Beautiful Grand Isle welcomed us with open arms. The smiling lake looked up at "Wedding Bells Bungalow" with all its wonted sparkle and fascination. The family were all glad to have us come straight to them, as we "tackled" the new experience of being among "the Unemployed." This was in July, 1929. The big Depression was utterly unexpected and undreamed of then. Everybody was flush and excited with the prosperous times. We had enough income for our modest needs and for some modest luxuries. Of course we were thoroughly tired, and glad to rest. We agreed that my pension, which started in at $600 a year and soon mounted to $750, and within a year or two grew to the helpful figure of $1,000, should be divided between us equally for our respective "allowances," as of yore, and that Marie should continue to care for our "general fund" as she had done so superlatively for so many years. I ought to be very grateful that I have never known the pinch of insufficient money. Except for a few months in my California days, when beginning my three years in Oakland, California, I have always had money enough for my modest needs, and I knew always that there was an ample "emergency fund" in the savings bank, ready at any moment. That this should not make me pampered and "soft" I have striven earnestly, and we have always given our "tithe," and often a good deal more. All the same, I have felt at times uncomfortable that I have been so comfortable when the world has been swamped in such dreadful misery and depression, and when there has been so much starvation and utter destitution among so many thousands, far and wide. It may be that the civilization that is ahead of us will not allow anybody, no matter how thrifty and careful, to be as comfortably off as we were when we joined the "Unemployed" and started for our homes on beautiful Grand Isle. As it was, however, we found ourselves thus delightfully housed in a back lot around the corner from "Easy street," as the slang phrase goes, and we appreciated it thoroughly. The sense of freedom from responsibility was a great relief to us both. We revelled in it. The sense that my time had no financial value, and that it all belonged to Marie and to me, was also a joy.
The first year of the nearly four that God was allowing me to spend with her in this new atmosphere was a busy one. We went to St. Al-bans, Vermont, on Sundays for several weeks, while Fr. Merton W. Ross, the Rector, was on his vacation, or, later, was taking further and needed rest. We went to New York City in September, where I conducted the annual "Retreat" for Deaconesses, in the chapels at St. Faith's House and in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. We went to the remarkable farm of our old Chicago friend, Burton F. White, during this trip, and he said at once that we ought to go to Winter Park, Florida, for the winter, where I could assist the local Rector, the Rev. Dr. James B. Thomas, who was recovering from a breakdown, and who needed help during the Florida "season."
This we did, arriving there in December, and staying for three surprising and interesting months. We spent at "Twenty Acres" the months from Labor Day or soon after it, until we started for Florida, and it was a most interesting experience. I got the breakfasts. We went "next door" (about 1,500 feet) to our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Ross D. Pearl, for our mid-day dinners. Marie and I together got the suppers. I was the furnace man, the ice man, the "get the mail man," the dishwasher, and the chauffeur. Mrs. May Bluto, wife of our Westerly family caretaker, Julius W. Bluto, bought and cooked for us our dinner meats. One week it would be chicken, the next, a "leg of lamb." We varied it now and then by buying some meat from Burlington. When it came to the Sundays, we always had our Holy Eucharist in our oratory at 7:30 a.m., and then would either read Matins together at 10: 30 A.m., or would drive to Burlington (24 miles) or elsewhere for our mid-morning service, and we always read Evensong together at 7 or 7:30 p.m., usually in our living room. This of course, besides our daily family prayers, which we never omitted, except on Sundays.
We read aloud to each other a great deal. We usually followed the custom which we began years before in our busy Chicago life, namely, of having always two books on the library table. One would be from the best fiction of the day, and the other would be something historical, either contemporary or of days past. And we would read aloud a little in each book, daily. This was in addition to any other reading that either of us had on hand. I usually had some new books to review for The Living Church, as I was fortunate enough to be taken on by their Book Review Department as soon as I resigned our parish. The mail was delivered near us in our box about 8 a.m. daily, and we had always the Chicago and the Burlington daily papers, as well as many letters, and a lot of weeklies and monthly magazines. We took out cards from the Burlington Fletcher Free Library, and what with our graphophone library, which now began to include several of our favorite symphonies and concertos, we found that the days and the evenings passed very quickly and enjoyably. We played "Honey-Moon Bridge" galore, and found it interesting. Marie played better than I did. We closed up our home on Grand Isle soon after Thanksgiving Day, and went first to Schenectady, New York. Fr. Bambach, the Rector of old St. George's Church, Schenectady, had summered on Grand Isle a little, and he had invited me to conduct an eight days' parochial mission in his parish during the first week in Advent. We were generously entertained by the parish at the leading hotel, and among the kindnesses shown us by the parishioners I recall especially those of Mr. and Mrs. John Conover, and Mrs. Van der Bogert. Mr. Conover was Senior Warden of this fine old parish. If my memory serves me aright, the parish dates back to about 1685. Fr. Bambach said very kind things about the mission, and the invitation was deeply appreciated, coming just at the threshold of our new life among "the Unemployed."
A year or so later we went to Arlington, Vermont, where I conducted another eight days' parochial mission in the dear little church which Marie attended when she was a girl. Fr. Brush, the Rector, made most careful and thorough preparation for this mission, and whatever good results followed were largely due to this fine work on his part. Later on still, we returned to Arlington, and I gave one of my three organ recitals of these first years of retirement, on the very same instrument which was in use during Marie's childhood. The other two recitals were at St. Albans, Vermont, and at St. Paul's Church, Burlington, Vermont. This last one was part of the service and in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of this fine old parish. The Burlington organ, a beautiful Austin instrument, is perhaps the largest in Vermont, at this writing.
