Once Uncle Andrew took a number of
children, myself in- cluded, to the circus. His young grandson Eben sat
beside him, fascinated by everything that went on. The audience around
us seemed nearly as interested in Eben's wild-eyed reactions as in
the circus itself. During each new act, whether tumbling, trapeze work,
or tightrope walking, Eben would turn to his very dignified grandfather
in great excitement and shout, "Grandpa — can you do that?"
"No — no more," Uncle Andrew would reply, shaking his
Uncle Andrew's wife, Aunt Gertrude, was a gracious lady and
somewhat domineering which is probably why I had great respect for her.
One day she told me about an adjoining tract of land
she was buying with a pond on it — Peirce's Pond, she called it —and I
asked her if she would take me fishing there, and she said that
she would as soon as the sale had gone through. Finally the great day
arrived and we walked down to the pond armed with fishing gear, a basket
for bringing home our catch, and a cake of chocolate in case we got
hungry. Our fishing gear consisted of bent pins for
fishhooks — "too difficult to get a fish off a real hook," said
Aunt Gertrude — and paper thin chips of beef to
use as bait — "much pleasanter to handle than worms," she said. We
didn't catch anything. I often wonder what Aunt Gertrude would have done
if we had.
Uncle Andrew's and Aunt Gertrude's children were Gertrude,
Augustus, Gardiner, Posey, and Hannah. Augustus married Aunt Esther, my
mother's sister, and we will hear more about him from time to time.
Gardiner was an aviator in the first World War and during some maneuvers
fell out of his plane and miraculously