Thinking about my friend Mary Motz and the annual walk in memory of her daughter, Stephanie L. Miner, who lost her life to breast cancer made me think: most of us have a story about how breast cancer has affected our lives in one way or another. Because this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here’s mine.
|Elsie Mae Andress|
Many years ago Rebecca Haifleigh Moss became afflicted with breast cancer. As the disease progressed she needed special care. Elise Mae Andress was hired to be her private duty nurse. Elsie had wanted to be a nurse from the time she had to care for her whole family and the threshers when she was young. But her family frowned upon nursing as a profession for “proper young women.” Elsie became a teacher, saved her money, moved to Chicago and put herself through nursing school.
While she was caring for Mrs. Moss, Elsie met her son, Will. Will was smitten and started spending a lot of time with his mother just so he could see Elsie. Finally he asked Elsie to marry him. Elsie, who had chosen career over marriage years ago, told him, “I will marry you on two conditions. One, I will not be a nursemaid to your mother. Two, I will have a career.” He gave her this beautiful coral necklace.
Will agreed to her conditions and so at age 30 Elsie Mae Andress became Elsie Mae Andress Moss. She had three children in the next five years each born in a different place, while Will tried to decide where they should live and what he wanted to do with his life. Norman, the youngest, was born in Gates Mills, Ohio, not far from the community of Chester. Soon after his birth, Will bought an old barn and started a creamery. The new business was named Moss Farm Dairy and the family moved into the old farmhouse.
|Dora and Norman Moss|
Nancy, the middle child, followed her mother’s footsteps and went to nursing school. There she met Dora Fischer. She introduced Dora and her best friend to her younger brother, Norman, when Ciglinda needed a date. But Norman (or Fritz) was more interested in Dora than his date. He called the next week and they started seeing each other. A few years later they were married on July 11. (That’s 7-11; Norman chose the date.)
Rebecca Haifliegh Moss was my great-grandmother. Elsie Mae Andress and William Oscar Moss were my grandparents. And Dora Fischer and Norman Moss were my parents. So I am here because of breast cancer.