We then started for Florida and took a room in Winter Park, at "The Whistling Kettle," where we also boarded, our hostess being Miss Lucy LeBoutillier, a relative of our friend, John LeBoutillier of Calvary Vestry in our New York days of the long ago. I wish that I had a great deal of space to devote to the description of Winter Park, its beautiful homes and spacious grounds, its great trees and orange groves, its tree moss, lofty palms, and flame vines, its remarkable college (Rollins College), the flavor of culture, music, poetry, art, literature, lectures, leisure and social graces, its fifteen little gems of lakes, its artistic homes and hospitable people, and all the rest of its unusual features, including its excellent orchestra of 70 pieces with its charming series of programmes during the "season." No little city of 5,000 people or so in America, so far as we know, can boast such an array of attractions, and we simply revelled in them as we discovered them all, one after the other.
I assisted the Rector of our dear little church, "All Saints' Church," and he was kindness itself to both Marie and myself. The people who attended were of Winter Park's best in every way, and the stimulus of their generous attention was a strong factor as I did my little best with my share of the preaching. Bishop and Mrs. Wing were delightfully cordial to us both, and Bishop Wing said that as long as I could make it possible I should "belong to South Florida" during the "seasons." Bishop and Mrs. Cameron Mann, whom we had known so well during our Atchison days when they were at Grace Church, Kansas City, were also warm in their welcome, and we soon found out that we had established a most unexpected and valuable home atmosphere in a part of the country of which we had scarcely heard at all, previous to Burton F. White's introduction. Bishop and Mrs. Mann both died before these memoirs were printed.
We had fully expected to stay until the usual close of the "season," that is, about the first of April, but most unexpectedly there came a telegram one day from Courtenay Barber, asking me to take the Holy Week theatre services in Chicago, since Bishop Anderson, who had taken them for years, had recently died. This was an unexpected invitation, which I gladly accepted, and so we packed up and took the train north in Mid-Lent. We went to Vermont for a few days, during which I was able to help a little with the Lenten services at St. Paul's, Burlington, and at Brattleboro, where Marie had lived for that year of teaching during my California days.
In Chicago we spent several days besides Holy Week, and I began at once to see how rare and friendly Fr. White, my successor, was proving himself to be. Our relationship of real friendliness and cooperation, which deepened so much in subsequent years, then began to add its solid gratification and interest to our lives, and the thanks that we both felt and expressed to Fr. White came from the bottom of our hearts. We felt that we were beginning, in these much-feared days of retirement, to have three homes--real ones. One at Grand Isle, where we claimed residence (and paid taxes!); one in Florida, in charming Winter Park; and our old home in Chicago, which was perhaps even more bright with affection and kindliness than when we were hard at work among its people and problems. Besides this, we came to feel really more at home in New York City than I had ever dreamed could be possible. Burton F. White always insisted that we should be his hotel guests while visiting in the metropolis, for he had more than one hostelry under his able management and care. And the family in New York were of course a center of kindness and hospitality. My sister, Miss Edith R. Hopkins, lived at the "Allerton" in New York, when not at Grand Isle. She loves New York with an unshakeable affection, and knows it thoroughly from the Battery to Harlem and more. And as time went on, I found that Dean Milo H. Gates of the great New York Cathedral called me "John," and insisted that I call him "Milo," and his cordial welcome to the wonderful Cathedral included a place for me in the procession whenever I should be in the city, and three times he made dates for me to preach from its pulpit, one of which invitations I was able to accept, in Eastertide, 1930. I will never forget the deep sense of privilege that I had when mounting those pulpit stairs and facing that congregation.
It was not long before I found that an old friend of Chicago days, the Rev. Dr. Frederic S. Fleming, had been called to be the Rector of Trinity parish. One Sunday, in 1933, he invited me to occupy a stall in the chancel during the morning Holy Eucharist, and the memories of sixty years of reverence for "Old Trinity" flocked into my mind like a kind of dream, as I went back to boyhood's days when a visit to New York and a service at Trinity Church reached the apex of my wondering appreciation. Dr. Fleming also invited me to preach in "Old Trinity." And, in that same year, to anticipate a little, another friend of Chicago days, the Rev. G. P. T. Sargent, was called to St. Bartholomew's (New York) Church as Rector, so that in three of the largest churches in that great city and diocese I found myself at home as a visitor, most unexpectedly. I said to Marie one day that I was thoroughly ashamed for having had any fears concerning the atmosphere and circumstances of retirement. She only smiled, for she knew always much more than I did about the probabilities and possibilities.
So, after our first year of "unemployment," we found that we had been busy in Chicago, Vermont, Florida, and New York, and we returned to our dear homes on Grand Isle with grateful hearts. We helped at St. Albans again in the summer of 1930, and in the fall I was invited by Bishop Wing to take charge of the Cathedral in Orlando, Florida, for the whole "season," from October to Easter. This unlooked-for invitation nearly took our breath away, and we accepted for the period that commenced soon after Thanksgiving Day.
Marie had to write out all of the "ownership certificates" and to cut off, with my help, all the interest coupons in our little pile of "securities" from October to May, in order that we might have some income on which to live when away from Grand Isle. Already, by this time, the "paralysis agitans" which eventually caused her death was troubling her, and she had to write slowly and with much effort. I tried to keep her at this writing, bidding her to take plenty of time, for I saw that to give up to this disease in any way was to acknowledge defeat on her part, and this her pluck was unwilling to do. I kept her signing the checks for our running expenses up to within a few days of her death. She simply would not give up, and her determination was splendid. We used to drive to Burlington on this banking business, and the officials of the Merchants National Bank would generously let us have the use of a whole room where we would work together over the coupons, etc., no matter how long it would take. Marie's walking, too, even at this date (1930), was troubling her, and I would save her every possible step whenever we went to the bank, or at all other times. One exception we agreed to make was that every morning, after breakfast, she would try to take a walk, with me as her "cane." She stoutly refused to use a cane, even until the last walk she ever took. She preferred to take my arm, and I much preferred, of course, that she should so do. Her left leg was very weak and she would often say that she had to "drag it along." In the fall of 1930, however, she was able to walk for a thousand feet or so at once, without stopping to rest.
