Sunday, July 02, 2006

Bea’s Books (6)

Bea wears a look of beatitude this morning. I wonder what she is up to? I ask when I bring breakfast.

“It’s a miracle,” she tells me. “I’m not really reading the paper. I’m just pretending to read the paper.”

Pretending obviously works when one is 96 years old.

After breakfast, Bea goes back to sleep. She will sleep all day.

I take from her shelf a slender book called Glastonbury: Its Story from Celtic Days to the Twentieth Century. Bea has noted on the first page, “Purchased at Glastonbury by Harry and Bertha Chinnock, parents of Beatrice Chinnock Grabbe.” Further down, in a darker shade of blue ink are the words “Paul and Beatrice Grabbe also visited Glastonbury in 1975. Charles and Dorothy Chinnock Chrystal visited there in 1986. Note John Chinnock was Abbot there 1375-1420.”

Inside the book Bea has stuck a postcard of a commemorative plaque upon which is engraved the name of her ancestor, Abbot John Chinnock.

There is also a photo of Aunt Dorothy, looking very pleased with herself. She stands in front of a road sign, arms at her sides. In one direction is “Middle Chinnock.” In the other, “West Chinnock and East Chinnock.”

I find a postcard from Charlie & Dot. Dorothy has written, “We stopped in East Chinnock to ask directions and who was it but Brian Morris whom you asked! He said we looked alike, and what a nice note you wrote him. We just loved Middle and West Chinnocks, tucked in that little valley. After Glastonbury, Crewe, Chester, Chiltenham, we got to Middleton. In libe on microfilm of 1861 census, I found John (26) and Sarah (30) Chadwick, their place of birth, occupations, address, and Mary (3 weeks old.) Quite a thrill!”

Mary Chadwick was Bea and Dorothy’s grandmother.

Bea has marked a page that provides the following information: "Abbot John Chinok is said to have rebuilt the Cloisters, the Dormitory, and Fratery, and furnished the Chapter House."

I search for the photo of Bea in front of the same sign as Dorothy, tuck it into Glastonbury, and return the book to the shelf.

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