Notes culled from “Memories” written by Frances Marion Davis Plaisted in the 1970s as she lived with her daughter, Dorothy Frances Plaisted Taylor, in Pennsylvania
“Words – words. It is impossible to really tell about real living by just writing down words.” – Frances Plaisted in her pages of memories
But she tried, in her 80s, even though she was blind with glaucoma and she had to remember every word she wrote to avoid repetition. Sometimes her mind would wander and the narrative of memories would become a letter to her children. “You can be proud of your ancestors”; “You must carry on.” Other times she offered homilies – “The kind spirit that you show to one another is what counts. Then, in whatever state you are in, you will be content.” — perhaps as a way to comfort herself in the darkness of her constricted world as much as to deliver the wisdom of her experience. But mostly she wanted to remember the highlights of a way of life now long gone. Each day, she would write a page or two – scenes from, and explanations about, different times in her life. Her daughter Dorothy would read the drafts aloud to her so, together, they could correct any wording. On Thanksgiving of 1975, my sister Daphne and I recorded my mother, Dorothy, reading from the pages and Grammy commenting or telling the stories anew. Now the 50 pages or so sit in a pile, randomly gathered. Thirty-five years after Grammy wrote them, I will try to place them in a chronological order and use paraphrase to cohere, quotes when her wording seems most vivid and singular.
— Beth Taylor, daughter of Dorothy Frances Plaisted Taylor, daughter of Frances Marion Davis Plaisted