Well, we packed up our grips for an absence of five or six months in Florida, and we closed up "Twenty Acres," and on the day before Thanksgiving Day we drove to Burlington. For we had determined to drive to Florida in our faithful 1927 "Nash," the Special Six sedan. We saw the need of a car in Winter Park, during our first visit. We went to the Van Ness House, in Burlington, to rest for four or five days, as we both were pretty tired after the work of writing and packing, etc., and we planned to start on our long drive, for which we had made elaborate plans, on Monday after Thanksgiving Day. I preached in St. Paul's Church on Thanksgiving morning. We entertained guests at the "Hotel Vermont" for dinner. The following evening we went to Rock Point and dined with Bishop and Mrs. Booth. But on Saturday I began to feel queerly and on Sunday I was in sudden and great pain, and at 9 p.m. Sunday I was taken by Dr. Benjamin D. Adams to the Mary Fletcher Hospital, in Burlington, and was soon operated on for appendicitis. It was about as unexpected a change of plans as one could imagine!
Marie was in great trouble, for she could walk but with difficulty, and when my sister Edith and her sister Charlotte (Mrs. General L. C. Andrews) came up immediately from New York to help, it was a welcome arrival for us both indeed. Charlotte engaged a room for Marie at the foot of the hospital home at first, and then she persuaded the hospital authorities to admit Marie as a patient taking "the rest cure," and her room was adjoining mine. This was a great comfort to us both, and we were very grateful to Charlotte for this help. Charlotte also introduced us to Mrs. Arthur Provost, Jr., of 102 Adams street, Burlington, where this lady operates a very comfortable sanitarium with only a few residents, and after my four weeks at the Mary Fletcher Hospital we moved to 102 Adams street and stayed there until April. Marie also took some thirty electrical treatments from Dr. George I. Forbes during these four months, and we took a good walk every morning. We had a delightful winter at Mrs. Provost's, and we became a little acquainted with Burlington people, for with the exception of a few of our older friends from college and teaching days, Burlington was inhabited by a race of strangers, so far as we were concerned. People were very kind to us, especially the Rector of St. Paul's parish, Fr. Vedder Van Dyck, and his inner circles.
During Lent Marie gave, with a little help from me, six remarkable missionary addresses as "the Lent Study Class" programmes for that season. The women of St. Paul's turned out in large numbers, and Marie gave most interesting messages. This was our last work together, in church programmes, and it was also almost the first time that we had ever shared a series of programmes together. It would be difficult for me to try to describe how much I enjoyed it! The women gave Marie a beautiful plant at the close, as an expression of their appreciation and regard. She was much pleased. It cheered her a great deal to find that she had not lost her skill in speaking.
She had other opportunities, too, at Swanton, and at Arlington, Vermont, to make missionary addresses, and the impression she made upon the good women of the Vermont Auxiliary was so strong that they responded royally, and gave her their regard at once. After her death they voted that every district branch of the diocesan Auxiliary should give twenty-five dollars a year to the United Thank Offering in memory of Marie! And one of the chief honors of all my invitations to speak came to me through the kindness of Bishop Samuel B. Booth, of Vermont, when he asked me to address the annual meeting of the Vermont Auxiliary at Rock Point, on May 10, 1933, two months after Marie's death, giving a narrative of her life and work. The large number of women listened most closely for three-quarters of an hour. It was a wonderful theme!
I must not overload this chronicle with too many details, though our nearly four years together after our retirement saw us in many places and gave us widely varied experiences.
At the close of our five months in Burlington, in early 1931, Marie gave an afternoon reception to all the Burlingtonians who had been good enough to call on us and to show us some sympathetic attentions during our hospital and sanitarium residence. There were over fifty guests, and the afternoon at Mrs. Provost's was admirably arranged by Marie so that everybody had a good time. It was a gracious finale to our unexpected stay in my native city, and it was the last social gathering but one in Marie's long and varied career as a hostess.
We then drove in our "Nash" to New York, and had a charming little visit with relatives and friends, taking in the Vermont Diocesan Convention at Brattleboro, on our way back to Grand Isle.
The summer passed rapidly, and in the fall we closed up "Twenty Acres," packed up again for five or six months' absence, and took the train for our beloved Chicago, where we stayed a month at "the Hotel Windermere West," in a very comfortable room. Marie's trouble in walking was steadily increasing, but we managed to get about a great deal, and the conductors on the street cars and busses were so uniformly kind and courteous that I soon began to take their numbers, for Marie was deeply impressed by their consideration. When we reached Florida again I wrote a letter to the Chicago Street Car Company which they published in their magazine, along with many similar letters, thanking these men for their great kindliness to a lady struggling with some lameness.
We had a most exhilarating and delightful visit in Chicago that month and our dear people both of The Epiphany and of The Redeemer parishes simply overwhelmed us with invitations of every sort. There were so many that we could not accept them all. We even "went out" to breakfast one morning! That has always been my ideal of superlative hospitality, to be invited to breakfast. We had one more indescribably happy "Christmas with the Martins," and at the church my good friend Fr. White made us both feel more than at home in every way. This final month in Chicago was a real climax of joy for Marie. She spoke of it often during the remaining months of her life. She planned carefully to go to Chicago again and to stay at "The Windermere," in the following December (1932) and when that was impossible, to do so in the one after that (in 1933) but that was not to be. As I think back over that month, December, 1931, it seems to me almost incredible that any people, even good Church people in Chicago, could be as kind and as generous and as hospitable to anybody as they were to Marie and to my unworthy self, during that notable visit. It will always be a fragrant and stimulating memory.
Then we did something we had never done before, in the way of travel. We took the train (Illinois Central) from Chicago to Winter Park, Florida. It was an unusual ride, and we learned some serious lessons about the poverty of some parts of the South.
