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A Father’s Creation, A Mother’s Love

Pine cradle, carefully constructed by hand, by Edward Lemm, Sr.

In this photo you see a symbolic recreation of the love and care of a typically close-knit family from the 1930s in Old Spring. The pine cradle, carefully constructed by hand, is the loving creation of Edward Lemm, Sr., for his youngest child, Robert Glen Lemm. Little Robert, born in 1931, was to use the cradle until his death in 1942, far longer than the normal child, for Robert had been injured at birth causing an affliction which prevented his growth and development.

Robert’s mother, Carrie Lemm, even with her family responsibilities of other children, housework and field work, devoted herself to little Robert every day of his short life, placing him in the cradle by day and taking him to her bed at night so that she could insure his care and safety.

The fragment of cloth on the leg of the crib remains to show how rags were soaked in kerosene and tied on each leg of an infant’s bed to prevent ants form crawling into the cradle. The upper appendages on the bed served as a holder for a mosquito net. This fabric could also function as a homemade air conditioner since the net could be moistened, wrung out and stretched over the crib to keep the baby cool during hot summer months.

At the time Robert no longer needed his earthly bed, a friend gave Carrie Lemm a poem to comfort her. The poem is framed with a picture of Robert as Carrie left it.

This exhibit is dedicated to Carrie Lemm and the other women of Old Spring who, over the years, worked in the field with their husbands, who sewed and cooked and canned and scrimped and saved and sacrificed and love. They were truly “inspirational.”

Pine Cradle
The crib is on loan from Carmen Lemm Hardy and Al Hardy. The “Dutch Doll” coverlet and pillow cover are fragments from a quilt that Dorthy Mallott made in 1934 for her daughter Margaret. Mrs. Mallott modified the quilt for this exhibit. She also fashioned the cradle mattress from a piece of antique bed ticking. The antique bentwood rocker, a piece from the estate of Albert and Marie Paetzold, is on loan from Sue Mallott.