It stands to reason, then, that my great grandmother, Bertha “Bertie” McCain Smith (1882-1930), would instill a religious fervor in their two daughters.
I do know that their younger daughter, Harriet, my grandmother, was a very active member of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Portland, even though my grandfather wouldn’t be caught dead in the place!
I have very fond memories of attending the annual Mother-Daughter Dinner in the social hall at Emmanuel, along with my grandmother, my mother, my two sisters, my Aunt Norma, and my cousin. Following a three course dinner, there was always a program afterward, possibly an author, or a piano player, or a puppeteer. We would dutifully stand as the roll was called for “Most Generations Present,” and my grandmother would just beam.
Emmanuel was in downtown Portland (my grandmother may have taken the bus, or been dropped off by my grandfather for Sunday services or Ever-ready Club meetings), and so my mother went to Sunday School at Stevens Avenue Congregational Church, a church she could walk to in Morrill’s Corner. It was there she also attended Pilgrim Fellowship (youth group), sang in the Choir, and where she would be married.
It wasn’t long after they were married that my mother joined my father’s church in South Portland, First Congregational Church, on Meeting House Hill. As a young mother, she readily became active in this burgeoning congregation. She taught Sunday School, attended women's guild meetings, and helped organize such events at the Antique Show and the Annual Holy Daze Bazaar.
Since my father frequently worked at the Bakery on Sundays, there were many wintry mornings when she would traipse all four of us up that snowy hill to attend church and Sunday School. As the years went by, she encouraged us to be active in church activities, be confirmed, participate in youth activities, and attend church camp.
When she can get a ride, she attends services and meetings to this day.
Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.