We had a welcome and winsome time in Winter Park for the following three months. Marie was able to walk once a day between our lodging place, which was a very pleasant suite of three rooms in "The Lincoln Apartments," and our boarding place, which again was "The Whistling Kettle," the distance being about one-third of a mile each way. She could walk for twenty-five or fifty steps at a time, after which she would have to grasp some friendly tree or post unless I was walking with her, and then she would tackle another "stunt" of fifty steps or less. In that way she got a little exercise each morning as she walked to and from our breakfasts. For the other two meals she had to ride, so we bought a second-hand 1928 "Ford" coupe, which had been largely rebuilt and was sold to us by Winter Park's dealer in used cars, for $225. It was a very good buy, for the little car had been driven only about 25,000 miles, and was in prime condition, with new paint and linings so that it looked almost new. It would go, too, much faster than Marie wanted to be driven, and we covered some 1,700 miles in our daily drives in and around beautiful Winter Park, during these very enjoyable three months. We had a lovely time with this little machine, and became very fond of it. We even planned to drive to Grand Isle in it, though we finally decided to leave it in Winter Park until our return in the following winter of 1934, should that return prove possible.
We read aloud to each other a great deal, as we had always done, and day after day we would take the car and our book, would drive to some shady spot, and then read till it was time for luncheon or dinner, while the car was parked by the roadside. Once we drove to Daytona Beach (it was in January, 1932), and I had an exhilarating swim in the Atlantic's surf, after which we both had our "tin-types" taken on the famous beach by a wandering photographer. Another day we drove to the little town of Cocoa, where my old friend and former Curate, the Rev. Dr. E. H. Merriman, was in charge of the local parish during the "season." And on Easter Even, Miss Mary L. Leonard, of the Winter Park parish, very kindly made a picnic for us and had her chauffeur drive us, with her and another friend, to the "Bok Tower." That was the last social attention that Marie was ever to receive, and it was a fitting close to the long series of kindnesses of this sort that her many friends showed to her so frequently, all during our life together.
I Celebrated the Holy Eucharist in the Winter Park church every other Sunday at 8 a.m., and preached on the other Sundays at 10:30 a.m., and during Lent I also had a Bible class for women, each week, and shared in the two daily services every morning and afternoon. I played the organ for the Lenten hymns at these services, and once I drove, with Marie, twenty miles each way to a neighboring church to assist the local Rector. This was a sermon on Ash Wednesday evening, at our church in Sanford. Until Lent began there was no Sunday evening service in our Winter Park church, so we usually drove to the 5 p.m. Evensong at the Cathedral in Orlando (four miles), every Sunday afternoon from our arrival just before New Year's Eve, until and including Quinquagesima Sunday. I gave the brief address at one of these services, by the kind invitation of Dean Johnson. I addressed the students of Rollins College one morning, in their out-door meeting. I held the "Three Hours" service at All Saints', and Celebrated and assisted at the Easter morning Holy Communion in All Saints' Church, which were very largely attended, as was also the Good Friday service. We were invited to dine by our most gracious host and his wife, Col. and Mrs. Briscoe Hindman, at "The Lincoln," on Easter Day, and after the later morning service we had a half-hour or more before the dinner hour, so we took a drive in our little car, to "cool off" a little before going out to dinner.
We chose a route which we had taken a dozen times or more, leading northward to the edge of the town, and then crossing the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and returning by a westward and southern road to our destination in Winter Park. Suddenly, as we neared the railroad crossing, Marie cried out "Look out! Here comes the train!" The express train from Tampa was bearing down on us, whistling and ringing its bell, and going at least forty or fifty miles an hour. They couldn't stop, and I tried to stop. We were unable to see the approaching locomotive until it was within a few hundred feet of us. I did my best to stop. My engine stalled just as our front wheels rested on one of the rails. I was not able to start the engine again before the locomotive struck us. It threw our car some distance, and threw Marie out of the car. I was pinned down by the overturned windshield, whose unbreakable glass mercifully withstood the blow and did not even crack. Marie was unconscious, her head was bruised with a bad scalp wound. Her left leg was very badly broken with a splintered break just above the knee. My right leg was wounded though nothing was broken. A crowd gathered at once from the train, which stopped immediately, and from the neighborhood. As soon as possible two ambulances came to the rescue, and we were taken, separately, to the Florida Hospital in Orlando, a Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, where we were at once given every attention and shown every kindness.
Thirty-five people called to inquire about us, during the first thirty hours. Never have I dreamed that so much kindness could be shown to two people who had been only six months in the vicinity, all told. I could fill pages with condensed narratives of these remarkable evidences of the goodness of the Winter Park and Orlando people, and of the strong impression which Marie had made upon them even in so short a time of residence.
Her broken leg was a severe problem. The great skill of our surgeons, Drs. B. A. Burks and L. L. Andrews, and the very careful nursing by Miss Parrish, Miss Ricks, and Mrs. Tyndall, as well as by Mrs. Clarke, the supervisor, reinforced by the myriads of prayers from hundreds of friends in many parts of the United States, brought her through the first critical weeks without the necessity of amputation which at first seemed imminent. And the dreadful danger of pneumonia was also successfully warded off, though for some days her life was hanging by a thread. She was bravery and cheerfulness incarnate, all the time. Her ready laugh and her constant smile impressed even the most casual nurses in the whole hospital. Her friends filled her room with flowers, day after day. And the mail which flooded us from many distant parts was an astonishment even to the hospital office force.
