The other day, I was packing away all my china and knick knacks because we are doing some remodeling in our living room. In this process, I came across a little covered bowl that had been given to me by an elderly lady in the church I attended growing up in Kingsley, Michigan. Zennah Fenton was the 2nd wife of Lane Fenton, who ran the drugstore in our town. The name Fenton is a well-known one in the Village of Kingsley in part because it is the name of one of the main streets that ran into town. Lane’s father, Dr. George Fenton, was the first pharmacist, starting his business in 1884. We’re talking some serious history here folks.
Every Sunday that I attended the United Methodist Church, Zennah would be there. After her husband passed away, she was still a regular at the church sitting always on the right side of the aisle in one of first couple of rows of old wooden pews with their itchy red cloth cushions. She would squeeze my hand and pat me on the knee when I sat next to her to chat and I found myself pretending sometimes that she were my own Grandma, not because I didn’t have any mind you but because mine lived a good distance away and she most certainly qualified as the grandmotherly type.
So it was recently that I came upon this little bowl and thought to myself that someone in her family might like to have it, perhaps a great granddaughter who would cherish it like I have all these years. I remember that I kept it on the windowsill of my bedroom, framed just so by my yellow and white gingham checked curtains. Though those curtains and that window are long gone, that memory is quite clear. I’ve always been the type of person that when I get an idea in my head I’m going to go through with it so as I started writing today, I also began my search for a relative of Zennah Fenton to whom I could pass on this lovely little gift from my childhood.
It took tapping into the memory banks of an old friend of mine, now residing in sunny Florida, to remind me that although Zennah and Lane never had children of their own, she did have a sister that had lived in Kingsley as well, so I tracked her down. Sure enough, her sister Marion had three children, two of whom had passed away but one daughter was still alive and well and living in Florida with her husband. The next thing I knew, I had found an address and a phone number and was punching in the numbers on my phone. It was such joy to chat with her this afternoon. When I told her that I’d like to send the bowl to her so she could someday pass it down to one of her grandchildren, she sounded so very pleased – ‘tickled pink’ my grandmother would have said! I think Grandma Zennah would have said that too.
P.S. For those readers who, like me, know that God is always present in our lives, I have an interesting fact to add to this story. When I looked up the daughter’s Florida address today, the road she lives on is right in between Fenton Avenue and Kingsley Road.