Happy Birthday Nana 52 Ancestors #8: Doris Bowen

I was fortunate to have been able to spend a lot of time with my paternal grandmother. When I was very young, she would babysit me and I remember spending a lot of time playing with toys like Weebles and Fisher-Price Little People that she had in a special corner of her three season porch. She and my grandfather Vinny used to visit us on Sundays and bring ice cream (bubble gum flavor sometimes) from Darby’s in Wakefield, MA.

Doris May Bowen

Later in life I was able to talk to her about the family and ask lots of questions. She told me about how her grandfather Fred Bowen made her feel special by taking her into town on his horse and carriage to buy her a dress. About how she worked in a sardine packing plant in Lubec Maine when she was just 9 or 10. And about how she and Vinny loved to drive to places around New England and eastern Canada, collecting swizzle sticks as memento’s from restaurants. They had hoped to do more after he retired, but cancer caught up with him on his 65th birthday.

3870fa6b-4486-42c8-ac32-9c252e6976a4She was a great cook and baker. She cooked for the Gibbs (oil company) family for years and her pie and cookie recipes have been handed down for several generations (although she possibly “forgot” to write down an ingredient now and then, since they are never quite the same).  I think of her every time I see a Lemon Chiffon pie. I say see because I can’t ever eat another one,  it can’t compare to hers.

She would have been 101 today.

Doris May Bowen was born in Edmunds, Maine in 1913 to George and Bessie (Stanhope) Bowen1. As is mentioned in a prior post, her family moved to Rochester, NH in the early 1930’s from Perry, Maine. She met my grandfather Vinny while he was working at Winkley’s Grocery Store at 81 Portland St, near where they both lived. They married on 28 November 1936 and lived in Rochester for several years before moving to Saugus, MA.

She died 30 Jan 2004 in Wilmington, MA2 but she’s thought of often.

This post is 8th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

[1] Maine Department of Health and Welfare, Certified Abstract of a Record of Live Birth. Doris May Bowen, Date of Birth: 23 Feb 1913. Date Filed: 1913. Copy in possession of the author.

[2] Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011. Number: 217-03-3658; Issue State: Maryland; Issue Date: Before 1951. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

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2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Nana 52 Ancestors #8: Doris Bowen

  1. Nana was a great great lady! She was so much fun to be around. My kids, neighbors kids and daycare kids always loved to go see her and sit on her lap and eat her delicious cookies. We were so lucky to have had her in our lives.

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  2. Pingback: 52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 8 Recap | No Story Too Small

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