For some weeks she had to remain on her back, unable to move more than an inch or two at a time, day or night, until the numerous splinters of her broken bone should knit even a little. She never complained once, and her spirit was simply magnificent. The Rev. Dr. J. B. Thomas was tireless in his visits and ministrations. We had our Holy Eucharist every Sunday morning, thanks to his kindness, and of course I had daily prayers with Marie every morning and evening just as soon as I could leave my own bed, which was in about a fortnight. Even before that I was able to get about in a wheel chair, and I spent most of my time in her room. For two weeks after I was up, I was able to sleep at "The Lincoln," in Winter Park, where our generous landlord, Col. Briscoe Hindman, insisted on giving me a suite as his guest, and my breakfasts also, and then drove me himself every morning to the hospital. Our new and valued friend, B. R. Coleman, of Chicago, who had just bought a beautiful home in Winter Park, drove out to see us every day, and always drove me back to "The Lincoln" at about 9 p.m. every evening of the fortnight after I was "discharged" from my hospital room.
Things went on thus for about three weeks, when my real turn came. I had been feeling quite uncomfortable at finding that Marie had been so severely injured, and was having such great discomfort and at times so much severe pain, while I got off so easily though I was at the wheel as the locomotive struck us. I need not have disturbed myself so much, as the sequel showed. For I took a slight cold about three weeks after Easter Day, and one Friday night I had a really "awful" time. In previous years, as has been stated, I had ridden a bicycle for some seventeen years, all told, and I had contracted a pelvic disturbance from this long experience, which had given me more or less discomfort for nearly twenty-five years. The shock of the locomotive's blow stirred this matter up to the superlative degree, and, to make the story short, I had to undergo a major operation, which was delayed nearly two weeks, and which was followed by a month of continuous and biting pain in my left hand and wrist (they called it "neuritis"), the sum total of which was more acute suffering for weeks, and more daily discomfort for months than I like to think of or to record. My only delight in the midst of it all was that I had more pain than Marie had, which I felt that I richly deserved. And since ten of the seventeen bicycling years were while I was Epiphany's Rector in Chicago, I felt that I had at last endured some physical distress as an "occupational disease," so that I could at least look some of the Martyrs in the face, should I ever be allowed to meet them in the next world.
The kindnesses showered upon us during all of this hospital time are beyond my powers of description. I have never heard of anything like it, in my limited experience with life. Three Winter Park residents, almost strangers to us, asked us to come to their homes, nurses and all, during our convalescence. Three men came to me with offers of money, as loans, if I needed money. Thanks to Marie's wonderful thrift, we had an ample "emergency fund" in the savings bank, and did not need to trouble even our kindest friends by borrowing.
Three other items of all this kindness stand out in high relief. At "The Lincoln," in Winter Park, where everybody was just packing up, preparing to go home, with the average exchequer probably in just the condition that it usually is at such a time, these extraordinary people took up a purse of some $150 and sent it to our Burlington bank, in the most gracious and tactful way, so that I do not today know the names of the donors, and yet the bank wrote to us that this sum had been placed to our credit. We think that Col. Briscoe Hindman's generous and most gentlemanly hand was one of the guiding influences in this remarkable gift. We recalled that we did not even know personally some of the good people who must have contributed!
And on May 24th, in our parish house in Chicago, our friends of The Redeemer parish held a "thanksgiving party," which was attended by over two hundred, and which was, as some said, one of the most delightful of social gatherings. There were twenty door prizes, the admission to everything being one dollar. There were bridge tables, and there was a musical programme, and there were refreshments, and there was dancing, all in thanksgiving because we were not killed by the locomotive. And the results sent to us, coupled with two personal checks from parishioners and friends, reached about $500.
The third instance that also nearly brought tears to our eyes as we realized it came from Grand Isle. It was the "muddy season" at our Island home, when for a fortnight or so the frost was coming out of the ground, and the "going" was most difficult on most of the roads. Yet the generous and devoted women whom we knew got up a "sunshine box," with many presents for Marie, and sent them to the Grand Isle Post Office by the milk trucks, where one of the women packed the box, and they all chipped in to express it to Marie while she lay in the hospital! The Orlando nurses were astonished beyond words, and Marie and I were hardly able to use our voices as we told about the friends who thought up, collected for, and put through this box!
Well, all things come to an end, and our hospital-time did so too. My left hand and arm were about useless for anything but the lightest effort, so I asked my sister, Miss Edith R. Hopkins, of New York, if she could come down to Winter Park and go with us to Vermont, so that I could have her help in caring for Marie on the train. She very kindly complied, and came down a few days before we started, during which time the Winter Park people entertained her delightfully, after their manner.
The day for our departure finally arrived, Sunday, June 12, 1932, and the ambulance (whose owners had stoutly refused to accept any money for bringing her to the hospital on Easter Day, March 27th), yielded to my earnest wish, and allowed me to pay for the transportation to the railroad station in Winter Park. (The other ambulance man, who brought me to the hospital, likewise refused to send in any bill, though we were entire strangers to both men!) I had engaged staterooms all the way to Essex Junction, Vermont, and we had to change trains at Jacksonville, Florida, and at Washington, D. C, as the through trains were all taken off after the close of the "season." The railroad men were very kind, all along the journey, for Marie was on her back, and could not move. We had ambulance corps of men at the changing points, and in Washington there was a hospital room in the station which was supplied with every convenience. I slept as best I could on the cots in the various staterooms, and Edith helped me serve Marie with entire efficiency, so we did not have to add to our many bills the expense of a nurse along the homeward journey. I should have noted above that my very able nurses were four men, Messrs. Deerwester, Miller, Villum, and Vondle, besides Messrs. McCabe and Peyton who helped me through my many "treatments," as the very thorough morning baths were called in the lower storey of the sanitarium adjoining the hospital. My extremely skillful surgeon was Dr. Louis Orr, to whom, as to Drs. Burks and Andrews, who helped us both, I owe a debt of indescribable gratitude.
