A Tilted Saucer of Delight
An Appreciation of Anna Jones Edwards
When I went from country school to the new central school in the Village of Avoca, I was put in a homemaking class where I was introduced to a lady who became a lifetime friend. Miss Jones was young, sparkling bright and a joy to our class and her subsequent students. I was 11-she was 24. When my high school class gets together, as we do annually, we invite Anna and she often attends.
After I married and entered into my years of substituting, I sometimes substituted for Anna. I appreciate how well organized she left everything especially since there was a whole house to oversee as well as classes to teach. I was a young mother by then and recall her telling me not to use too many personal experiences as cautionary tales.
Well, the years went on. Anna married a local farmer and they had three boys. Now she is 92 years old and has been a widow for several years.
My corner of the world is a happier place because of Anna Jones Edwards.
Dictated by Grace Fox to Kris Fox
August 11, 2005
As I think back through the years, and all the happy times we had, so much could be written. I think of my children-Elaine, Tom, Jennifer, Katie, Leonard, and Mary. Now they are all grown, with families of their own. We also had so many good times with Stanley’s family-Merldene, Lyle and Norma, and Freda.
All of these people have gone on with lives of their own, and have many stories, too. But those are their stories to tell, and this has been mine.
by Kris Fox
Grace went to Albany State College at age 16. During summers, she began dating Stanley Fox, who she knew from school and from Grange meetings.
Lois VanWormer recalls that, once, during the post-graduate year they spent at Avoca Central School before Grace went off to college, they were all at a Grange meeting, and she was planning to stay over with Grace. Stanley Fox wanted to drive Grace home, and he did, but it was with Lois as chaperone!
After four years, Grace graduated from college. Armed with a B.A. in Education, and her teaching certificate, she began teaching at Wayland School. Stanley and Grace were married August 27, 1947. They lived on Stanley’s farm in Michigan Hollow for a few years. Their first child, Elaine, was born there. When Grace’s father, Lee Shults, suffered a heart attack, the family moved up to the big farmhouse on Castle Creek, so Stanley could tend the farm. Soon there were more children: Tom, Jennifer, Katie and Leonard. The youngest was Mary who was born when her mother was forty.
Through the years Stanley farmed and Grace raised the kids with help from her mother and taught school. She substituted when the kids were small and taught full time at Cohocton School from 1966 until retirement in 1980.
As the years went by, they tended aging parents, gardened, went to church, Grange, historical society, family reunions, class reunions and so on. They greatly enjoyed the company of the rural people they lived with.
Grace was an avid historian by nature, and in her later years was the Avoca Town Historian. Many of her writings were historical works, including two books about the history of Avoca.
She always anticipated and treasured visits from her children, whenever they could arrange it from their far-flung homes. She displayed pictures of her grandchildren proudly. The one grandchild who lived just up the road, Tom’s son Gregory, was at Grandma’s house daily, or very nearly so. Grace always welcomed him, as she would anyone who wanted to come.
Through the final years, she went to meetings less and stayed home more, tending the house and watching over Stanley (“Have you taken your pills today?”), baking with Greg, visiting on the phone with friends. She took food to the homes of the sick, collected money for flowers when a neighbor passed away, saved table scraps to feed to Tom’s barn cats.
Grace passed away peacefully Sunday, August 14th , 2005, but her legacy of intelligence, kindness and compassion will live on for years to come.
Copyright 2007, Grace S. Fox Estate