Wednesday, September 05, 2007

In Memoriam - Virginia Dawn Parslow Partridge

I'd like to take a moment to say a few words about my aunt, Virginia Dawn Parslow Partridge.

Aunt Gigi was a wonderful aunt. It was she who took us to Frontier Town, bought us books like "Wood Craft" by George W. Sears. For years she was docent and more at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY. It was ALWAYS fun to go visit her at work there or at the Fenimore House. She was the "fun" aunt. The one who cracked jokes, liked her beef rare, drove her Plymouth Roadrunner fast, and generally was a good time for all of the nieces and nephews, male and female, good or bad. I've never seen enough of her all my adult life. Family, military, time, space, and poor letter writing habits I think we shared all conspired to mostly keep us apart since I left home for the Army in 1973. I think in all that time we only saw each other 2 or 3 times.

Gigi was the genealogist of the family (before me and more so). She was the first person (or first woman?) to get a Fulbright Scholarship sans college education. This to go to England and study early textile methods. I think this was about 1935 or 1936. While in England she took advantage of the circumstances and did quite a bit of genealogic research. Gigi collaborated on "Made in New York State : handwoven coverlets, 1820-1860 : a traveling exhibition", "Transcript of the 1830 and 1840 federal census of Schoharie County, New York", "Weaving and dyeing processes in early New York with a description of spinning fibers", "The story of flax" and obviously was a well known expert on dying and weaving techniques making many presentations at seminars on the subjects. I hope I haven't forgotten anything.

It wasn't until fairly late in her life that she married Edward L. Partridge who was a fine person, as I remember it. They bought and began renovations on a house in Mount Vision, NY but it was never finished as Uncle Ed died of lung cancer within a year or two. I'm not sure of the dates...

She was a shooter, too, killing groundhogs who dared to enter her or her neighbors' gardens. She used a Marlin .22 Mag bolt gun and in the village of Mount Vision. Of course, back then we thought nothing of it. Of course she was safe. She loved gardening and she and Uncle Ed had extensive lighting put in to sprout seeds for the incoming garden season (no, not those kinds of seeds!). In later years she concentrated on orchids and built a sunroom/greenhouse on the side of her home in Lansdale to house them.

Born September 3, 1917 she was getting on in years and had chronic lymphocytic leukemia and some sort of senility (who knows if it was Alzheimers or something else) and last year she fell and broke her hip. She made 90 years and a day before she died the evening of 4 September 2007. She is survived by her son, John Hatch, his wife Sue and two grandchildren, Beth and Zack as well everyone in the family who knew and loved her. I know I did and I am very thankful for all the wonderful things she did for me and all the knowledge to which she exposed me.

Photo: This photo is from one of Aunt Gigi's books, the first I believe, published in 1949.

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