The long journey was over at last, and at 5: 55 a.m., five minutes ahead of time, the "Montrealler" rolled into Essex Junction, Vermont, on Tuesday, June 14th, and there we found Mr. Gurney of Burlington with his ambulance, and Mrs. Arthur Provost, Jr., as well, ready to take us both to Mrs. Provost's new sanitarium on Prospect street, in Burlington, eight miles distant, where we stayed for sixteen days, while I managed to get "Wedding Bells Bungalow," on Grand Isle, twenty-four miles from Burlington, ready for Marie. This involved buying two single beds to replace our double bed in the bungalow, and it also involved several other rearrangements of our dear summer home, as well as the engaging of Mrs. Griswold, of Grand Isle, as our practical nurse. Mrs. Griswold stayed with Marie until the end, and helped us through the summer, fall, and winter very efficiently. She occupied the north wing of our guest house, and I took the other bed in our bungalow's bed-room. I called Mrs. Griswold only when it was absolutely necessary at night, and as the months wore on this was for a time but rarely needed.
We had a lovely summer in the beautiful bungalow which Marie had furnished so artistically so many years before, this being our twenty-ninth consecutive summer on Grand Isle. In the mornings, as for so many years, I usually drove up to "Twenty Acres" (one mile inland), and worked in the gardens and around the house, for my exercise, while Mrs. Griswold took full charge of Marie. After our mid-day dinner, which was served on one of our porches, as were all of our meals (the trays being brought over by Mrs. Griswold and myself from the dining hall in our community house near by), I took charge as amateur nurse, until 8 a.m. the following morning, asking Mrs. Griswold's help only when I could not help Marie alone. I read aloud, and the other members of the "Westerly" clan did likewise, and paid visits daily to Marie as the summer weeks passed rapidly away.
At first we all felt that Marie was gaining, and she bravely tried to take some pulley exercises daily, in an effort to recover some strength and motion in her arms. Her broken leg finally knitted well, though she could not move it because of the paralysis agitans. Her shaking hands were very weak, and after a while we gave up the pulleys and saw that she was not gaining in strength or movements. Her wonderful cheeriness and determined courage never left her, and all the visitors who came to see her marvelled at her splendid spirit. She had several callers from Chicago, Florida, Long Island, and Boston, as well as from Burlington and other points in and beyond Vermont, and I really think that she enjoyed her last summer in beloved "Westerly" in no small degree. Every day we had our Morning and Evening Prayers, and once, when the little daughter of her oldest nephew, Harmon Sheldon Graves, Jr., and Audrey Tower, was baptized "Elizabeth Hart" by myself in our little log chapel, Marie was wheeled to the service, and her picture was taken by the various family kodaks.
Every Sunday I brought her the Reserved Sacrament from our 7: 30 A.M. Celebration in the chapel, and she could hear our singing at the other chapel services as she lay on her recliner, usually in our glassed-in north porch. She was very fond of the view of Lake Champlain from our west porch, and in the afternoons, when the winds were not too strong, we usually moved her recliner out to that porch, and often had our suppers there also. The various members of the family always stopped to speak with her, as they passed that porch going to and from the various bungalows of "Westerly," and her days were rarely too long. I rented a very good victrola and brought down from "Twenty Acres" all of our records, and often we had beautiful music, which she enjoyed very much. Drs. Benjamin Adams and George I. Forbes, from Burlington, came to see her several times during the summer, and gave us what advice was possible, under the circumstances. I myself did not dream that it was to be her last summer with us, but I think that, as September approached, she herself must have had some presentiment that this was the fact. She was very loath to leave, and to go even to the beautiful home at "Twenty Acres" when September came, and we stayed on the shore at "Westerly" until September 22d, which was much later than usual. We were afraid that the cool weather might bring on a bad cold which might easily run into pneumonia, so, though she wanted very much to stay by the lake another week, we got a truck from our neighbors, the Vantines, and lifted her recliner into it, and she took her last drive on Grand Isle, as we slowly climbed the little hills between the lake shore and our little farm at "Twenty Acres." It was a mild afternoon, with sunshine, and she watched the familiar scenes with interest, as we jolted along the country road.
Mr. Gurney, our friend of the ambulance at Essex Junction, very generously loaned us this recliner during all of the nearly six months which followed our arrival at Grand Isle, and refused to take any rent. We greatly appreciated this kindness, and every day Julius Bluto came to assist the nurse and myself as Marie was lifted to the recliner about mid-morning. She stayed there until after supper, when we three lifted her again to her bed. We were able to wheel her around in the bungalow during the summer, and around the main floor of the house at "Twenty Acres" during the fall and winter. She had thus a little variety, though after reaching "Twenty Acres" she never left the house.
Once at "Twenty Acres," the days revolved around a definite routine for us all. My neuritis had been sufficiently conquered by September for me to use my left hand, with care, about as usual, though I may say here that the prickly feelings remained constantly for many months after my severe operation in Florida. I was not able, for the first summer of my Vermont life, to go swimming, or to use my boats, because of this neuritis. This gave me more time to be with Marie, and I am very grateful that it could have been possible.
Our routine at "Twenty Acres" was very simple. I usually rose at 6 a.m. or thereabouts, and attended to the furnace and the battery-charging engine, and "got breakfast." The nurse came down about 8 a.m., and soon afterwards gave Marie her breakfast. While the nurse was at her breakfast I held our daily family prayers by Marie's bedside. I then washed the dishes, went for the ice, the mail, and the milk. Once or twice a week I then started in the "Nash" for a hurried trip to Burlington for shopping, banking, etc., returning in time for my afternoon with Marie, which began at 2 p.m. Other days I spent the rest of the morning in some outdoor exercise, until about 11 a.m. when I reached my typewriter in my "den," for another portion of Marie's biography, and for any other mail that could not wait until later in the day. The afternoons went quickly, with short naps and reading aloud and occasional messages from the radio or the victrola, until supper time at 6 p.m. Mrs. Griswold got our dinners and suppers, and I washed the supper dishes. Mrs. Griswold then "put Marie to bed," and about 7: 30 p.m. I went to the room and we had our evening prayers, and then I read aloud to Marie until she went to sleep. I usually "turned in" myself about 9:30 or 10 p.m., for Marie often called me every hour or two during much of the night, and my room was only a few feet from hers. She had not strength enough to pull a small bell, but I always heard her call, even though her voice grew weaker and weaker. We had many letters from our dear friends and kinsfolk, and the days passed quickly. When possible our neighbors called for a few minutes, and some from Burlington found it possible now and then to drive to our door.
