|Nannie surrounded by some of her great-great nieces and nephews at her 100th birthday party on September 15, 1976. I am standing directly behind Nannie wearing a dress that she wore when she was a young girl. I found the ivory lace dress in a trunk in the attic shortly before the party. |
Annie Alice Britts
September 15, 1876-November 30, 1976
My namesake lived to be 100 years old. Take a close look at the dates above. Nannie entered this world in the centennial year of our country and died toward the end of the bicentennial year celebration. This club is small: through hypothetical calculations, I have determined that only about 100 people in the United States could also claim an exact centennial birth/bicentennial death.
Nannie treasured having a baby named for her and doted on me my first ten years. Wonderful and imaginative childhood experiences came from time I spent visiting Nannie for the weekend at the old family home in Clinton. I reminisce: sitting in the parlor hearing family stories; sliding down the ultimate banister; walking down to the square to buy candy at Ben Franklin's; a winding back staircase to run up and down; the lure of the attic; simply an endless playground of discovery and history.
She also taught me an appreciation of the written letter and, being my first pen pal, we exchanged mail regularly. She addressed the letters to “My Dearest Namesake” and as a young girl in a big family the special attention felt really important. When Nannie died in 1976 it ended an era in her branch of the family and within two years the 1868 family home disappeared and a Phillips gas station supposedly arose in its place. I've never bothered to check it out. In my mind the Britts home still stands on Franklin Street in Clinton, Mo.
As a Young Woman
I can still hear the trains in the distance and smell the woody scent of the old house in Clinton.
This was my favorite place to be when I was 7-10 years old.