Before and After
I was so young — 12,13,14 — during my BC years that I knew nothing about the family history that had preceded me there, and could not have anticipated the relationships that would unfold in subsequent years.
How did a sort-of Methodist girl from Blanchester end up at BC? My great-grandmother, Lulu Oberlin Craig, was the connection. As a young farm girl in the 1890s, she wanted to study music. The family lore goes that she drove her buggy to Brown County, and used her egg money to pay for piano lessons from the nuns. Later, as a staunch Methodist churchwoman and the wife of a Blanchester business owner, she told het two sons to remain attentive to the convent. My grandfather, her younger son, took those words to heart as a grain dealer whose customers included the convent farm. I believe that he and Sister Peter, who managed the farm (and the horses!) were buddies long before I arrived as a student. He and my grandmother had three sons, so there was no one to go to school at BC until I arrived — three generations after Lulu! I also learned as an adult that after my 28-year-old mother and year-old brother were killed in a car accident, Sister Aloysius was the person to whom my father turned for support and counsel.
Sister Miriam told me once that the nuns had found my grandmother to be an extremely reserved woman. A surprise to me, but I suppose that she was, with people she didn’t know. But over the years, she and my grandfather developed deep friendships at BC, especially with Xavier and Agatha, who visited them in Florida during the winters and were extremely attentive to my grandmother after she was widowed and, a few years later, moved to assisted living in Cincinnati. In time we all became great friends. My father served on the Chatfield board and so got to know Sr. Ellen and Sr. Cecelia well. It was Agatha and Xavier who brought my 81-year-old grandmother to Cleveland for a day to meet her new great-granddaughter (picture sent separately), Xavier who gave me excellent advise about educating my children, and Agatha and Ellen who made a dash to Cleveland to attend the visitation when my son died. Agatha and Xavier conducted my grandfather’s funeral in his living room, my grandmother’s in the Brescia chapel, my stepmother Jewel’s in Blan — and Ellen and Cecilia spoke at my father’s memorial luncheon (Sister Agatha had injured her back).
My family — except for me — is not a religious crowd, and I was a poor excuse for a student during my youth. But such grace, that Ursuline nuns and the Craig family have had these treasured connections for 125 years!