Then Christmas came. Marie always made a great deal of Christmas, and I went to her "Christmas trunk" in the barn-room where she had carefully put away, from our Chicago life, the musical Christmas tree, and a lot of decorations. I trimmed up the tree, with help from our willing and versatile friend, Julius Bluto, and I decorated our south porch, where Marie usually spent most of her days on her recliner. Mrs. Griswold helped us with the telephoning, and Marie through her help thus invited fifty of our friends and neighbors to come to "Twenty Acres" for an hour at 3 p.m. on Monday, St. Stephen's Day, December 26, 1933. I bought a lot of oranges in Burlington, and some holiday paper, and Mrs. Griswold, with help from Rosy Bluto, another of our helpers, kindly wrapped all the oranges in the Christmas paper, and piled them near Marie's recliner. She was beautifully dressed for the "party," and lay in her recliner in the inglenook of our living room, while the guests came to greet her and to receive their Christmas oranges from her own trembling hands. She was all smiles, and so very glad to have so many guests. Out of fifty invited, forty-five came, and I took them, as she had carefully planned, by fifteens into the south porch, and there played for them with the musical tree, and recited "The Night Before Christmas," and Mrs. Griswold's boy, Jack, also recited a Christmas "piece." It was Marie's last "party," and she enjoyed it greatly. It told on her limited strength somewhat, but that could not be helped.
Soon after this, however, she took a definite turn for the worse. Her brilliant mind became a bit clouded at times, and she was not always certain as to where she was. Our reliable and faithful Julius, who as has been said had come to her unfailingly twice a day. ever since she returned to Grand Isle to lift her, with the help of the nurse and myself, from the bed to the recliner each morning and to lift her back to the bed after supper each evening, found increasing difficulty on her part in going through the few morning exercises with her arms and hands, which she bravely tried to continue, day after day. The cloud on her wonderful mind gained more and more, as January merged into February, and February into March.
Our Sundays were different from the other days. I always Celebrated the Holy Eucharist in her room, at 7:30 a.m. in full vestments, and at 10: 30 or 11 a.m. we either read Matins together or tuned into the Montreal Cathedral service. I usually read her one of the sermons by the Bishop of London. In the afternoons we usually tuned in for the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra Concert, which Marie enjoyed as well as I did. After supper we read Evensong together. When her hands became so weak that she could not hold the Prayer Book, I read all the Psalms, but she always responded in the Canticles, which, of course, she knew by heart.
On her last Sunday, which was the First Sunday in Lent, March 5th, she was able to receive at the Celebration, and I reserved the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle of our oratory's Altar, ready for her viaticum, should the end come during the week. I felt that it might come at any time, though our good friend, Dr. Caron, of the Island, said that she might last for some time, as her strength seemed to be holding out fairly well. On Monday, March 6th, she had a very hard day. She was in mental distress all day long, and the effort told heavily on her limited strength. I wired to Chicago for some Holy Oil, for I did not know where to find any in this part of New England. Through the great kindness of my friends, the Rev. Dr. E. J. Randall, and Canon David E. Gibson, of Chicago, the package arrived during the week, but too late for use.
Marie's strength faded rapidly after that ordeal of Monday, and by Wednesday she was unconscious. At 1 o'clock a.m. on Thursday, March 9th, the nurse and I called Dr. Caron by telephone, and he came the six miles almost immediately. He said that Marie's heart was still strong, and that she might last for a day or two, though the end might come at any moment. He remained with us until 2:30. It was too late to administer to her the Reserved Sacrament, for she could not swallow, and could not understand anything said to her. I offered the final prayers, and then lay down for a little while in my room. At 4 a.m. I went to her room; she was yet breathing. At 5 A.M. I went to her bedside, and her dear spirit had fled! A more peaceful, painless departure could scarcely be imagined. She just ceased breathing, that was all.
March is a severe month in parts of New England, and most of the roads were very difficult, yet nothing that could have been done by kindness and willing ability was omitted by those who helped through the next trying and heavy days. The men at the station sent out all the telegrams immediately, and they also reported all that came to me, without delay. Mr. Gurney and his helpers came the twenty-four miles from Burlington at once, and took charge of her dear body with great care. My sister Edith came immediately from New York, and Marie's sister, Charlotte (Mrs. L. C. Andrews), did likewise from New-town, Connecticut, and her brother George Graves came from Hartford, Connecticut, so that I had ample help in managing all that had to be done.
A large group of Grand Isle's most substantial people succeeded in getting to our home at 10 a.m. on the day following (Friday, March 10th), and at that hour I Celebrated the Requiem Holy Eucharist in our living room, erecting a small Altar in the very same inglenook where Marie had received her Christmas guests at her last party on St. Stephen's Day. I made an address during this Celebration, telling them an outline of the story of Marie's wonderful life. It was a great comfort to have so many of these strong men and women come to our home for such a purpose at such a time. We made no mistake when we settled among such good people for our final years together at home.
