|Aunt Brendice on her 100th birthday.|
Brendice is the 15th child (of 16) and the the 10th daughter (of 10) born to Frederick K. and Elvira Bartley Gerner. She was born on October 9, 1895, in Butler County, Pennsylvania, and died on March 3, 1996, in Canton, Ohio.
Aunt Brendice is one of the few aunts I knew on my father's side of the family. Because Dad's mother died soon after he was born he knew her side of his family less well than his father's side. Yet, they were supportive and interested. When Dad left home at the age of 21, after his father died, Aunt Brendice and her husband, Ray, took him in and Uncle Ray helped him find a job.
Aunt Brendice lived in Canton, Ohio, during the time I was a child. We visited regularly but infrequently. My memories of her are few but she seemed poised and somewhat formal. And she had excellent posture.
She was also the aunt who brought my grandmother Beulah to life for me through memories and stories. There was no one else alive who had known Beulah by the time I asked questions. I'm grateful to Aunt Brendice for sharing memories. She also wrote about her siblings, her own parents and their personalities, and about life on their farm in the late 1800 and early 1900s.
It's hard for me to imagine living 100 years, the years in which Aunt Brendice lived. The changes in science, technology, transportation, and society were broad and deep. How I wish I'd thought to ask her questions earlier in our lives. I'm sure she could have told me a lot about her life and the lives of my grandmother and great-grandparents.
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