By Buffy Calvert
Marie Gladstone sits cozily in the snug front parlor of her yellow farmhouse on Gladstone Hollow where she has lived 57 years, catty-corner across the road from the Graham farm where she was born. She puts down one of the three intricate knitting projects she is working on for grand- and great-grandchildren as visitors arrive. “I’m the oldest person to live all their life on Gladstone Hollow,” she boasts, her ready smile alight under her cap of short white hair. “I went to three schools and never left Andes!”
Marie started out in the old one-room schoolhouse up the road (where John and Sharon Drew live now), and then traveled by bus to Hilton Memorial for Second Grade. Mid-term, their teacher, Bertha Marx, marched them single file into the brand-new Andes Central School next door. Marie graduated in 1948 and began to help a neighbor, Mrs. Wayland Gladstone, with therapy for a broken hip. Young Way, her son, five years older and seven years ahead of Marie in school, was taking over the farm from his father who “liked cows but didn’t like to milk them.” He suddenly noticed the pretty girl from across the street. Romance bloomed between the young people and Way and Marie were married in 1950.
Mary was born in 1951, Wayland (Bud) in 1953, and Kathryn in 1955. Despite having three children to care for, Marie began to keep about 20 “extra” cows from the big farm up the road in her barn by the house, milking three times a day for a while to produce more milk. She jokes, “Way and I had ‘his’ and ‘her’ barns.”
After her parents moved back to Gladstone Hollow from a stint trying to farm in the village (on Delaware Avenue, where the bus barn and John Gregg’s barn are now), her mother would come down to help Marie with chores. She died while milking one day, “doing what she loved best.”
Marie’s father, Herbert, was born a Calhoun on the family farm on Palmer Hill between the Ruffs and Doigs. Rather than split the acres between two brothers, his parents moved out to Kansas. There a beef cow killed his father, leaving a pregnant widow with seven young children to feed. She traveled back home by train with all the children and the new baby on her lap. To ease her burden, a cousin, Cora Calhoun Graham, and her husband James from Gladstone Hollow adopted Herbert and a sister. Herbert married Edith Russell from Bovina and brought up Marie and her sister Doris and brother Bill on the family farm.
Nowadays, “her” barn is used by Bud to board heifers for other Andes farmers. They board about 100 at a time from just coming off a pail (about 5 months), “a bleating bunch,” according to Marie, to breeding age, 1½-2 years. Bud’s wife, Suzanne, has 6 miniature donkeys and Bud several handsome Belted Galloways. Marie loved going to the barn. In all the years, she only missed one milking: the day her granddaughter Wendy was married.
Way and Marie’s children grew up, married, and had children of their own. Mary has Jen and Patrick Meres. Bud has two daughters, Wendy and Chelsea. Kathy died young of lupus, leaving one daughter, Michelle Jacques.
Marie was such a homebody that she only learned to drive out of necessity, to take her children to Sunday School. She took up bowling on the Ruff Team in Margaretville with other Andes women: Eleanor McKee, Aasta Liddle, Muriel Jester and Betty Woolheater. During the 25 years Way served as a Volunteer Fireman, she joined the Andes Fire Department Auxiliary.
Since her hip replacement, Marie devotes herself to knitting (the aforementioned family garments and shawls for her granddaughter Michelle to give to her occupational therapy patients), scrap booking (neat compilations of historic clippings and photos) and photo albums for each of her children and grandchildren, She has become a gifted photographer and an active member of the Andes Camera Club, graduating from an Instamatic, to a more sophisticated 35 mm instrument, to (since Christmas) a new digital.
Marie’s long view of life can be startling. “Dot Andrews hasn’t lived there so long.” “Since ’46!” “Exactly. I was still in High School then.” As her visitors leave, she picks up her knitting, plotting the while how to crop a photo on her copier/scanner/printer for presentation to the Camera Club. Deep roots, busy hands, an active mind, and devotion to her family, the land, and its creatures, Marie Gladstone epitomizes the Andes spirit alive in our hollows. ~