|I WAS GRANDMA'S FAVORITE
My Tribute to Corinthia Sawyer Owens
by Christine Brothers Ambrose
The old Ainsley Family Bible records Grandma's birth date; Corinthia
Idean Sawyer, January 16, 1898. She was the second child and oldest
daughter of William Lamb Sawyer and Martha Ainsley Sawyer. She was
born is a small Tyrrell County community called "Cross
I remember Grandma's visit to our house when I was a child with
warm memories. She didn't have a permanent residence at that time, so
she visited and stayed with her family. She went from home to home to
see how everyone was getting along, or to be a lifesaver when there
was a need. When new babies were born or someone was sick, Grandma was
always there to lend a hand with the chores. She did the cooking,
cleaning, ironing, gardening and rocking of the babies. She had an
unbelievable way of making shelling butter beans look like so much fun
we all begged to help.
As kids will do, we made fun of her old fashion ways. Not knowing
at the time how much we would gleam about another way of life when
Grandma would say after supper, "let's go in the house".
Grandma was the only person I ever heard call a frying pan a
"spider". She was in her element in the kitchen. If Grandma
was coming we could look forward to fried toast for breakfast or tea
cakes for a treat if we were good. Nobody will ever be able to fry
okra the way I like it like Grandma.
When my mother passed away in 1969, Grandma came to live with us
for about nine months. She taught me many useful things during that
time. Still today, I can sew, crochet and knit, but I will never be
able to entertain a whole room full of children with simple finger
games as she could.
In the closet of the room where Grandma and I slept, there was an
old brown trunk. Inside the trunk was an old pink and brown candy box
tied up with string. Sometimes Grandma and I would sit on the side of
the bed and she would show me the wonderful old pictures it contained.
We would sit for hours as she would tell me stories about the people
in the pictures and how they were related to us. That's where I gained
my love for family roots. I got a terrible spanking one time for going
in that box without asking permission. I loved that box. Oh no,
Grandma didn't spank me.
When my father remarried in 1970, Grandma moved to an apartment in
Elizabeth City. I visited her from time to time and started noticing a
change in our relationship. She was beginning to need me as much as I
needed her. It was during that time that we developed a special bond
that we never be broken. Although growing feeble, Grandma was still
the center of our family. I kept in touch with other family members
through her. I watched my cousins grow up in Grandma's photo
The loved ones in those albums all came together in January 1998 to
celebrate Grandma's one-hundredth birthday. We had a grand time with
one hundred and fourteen family members present. Many loved ones were
there in spirit having gone on before her. This page is too small for
the many stories she has told; the many heartaches she has endured;
the many ways she has blessed and influenced my life.
We laid Grandma to rest on April 13, 1999 at the feet of her
parents in the old Bodwell/West Cemetery in Tyrrell County. It just
seems appropriate to write this today on Mother's Day. It was always
our special day. I would take her to church and hold her hand and
watch the joy in her eyes as she received a rose for being the oldest
She enjoyed the opportunity to worship every time the doors
of the church would open and was delighted when I would join her on
Mother's Day. God was very special to her, the only One she put above
her family. I always thought that I was Grandma's favorite grandchild.
Now I'm finding out that all my cousins feel the same. She had a
special place in her heart for all of us. It was a big heart.
They each thought they were Grandma's favorite, but I know which
one was grandma's favorite. It was me! Sarah Owens
And just so all of you know, I was Grandmother's favorite. But
seriously, just ask anyone, they will tell you I was Grandmother's
favorite. End of discussion. Arnette