• • •  HENRIETTA ABERNETHY ISALY • • •   
BIRTHDAY: August 3, 1890
Married to Walter Eugene (Grampa) Isaly
Sister of Elizabeth Abernethy (Auntie)
Mother of Betty Isaly Latham, Bud Isaly, Earl Isaly
Grandmother of Tom Isaly, Chuck Isaly, Patty Isaly Withycombe, Ray Latham, Anne Latham Stiles, and Ellen Isaly Clark.
  

From Ellen

enrietta Abernethy Isaly was born in Circleville, Ohio on August 3, 1890 to Blanche Mitchell and Thomas Jefferson Abernethy (we grandchildren all remember the many references to "Papa" Abernethy, don't we?) Her sister, Elizabeth Beatrice (Auntie), was born on November 24, 1892. Their mother, Blanche, died from typhoid fever when Gramma and Auntie were very young; she had taken care of the rest of the family as they suffered through the illness before her.

"Papa" Abernethy, an attorney in Pickaway County and later in Columbus, raised Gramma and Auntie alone until he married Nellie Cain, whom we knew as "Nanny." Read about Papa here.

Gramma and GrampaGramma married Grampa (Walter Eugene Isaly) on October 24, 1916. She devoted her life to Grampa and Auntie and to her children: Betty born in 1918; Bud, born in 1920; and Earl, born in 1924.

In 1953, when Gramma was 63 years old, my father, Bud, was tragically killed in an automobile accident. Because my parents had been divorced and my mother simply couldn't handle the responsibility of a not-quite-two-year-old child, Gramma and Grampa decided to have me come to live with them, and they raised me.

Grampa died in 1962, when I was 11 years old, and Gramma and I lived together there in the house at 2342 Arlington Avenue until I was married in 1973; after I moved out, she continued to live in the house a little more than one year. She passed away on September 4, 1974.

We all fondly recall the Sunday dinners at Arlington Avenue ... the Christmas and Easter celebrations ... and the warm sense of family that Gramma and Grampa nurtured in all of us. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to look to Gramma as my mother figure; she may have been two generations removed chronologically, but in spirit and energy, she was younger than women half her age. She was devoted to all her family, and I remember her sitting in the dining room during the evenings talking to Aunt Betty on the phone, laughing, solving the problems of the world.

In my eyes, Gramma was the finest woman who ever lived. She was, as so many people commented, a "Great Lady." She had high standards and principles, and she taught her lessons by example.

I remember how she would sit in the breakfast room with me in the evenings and quiz me for tests, or proofread my work. She always had time for me ... ALWAYS. I know that raising a young girl when she was in her sixties and seventies had to be exhausting; after all, these were her "Golden Years," and she gave them to me. What a gift! Even as a child, I had an appreciation for the sacrifices she made to take good care of me.

Gramma taught me about my father, Bud, and when she told those stories, even as she smiled, her eyes would fill with tears. Now that I am a mother, I can finally understand that mother-child bond, but I can never understand the grief she must have had endure upon his passing.

I know that Gramma holds a special pace in the hearts of all the six grandchildren. Remember her delicious fried chicken and mashed potatoes? Can't you just picture her scurrying around the kitchen in her embroidered apron, fussing over the Sunday dinner, and then barely sitting down because she was fretting that someone might go hungry?

Remember how, as each grandchild left the house, she would slip a little money into your hand?

I miss Gramma every single day of my life, and while I've been working on this web site project I have felt her presence, and I sense her smiling as she knows that we six grandchildren are about to reunite. This time, it'll be the six of us PLUS the amazing children and grandchildren who would also make her proud.

From Anne Latham Stiles: Grandma was indeed a fine lady, in the truest sense. She was refined, elegant, poised, patient, generous, loyal and gentle. She is the type of woman I always strive to be, but know that I could never even approach. I do remember so well our regular Sunday family dinners of fried chicken and mashed potatoes in the winter months and homemade potato salad and lemonade in the summer. No one could cook better than Gramma! Her pies, cakes, and cookies were to die for. I think my need to serve big meals on holidays comes directly from Gramma. Of course, my mom carried on her tradition with gusto. Sometimes Heather and Jeremy ask me why we need to have such elaborate meals at Christmas. Well, it’s all because of Gramma- and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Memories are truly created around the dinner table.

I remember our summer vacations when my mom would drive me, Ellen, Grandma and sometimes Ray (if he wasn’t away at Culver or some other camp) to some really neat places. We traveled out west to the state parks, up to Canada, to Niagara Falls, and New England. We had such a wonderful time. Ellen and I would sit in the back seat giggling, playing with our dolls, and playing the ABC road game. We whispered and made fun of Gramma and mom for always wanting to go “antiquing” in “quaint towns.” Their favorite expression was, “Isn’t that quaint?” Ellie and I would just roll our eyes when they said it. They sat up front in the car munching on Jordan almonds as we traveled the highways.

In 1964 we took the “big boat” to Europe. Boy was that fun. We had a large suite and I remember that Gramma got real seasick. But she did love the ship and the excellent meals. It was definitely the trip of a lifetime. In Europe she and mom loved visiting the art museums and seeing the architecture and historical sites. Ellie and I tolerated those, but I was more interested in checking out the cute guys (hey, I was 15!). Ellie wasn’t sure what was so cool about guys at the time, but I think she was secretly taking lessons from me. Ray was also in Europe, but was traveling with his buddy, Charles Mahan. I was kind of jealous that he got to do whatever he wanted while I had to go to all the museums!

Anyway, back to Upper Arlington and Gramma. She was always supportive of me, and always willing to listen to my problems. I knew that I could trust her and talk about some things with her that I couldn’t talk about with my mom. I remember the Easter egg hunts in the side yard, the croquet games, picking cherries off the trees, and smelling the beautiful flowers that Gramma grew. What wonderful memories she provided me. Thank you, Gramma!

If you would like to write your memories of Gramma and send them to me, I will post them here.

 
 
Gramma always kept Grampa's photo near her.
Betty, Gramma and Ellen on a German train - 1964
Gramma and Ellen Ellen's OSU graduation - 1973
Tom, Shirley, Gramma, Jean, Matt - 1973