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Book: THE MATRIARCH - A story about my grandmother by Eileen McNeal

categories: Book, Memoirs, A Saint, Religious, Kind to All, Forgiving, Loving, Strong, Courageous, Ambitious, Caring, Remarkable Woman

Eileen McNeal

about this book: The Matriarch is a story about my grandmother. She was a remarkable woman who raised all of her own children and all of her grandchildren and some great grandchildren. The story is about her early beginnings in Charlottesville, Virginia where she was raised by Ardelia and Harry Armstead, former slaves. The book describes her early life at home then follows her North to Easton, Pennsylvania where she works. She finds a job taking care of well to do people who want someone to tend to their child. The title was chosen by my sister who discovered a poem by Grace Maddock Miller in a 1941 in McCalls's magazine. The cover of my book has a picture of my grandmother, her last child, and her sister Aunt Bessie. I was inspired to write this book when my first cousin Dr. Harry James Ford oganized and created the a family tree. I studied it and convinced myself this wonderful woman should be known by all.

I did some research to make sure I had the slave days true to life, but most of the story were things my relatives remembered about different crises in our life. My grandmother struggled for years on little money causing each of her children to work to keep the family fed, yet I never saw her angry or frustrated and she was so kind she invited needy strangers off the street to partake of her small supply of food and spend the night next the stove until they found a home. She spent most of her life in a house with no hot running water, a bathroom that was almost an outhouse, but our house was cleaned and the floors shined till then glistened. I want to tell my readers then she raised a whole family that was honest, hard working, and intelligent. She met her husband Levi in a church and proceeded to raise her family who have PHD's, teaching jobs, and some writers so our Matriarch did a wonderful job. In later years she moved into a beautiful home where she was taken care of and enjoyed holidays with he family. The story tells about each of her children and ends with her death at the age of 77. This is a story about a woman who never lost her faith in God and produced an outstanding family despite her tribulations and poverty.

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