later years, Auntie Kath would mail an angel food cake and we would look forward to the treat of eating of that very special cake. It always looked somewhat battered and mishapened, but oh did it taste good.
[Katherine Harvey Rhodes, died 1964]
[Stories told to me both by Adelaide and by my mother]
Her family moved from Lake Mills, to Madison Wisconsin so two of her siblings could go to college. Her mother ran a boarding house nearby while Kath and Riley attended the University of Wisconsin. Then her family moved to Oak Park, Illinois. After graduating from Oak Park High School, she married Robert Worthington Richardson on 15 January 1916.