Maria C. Agnello Manchester
1931 – 1970
My mother, Maria, known to most as Mary, lived on Long Highway with her husband and children. Her parents immigrated from Forenza, Italy to America in 1920 to make a better life for their family. They came through Ellis Island and settled in Boston, MA. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mary and her three siblings were taken into foster care. Her childhood was tumultuous to say the least. She lived in several different foster homes with caring families.
Mary married my father, Charles H. Manchester, in August 1949. Ten children followed. Yes, I said ten! Her children and home in Little Compton brought her the greatest joy. She considered Little Compton “God’s Country”.
My mother could make anything from very little. She made some of our school clothes and knitted and crocheted sweaters and socks. Everyone can attest that their mom was the best cook, but mine was. We had a huge vegetable garden and my mom would make bread and butter pickles and canned tomatoes. She baked homemade breads, cookies, and cakes. On our birthdays, she baked our cakes and whosever birthday it was got to lick the batter from the mixing bowl and beaters. That was a big deal. On Saturdays we would go down back behind our house to pick blueberries and she would make huge batches of pancakes. Delicious!
Neighborhood kids always ended up in our backyard. I still wonder how my mom had so much patience; she had all of us to deal with and she always welcomed others with open arms. She was a real “Angel”.
I recall my mother always wore her hair in a french twist or bun. She wore bright red lipstick and pretty earrings. She would starch her white blouses. I can still remember her singing and being so happy just being and enjoying the simplicity of life. My mother’s favorite flower was from her lilac tree. Now every time I see one, it’s a reminder to stop to smell the flowers.
Due to kidney failure my mother’s life was sadly cut short at the very young age of 39. She spent 4 months in a Boston Hospital. I know in my heart of hearts she is my guardian angel, always watching over me.
Charlene Manchester Jorge (daughter)
April 15, 2020