Telegrams for flowers came to Burlington from Chicago with almost overwhelming kindness. St. Paul's Church chancel, Burlington, was beautifully decorated with these masses of flowers, sent from our Redeemer friends and others, and at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 11th, Bishop S. B. Booth of Vermont, assisted by the Rev. Vedder Van Dyck, Rector of St. Paul's; the Rev. Joseph Reynolds, the Rev. J. S. McKee, and by the other local clergy of the Church, Celebrated Marie's Requiem Holy Eucharist. There was a much larger congregation than I had expected, and the choir of St. Paul's Church sang their parts of the very impressive service, Harrison A. Cooke at the organ, with deep devotion. It began with the "Miserere," and closed with the "Hallelujahs" of the Easter hymns. It was one of the most lofty, devotional, and uplifting services I have ever attended, and I shall always be most grateful for the help of those friends who made it possible. Many who came were moved beyond words at the impressiveness and splendid faith and hope of it all. Our dear Lord surely gave her, as well as us, His Blessed Presence on that solemn and holy morning. The hymns were "O Paradise," "The Strife is O'er," and "Jesus Lives."
At the same hour, in Chicago, in our beloved Church of The Redeemer, our dear friend, Fr. White, celebrated her Requiem Holy Eucharist, with all the rich and devotional beauty of our parish's worship. Our much loved friend, Robert R. Birch, was at the organ. The full choir was present, as was a complete group of Acolytes. There was a large congregation of our sympathetic and sorrowing friends, gathered from Chicago and her suburbs, far and near.
I have never been able to find words to express my gratefulness for this testimonial of affection and sympathy!
We drove from the church to beautiful Lake View Cemetery, where we laid her body in the vault, as in winter time it is almost impossible to dig a grave. I had all the flowers, except a blossom which I kept myself, sent to the two hospitals in Burlington, for the cemetery could not place flowers in the vault. I had a beautiful letter of thanks from the Sister at the Bishop De Goesbriand Roman Catholic Hospital. The rest of the flowers I sent to the Mary Fletcher Hospital where Marie and I had been so kindly cared for during my first operation in Advent, 1929. The weather was that of a glorious winter day, with the sunlight clear and bright, the mountains across the lake shining with new-fallen snows, and the lake itself resplendent in brilliant white. Uplifting in every way, triumphant in every moment, was this holy burial, a fitting climax to the brave and cheering courage that marked all of her closing months, and to the superb spirit of faith and the noble beauty of ideal which inspired and ruled her stainless life from its beginning to this transition-day of radiant faith and blessed advance. Christ Jesus, our God and Saviour, held us both in His Loving Arms, and strengthened us with might by His Spirit within. And the kindness of our sympathizing friends and kinsfolk will always be a blessed memory.
Our mail brought me over four hundred and fifty letters and telegrams of sympathy, from all over the United States, and my sister Edith very kindly filed them all in a large Book of Remembrance, which reposes still in our home at "Twenty Acres." The papers of Burlington, both the Free Press and the Daily News, very generously allowed me to fill a whole column with an obituary outline of Marie's life, and I had hundreds of copies of these mimeographed. I sent a copy, with some written lines of gratefulness to everyone who wrote or telegraphed to me a message of sympathy. I was amazed at some of the truly remarkable tributes to Marie's character and influence which these generous and loving friends thus sent to me. She richly deserved them all, but busy people do not always find it possible to write such words. All of these tokens and expressions of love and sympathy and prayers sustained me wonderfully, and I am heartily ashamed that I had ever feared, as I had done deeply for many years, the ordeal of having Marie die. I felt that it was a mercy from God that she went first, instead of having me go first, and I shall always be unspeakably grateful that her last hours were so painless and peaceful.
On Wednesday morning, June 14th, as several of our Westerly kinsfolk had by that time arrived at Grand Isle, we all went to the cemetery, with a number of friends and relatives from Burlington, meeting there at our lot near the beach of Lake Champlain, at 11 o'clock, for the final committal service. This was read by the Rev. James S. McKee, of Rock Point. Marie and I had bought our monument during the summer of 1929, just as soon as we could after retiring from our Chicago life. It is a simple Celtic Cross of white marble, standing about eight feet high, bearing our names and dates, and the inscription, "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth." Not far away is my father's family lot, with its six graves for him and mother, my three sisters, Mary Josephine, Helen Louise, and Elizabeth Fay, and my only brother, Richard Austin. Nearer than these is the grave of Bishop Bissell, who married Marie's aunt, and who confirmed me, and ordained me to the Diaconate. The beach hard by is the one over which I walked so many, many times in my boyhood, walking to and from Burlington, and a mile or so to the west lies Rock Point, my birthplace, with the diocesan school and Bishop's residence that the Church in Vermont received from my grandfather, Bishop Hopkins.
In this beautiful spot lies her dear body, awaiting the glad summons of the Resurrection morn, and in God's own time I hope that mine will rest beside hers. In her blessed memory I took, as she herself suggested that we both might do as a thank offering, the $1,500 which our generous friends of The Redeemer parish gave to us when we retired, and I placed two stained glass windows in The Redeemer Chapel in Chicago, the work being done by a Chicago firm, Messrs. Giannini and Hilgart. There are eight scenes from our Lord's Life, viz.: Our Lord in the Temple; and Blessing Little Children; Teaching and Preaching; and Healing the Sick. These form one of the double windows. The other four pictures are scenes from His Holy Nativity, His Sacred Passion, His Mighty Resurrection, and His Glorious Ascension. The inscription is as follows:
"A. M. D. G.,
In Loving Memory of Marie Moulton Graves, Beloved Wife of John Henry Hopkins. A.D. 1861-1933. Reguiescat in Pace.
These imperfect memoirs of her life and of our life together are written as an humble attempt to express some of the unspeakable gratefulness which wells up in my heart, for the joys and inspiration of her fellowship through the half-century or more since I first beheld her wonderful face. On our wedding ring she had the word "Forever" engraved. May the mercy of God grant me this boon in the world to come! And may any who are willing to read these poor and inadequate pages pray for the rest and peace of her dear soul, and for her continual growth in holiness, love, and service, and for my unworthy self, that this boon may be granted me, through the love of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen!