I’ve written in the past about my paternal grandmother, Carrie Boothby, and about my maternal grandfather, Lyle Denman. So now I want to write a little about my maternal granmother, Bricena Snow. This picture shows how she looked as a young mother.
Unlike Carrie, I knew my Grandma Cena. There were visits (mostly they came to visit us) and cards and letters and presents. Grandma was a consummate homemaker. She cooked and baked and canned and put up food from their garden. She sewed; a lot. She made all of her own clothing for most of her life and all of my mother’s until Mom left as a married woman. She taught my mother to sew, and Mom passed that on to both me and my sister (and to my brothers to a lesser extent).
From the time I was very young (and I’m sure before I was old enough to remember) she made clothing for me and my sister. There were dresses and coats, often meant for Christmas or for Easter. And we grew up with lots of her recipes, or those she had inherited and used and then passed on to my mother. The sugar cookies we cut out at Christmas were her recipe, as were the pinwheel cookies. And when we just wanted to cut out round cookies we used the cookie cutter that Grandpa Lyle had made in a shop class.
Bricena was born in Elyria, Ohio almost nine years after her older brother Frank. Her father, Clemon Hastings Snow or C.H. as he was commonly known, was a farmer and civil engineer/surveyor and the family lived in Elyria from the time Bricena was born. From at least the time of the 1900 census on, the family lived in a house they owned on Cleveland Street. She was schooled there and graduated from high school in 1909. By that time her brother was married and pursuing his own education in Montana,
By the time she graduated, Bricena’s mother was ailing and in need of extra help, so she stayed home to take care of her parents. I’m not sure whether she had any desire to go on with her education, but she didn’t. I suspect that she did not expect to go on with any higher education.
As a young woman, in high school and especially before her mother became very sick, Bricena must have had various social activities but I have no knowledge of what they were. The family belonged to the M.E. (Methodist Episcopal) Church in town, and C.H. was very active civically. My imagination says that she went on walks and rides and picnics, and to various church events (sort of like Meet Me in St. Louis). In those years Elyria was a small town with a population between 5000 and 10000. There were parks and recreational areas as well as churches and a variety of social and civic groups.
I know she went to dances or parties, since that was how she and my grandfather, Lyle Denman, met. He described that in 1914-15, as a college student, he would go home to parties or dances and take his cousin Mildred. Mildred was a friend of Bricena’s and she was invited to some of these dances and that is how my grandparents originally met. At the time Bricena was known to be engaged to someone else. However, by the summer/fall of 1916 her engagement had been broken off and Lyle started to call on her. They became engaged in May of 1917, just before Lyle registered for the World War I draft, and they were married the next April. Bricena had declared that she wanted to be married before Lyle went into the military so she cuold come visit him in whatever camp he was in.
As a family, Lyle and Cena lived almost exclusively in Ohio moving around the state with various jobs. In retirement they moved to southern Texas to be closer to their son and his family. Bricena died 2/14/1971 in San Antonio.