Blanche Wordell Wilbur
1916 – 2008
I am introducing you to Blanche A. Wilbur through the eyes of a daughter with the thought that the light she has shed on my own life is a true reflection of her.
First recollections of Mother come from early childhood. Symbolic of her is a rocking chair. Always old with a special place in the kitchen. As a child I would sit in her lap and be rocked. Quietly – without a word – learning to appreciate the joy of silence and the warmth of a Mother holding me in her arms.
Afternoons were a time for walking. One of her favorite spots was the pine grove off John Dyer Road. We would hike up through the meadows until we reached our destination. The ground was blanketed with pine needles and the sound of the brook gurgled in the distance. Here was one of the old Indian burial grounds of the town. Mother has always loved the history of the Indians and many afternoons she would sit and tell me about the Little Compton trib. In her own childhood, when she attended the one-room school house on Pottersville Road, which is her home today, the teacher would take the students to this same spot on a spring outing.
She taught me, on these walks, to appreciate and be observant of the sacred virtues of Mother Nature. We often visited a spot she called the “Churn Pool”. It was an area where a brook ran into a large pool. On a sunny morning we would watch the trout jumping out of the water at the insects that skimmed the surface.
I learned from her to identify wildflowers and know the call of the bob white and the mourning dove. We would pick box berries and yearly harvest grapes and current berries with which she would make jelly.
She taught me to respect and love the wild animals that made their home in the woodlands. Each night, before going to bed, she would read to me from the Thorton Burgess series of animal stories. And when we would, by chance, come across one of those little creatures, on our walks, I was always sure it was “Jimmy Skunk” or “Reddy Fox” the author was talking about.
The beauty of night time is special to Mother. We would go outside and look at the heavens and she would point out the constellations – Orian, Taurus the bull, and the Seven Sisters. On a warm summer night we would listen to the whipporwill. One of the greatest thrills was when she took me outside one cold, snowy, still winter night and we listened to the snow fall.
One of Mother’s favorite sources of enjoyment has always been music and playing the piano. After dinner, or whenever time allowed, we would gather around the piano and sing while she played. I can not imagine her without a piano. Recently she joined the church choir and her time at the piano seems to be lengthening with her new found activity.
I cant distinctly remember growing up with what I termed “Mother’s clutter”. In later y ears I have learned to appreciate; what I once thought to be junk as, Mother’s antique collection. And now, I call upon her knowledge of the subject when I go to an auction to add to my own “clutter”.
I have never known her to be without a dog. I remember her once saying, “one can find just as much comfort and companionship in an animal as a human being.”
The last, but by no means least, thing she has instilled in me is a love of books and poetry. She stresses that the sould can be restored and lifted by sitting and reading. I often take her advice, on a gray day, and visit her bookshelves or read through her poetry collection.
Blanche Wilbur is the daughter of Ethel and LeRoy Wordell. She was born in Little Compton on December 11, 1916. She has a sister, Lucille Wordell Love and a brother William Wordell who also reside in the town. She married Nathan A. Wilbur, Jr. and has three children, Nathan III, Faith, and Beth.
This is basically Mother and as Abraham Lincoln once said, “All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
Transcription of a newspaper article written by Faith Wilbur.