Cecil County Public Schools UCSCA UCSCA
UCSCA UCSCA Lit of the Nation
UCSCA Lit of the Nation
Grace Ann Noland
Grace Stubee

The Bible reads Ten Commandments. The South reads eleven. According to the latter Nana's spirit lives in hell.

Grace Ann Noland, Nana to me, was the youngest of fifteen. She never complained, but from what Gram tells me, she was last in line for just about everything. Gram, her daughter, can ramble off all fifteen names right down to Grace Ann herself. Born and bred outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, Grace and her kin grew up on their Pop's farm. She spent weeks without leaving that farm, riding the pony because all the full-grown's were already taken and learning how to knit with her sisters. They all slept on the screened porch out front of the farmhouse. Cots lined the walls and most nights they slept two. Bobby Ray always made Grace sleep beside him across from Barbara Jean. " Bigly Ray," if Grace told you, was always trying to do a fine job at looking out for his younger sisters. Gram says Grace could go on for hours about Bobby Ray and those summers on the farm.

Anytime Gram starts telling about Grace she'll never forget to tell about Grace's brains. The Nolands never had much spending money. But Grace's Pop always told her she could go far. On the September 11 of 1905, Grace packed her wooden trunk and left the farm for the Big Apple, or "hell" as Pop called it. I think that when he told her she could go far, he meant within the southern boarders. She studied as a history major at Colombia University and was awarded one of the first Rhodes scholarships. Her Pop was still real sour about her leaving the South to become a Yankee, so her lack of support ended her schooling after she received her bachelor's degree. Gram says Nana would say she moved to Connecticut to get out of the city. But Gram says Grace wanted love more than peace.

At the beginning of Grace's junior year, a young man called to offer her a job in the Rowayton public school system. She declined because she wanted to finish what she started. After a year of consideration and with a degree at hand, Grace called the young man back. Heaven sent, the job was still available and she became a tenth grade history teacher at Rowayton High school.

She became an active member of the local choir-singing soprano. She was never a teacher then a choir member. She was always, a singer of the Lord first, then a teacher of the youth. Gram always says Grace thought singing soprano was great because she had a perfect view of the tenor section. That means she had a perfect view of George Greenwood. Grace never knew a Yankee could pray to heaven. She didn't even know they could sing praises on Sunday. But she learned. She learned he pronounced his vowels funny. She learned how he'd open doors for her because that's what his Ma taught him. Most important she learned how to fall in love. After two weeks they shared an address and thirty-six days later they decided to share their love.

Grace called her Ma and Pop inviting them to join in on the ceremony. Her Ma hung up the phone after Grace shared the news. The second try her Pop heard her out long enough for Bobby Ray to overhear. Ma and Pop strongly declined to invite saying they weren't helping in the devils' work. But Bobby Ray emptied his savings and showed up a half hour late in his cowboy boots. Gram says Ma and Pop always regretted not getting to see their baby girl wed. But they weren't ever gonna watch her marry a Yankee. Gram says Nana always looked at George the way she did on their wedding day.

George worked in the city for a packaging company. The Hours were long and stressful but Grace said it was paradise. Gram thinks the reason their love lasted was because it began with praising the lord. That was something they could always go back to when in need of guidance. Money was scarce even though they both worked full time. This wasn't a change for Grace cause she'd never seen more than a twenty-dollar bill. Two years after saying "I do," they became a family. Tommy Ray was born on July twelfth in Newport hospital. After him came Jane Patricia and Annabelle Jean. Grace couldn't get enough of kids running around the house. Supposedly George made a racket about not having a clan of fifteen. So they stopped with three.

Grace retired at seventy-two but Gram says she was always teaching somebody something. George died from pneumonia a year after Grace retired. While it was the worst thing that ever happened to her, Gram never saw her cry, only pray.

Grace was diagnosed with cancer in her thyroid a few months after George's death. It was a long and painful journey, but she knitted her was through and Gram has twenty-three afghans to show for it. The cancer took the glow from Grace's skin and everything else slower than she would have wished. Now she wasn't one who rushed through life; she appreciated every moment. But she thought getting through tough times was like riding a bike over a hill. The rider tries her hardest till she gets to the top when she can glide back down. Grace glided down after eleven months and died on Jane Patricia's porch one sunny Sunday morning. At her funeral Gram heard someone say what a great life Grace had had. Gram replied, " Grace has a wonderful life."