Nana Perkins was a big influence in my life. While we were growing up, my twin brother and I spent a lot of time at her home next to the Grange Hall in Loudon, New Hampshire. We never knew our grandfather Perkins—he died before we were born.
For many years she was the Loudon town clerk and local correspondent for the Concord Monitor, the weekly newspapers published in Pittsfield and Laconia. I recall her using a rickety old typewriter to record the town events such as vital records, fishing and hunting licenses, etc.
Nana Perkins was a big Red Sox fan, but listened to any game she could on her radio (before she owned a television set). Because her home was always open (I don’t recall that a door was every locked) to villagers, friends, and relatives, she occasionally felt a need to escape so no one would disturb her when an important baseball game was underway. When that happened, she put my brother and I in her car and drove us to a cemetery in a neighboring town. Once at the cemetery she’d ask Peter and I to get out of the car to play while she listened to the game on the car radio.
Following WWII our family moved in for a couple of years before my Dad got a job as a NH State Trooper and was transferred to the the Keene area. Peter and I started school in Loudon, we would walk up Main Street (now called South Village Road) in the village, past the library and over the Soucook River bridge and then up School Street to the one room school house.
It was Nana Perkins who originally got me involved in family history. She gave me a couple of town genealogy books that had belonged to her father and it wasn’t long before I was hooked. I think, however, my early days playing in cemeteries helped nudge me that in direction as well.
Nana Perkins enjoyed using a needle and thread. She was always mending or piecing a quilt. It was Nana Perk who taught me to sew clothes. I remember sitting at her old Singer treadle machine when I was about ten years old making my very first outfit—a pair of shorts and halter-top made of printed blue cotton [see image at right].
The Grange was always a part of Nana’s life. She regularly attending meeting of the Grange in Loudon. In the image to the left she is pictured receiving a special award. That was in 1975 when she was 89 years old.
When we were young, she saw to it that Peter and I became members of the Juvenile Grange and when my family moved from Loudon to Walpole about 1947, members of the Juvenile Grange gave us a “Going Away” party complete with several Golden books.
Alice Margaret Brown was the youngest of four children born to Alfred H. and Margaret (Gale) Brown. She and her three siblings, Josephine, Fred, and Mary grew up in Canterbury, New Hampshire. Their family home was called The Maples. The images below show the house and barn about 1991.
Oh, how I wish I had recorded the many stories she told me about her childhood.
Following her graduation from high school (I believe she attended the Keyser School in Canterbury, Alice taught school in Loudon where she roomed with the John Butters Perkins family. John’s son, Homer, and Alice were wed in Chester, N.H. by Albert E. Hall, on the 8th of April 1908. The couple resided in Loudon and had two daughters, Helen and Josephine.
Nana moved to Keene, N.H. in 1964 to live with her daughter Helen. When Helen passed in 1976, my Mom moved in to the cottage on Boston Place until Nana decided it was time she moved into a senior residence. Nana Perkins died in Westmoreland, New Hampshire, 4 Jun 1984, at the age of 97.
I really miss her even though she’s been gone so many years.
© Linda Woodward Geiger, All Rights Reserved.