I never knew my maternal grandmother Jessie Arlene (Stewart) Hoyt as she died before I was born, but I have heard many stories about her and my family research has filled in a lot of the details.
Jessie was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia on 20 Jul 1883. As a young woman she came to Boston where she met and married my grandfather Clarence, and they lived in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester where my mother and her siblings were born and raised.
My grandfather Clarence passed away very unexpectedly in 1928, the victim of a robbery in which he was struck over the head and died, leaving his grief-stricken wife and five children. All of the children were still in school at the time, and all but the youngest child had to drop out to get jobs to support the family. Times were very hard to say the least, but as many families did during the years of the Great Depression the family pulled together and survived it.
All of this is to give a background to a most treasured treasure. Not a lovely locket or a ring, not anything that anyone would give much notice to. It’s a humble little glass jar with a rusted cap which originally held Spanish olives but now contains a little store of old tarnished pennies.
They came into my possession when I was helping my aunt pack for a move to another house some years ago.
Going through a large box filled with photo albums and little knick-knacks I came across this little jar of pennies, and was thrilled when my aunt told me that they were my Nana Hoyt’s, pennies that she squeezed out of the week’s grocery shopping money and saved in the little olive jar which she had tucked away in her sewing basket. All of the pennies date from the 1930′s and 40′s.
She gave me several things that day that belonged to the grandmother that I never knew but nothing as charming or as precious as this little jar of pennies that Nana Hoyt once held in her own hands, from an era that made every penny something hard-won and precious in itself.(Treasure Chest Thursday is a genealogy blogging prompt courtesy of GeneaBloggers.com!)