Monday, September 23, 2013

Lena Rector Roberts Arnold 1909-2001

My Great-Grandmother Lena Rector ca. 1940
Lena Rector, our "Nana," was born June 13, 1909 in Marshall, Madison, North Carolina, daughter of George H. Rector and Mollie Davis. She married Roy Adolphus Roberts on June 25, 1925 in Marshall and had my grandfather Dudley George Roberts on November 21, 1928. Sometime between 1930 and 1940, the family moved to Washington D.C. and it was here that Nana left Roy. Nana was hard-pressed to talk about anything unpleasant from the past, but the story passed down to me was that Roy was an alcoholic and that was the cause of Nana leaving him. He died January 22, 1966 in Norwalk, CA.

Nana remarried Norman Arnold sometime after this and moved to Silver Spring, MD. They were the epitome of class and social graces in our world. They were both dressed impeccably at any given time in the day. I remember showing up unannounced to their home one day and Norman, "Nornie" as we called him, was dressed in suit and tie and Nana in her finest slacks and blouse. We were only allowed to touch things in one room of her home and those were the things in our toy box. Though Nornie was not our biological grandfather, there wasn't a single moment where we could tell he wasn't our blood. He loved us all to pieces.


Nana made the best macaroni and cheese on the planet and always had a roast or ham with plenty of vegetables to accompany it. We have all tried and failed to replicate her mac and cheese, although I have mastered a pretty close second. She always said I had "piano hands" and told me not to do anything without gloves. "When you wash dishes or work in the garden, you have to wear gloves or you will ruin those pretty little hands." She knew what she was talking about. I have her hands.


Nana passed away in June 2001 and I still miss her all the time. I can still hear her voice and it makes me smile. "You're gettin' prettier all the time!"

©copyright Piper Oneto

1 comment:

  1. She seems like such a happy lady. It must be a grandmother trait to make fantastic mac and cheese...my grandma does, too!

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