Ancestor: Constance Craven Reilly
Descendant: Noreen R.
My mother, Constance Craven was born in Holyoke, MA in June 1916. As a toddler, she survived the flu epidemic which raged from 1918 through 1920. At age eight, her beloved mother died at age 36 on Thanksgiving Day, 1924 during childbirth (the newborn died also), leaving behind eight children aged two to twelve.
Contracting polio during adolescence, Constance spent six months in bed to recover, fortunately with no lasting physical effects. From 1929 to 1933, she and her family withstood the Great Depression.
Constance felt lucky to graduate from Holyoke High in 1933, but a lack of funds meant she wasn't able to accept the place she was offered at Boston University's Sargent College. The Great Flood of 1936 significantly damaged the family's home, and by 1941, they faced World War II, with three brothers serving in combat. She supported the war effort by working at the Savage Arms factory in Westfield, MA, where most of the submachine guns used in WWII were made.
Despite all of this, my mom NEVER complained about anything! Any details shared about these years were not offered in remonstrance, but rather were simply reported.
She took the good with the bad throughout her life, and was for me an incredible role model of courage and resilience. I think of her daily now as my role model for dealing with the adversity of COVID-19.