Sunday, January 16, 2011

Memories of Sarah Caroline Batty Calder

One year at the annual 4th of July Chuck wagon Breakfast held in Paris, Idaho I asked my Uncle O’Dell Smith (my father’s oldest brother) if he could tell me anything about his grandparents. He hemmed and hawed around a bit and then told me these two stories about his mother’s mother, Sarah Caroline Batty Calder.

He said that it seemed like whenever he would go over to visit her she would tell him to go and find her purse. When he brought it to her, she would “give him a sixpence”. Sarah Caroline was born in Whittington, Derbyshire, England on May 17, 1870 and came to America at the age of 12 when her oldest sister Annie arranged for her to work in “the Bishop’s” house tending children and keeping house because his wife wasn’t in the best of health. Sarah Caroline later married Bishop Robert Calder in polygamy. One of their children was Rosella, my grandmother.

The second story Uncle O’Dell told me sheds light on Sarah Caroline's personality. The details are a bit fuzzy; nonetheless I want to share it in hope that someone out there can set it all straight. Uncle O’Dell couldn’t get through telling it without giggling a number of times while sustaining an enormous grin. It seems that his grandma Sarah Caroline was making a steamed pudding; something she did every year for Thanksgiving or Christmas and it was tied up in a cloth bag. Her husband (second marriage, Robert Calder had passed away) made a rather large fuss about how much he disliked the pudding. When she had taken quite enough she opened up the window and THREW IT OUT!

And I wonder where the women in my family get their edge . . .

The making of steamed pudding did carry on however, regardless of this telling incident. Rosella made a Thanksgiving pudding every year for her family and to date it is one of my father’s, Kent Smith’s fondest memories of that holiday. I don't have any direct information as to where Sarah Caroline got her recipe or know how as to how to make her steamed pudding, but England is the capital for such things. I like to think that she learned it from her mother or older sister Annie and her homeland.