Wind: 16 mph
Mae Ada (Watling) Ketcham
June 10, 1920-September 10, 2011
A humble beginning, a humble end, her life in-between sparkled like a gem.
She was the youngest of three,
born to an Australian father and German mother
she was the last to be.
A “forever” friend she found so early in life,
Suzy and she discovered the wonders of their Glenmore, PA, life.
By skipping stones or sitting on a swing,
to playing Old Maid, they discussed everything.
A passion to read and continue on in school
moved this young girl away from her home, at 15,
into her Aunt’s restaurant & world.
She worked at the restaurant as her time allowed
and studied at night until that special diploma was had.
Working in the restaurant brought along a young man,
Warren Milford Ketcham, who caught her eye and on 9/9/1938 took her hand.
They moved to Long Island, NY, and together they grew,
he the carpenter and sailor, showed her a life anew.
The sailing came easy for her and the 5 children they grew.
After 13 years in the suburb,
the call of the countryside was nagging anew.
(oldest daughter Pat recalls: “All your adult life you were the chief designer and seamstress stitching with purpose and care. You were the “mudoo” who cut out six different unique patterns from bits of fabric. We were shaped by experiences lived during each meticulous stitch. Even though we didn’t always realize the significance, we were leaning together. Each of us grew from a piece of dust and oft became related to those little fuzzy bunnies underneath the bed that might be covered by one of your quilts. You were student. You were teacher. You sat with Warren and me on the sofa together listening to the great Glen Miller, Gene Kruppa, or the “Texaco Hour” often featuring Maria Callas, Enzio Pinza . . .).”
A farm was found in Waitsfield, VT,
a final move was made that exists today.
A sixth child was born and the farm life continued,
with horses and cows and chickens and kittens.
A woodstove for cooking, a Singer treadle sewing machine,
she stitched out a life as colorful as fabric.
The children grew and drifted away,
Mae started another chapter this way.
Golfing and biking and skiing she tried,
the “world famous” Dinersoar restaurant at the Sugarbush Airport was her pride.
She’d be the co-pilot on Warren’s many plane travels,
ship cruises they enjoyed, and trips they took
to distant places to look.
love of reading continued on, she traveled into the past,
into the future, into spiritual realms or to discover another craft’s meaning
and at the end of a day
to slow down and travel quietly in her own way.
A button club here, a rug maker on a loom,
she discovered her love of crafts
with talented hands that were to last.
To shearing sheep and learning to spin on her own,
basket-making, flax-shocking, a teacher to many her talents she born.
As time passed on and the hands grew tired,
her sparkling eyes and gentle smile
were always a reminder of a job well done
and a book’s story that was spun.
Memories are now quiet, we give tribute to her talents,
a young child who sparkled, we’ll forget not the web she made
with the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren,
for all of us to travel.
A humble beginning, a humble end, her life in-between WAS A GEM.
Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers can be made in Mae Ketcham’s memory to the charity of your choice.
Notification for a memorial gathering will be held for Mae Ketcham in the summer of 2012. It will be posted in The Valley Reporter.