Rusty Crow Primitives

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In Memory of Mabel Asenath Clem Henderson 1912 - 2013


Aunt Mabel, such a beautiful person. She always, and I mean always, had a smile and a kind word for everyone she met. She was a woman ahead of her times. I loved to hear her stories and see her beautiful hand work. In addition to quilting she loved painting, embroidery, and crocheting. Her beautiful work lives on and her love of books and learning can be an inspiration to all of us.

Aunt Mabel and my husband on her 100th Birthday. She was an amazing woman and like a second Mom to my husband. She will be missed.


Mabel Asenath Clem Henderson, of Topeka, passed away

She was born October 7, 1912 at Corning, KS, passed away Sunday, September 22, 2013 at Oakley Place, Topeka.
 
From an interview in 2009 conducted by the Topeka, KS Public Library, in her words, her life.
Bookmobile patron's life has been a wild ride
Mabel Henderson only uses the bookmobile these days.
"I used to go to the main library once in a while, but, now I only drive where I have to," she says.
Mabel, who will be 97 this month, says she has come to the bookmobile ever since she moved to
Topeka following retirement.
Mabel's youthful face and demure manner belie her age and her business-oriented past. A farm girl
from the small community of Corning, Kansas, Mabel attended the Strickler Business College in
Topeka. Mabel was always a good student - she skipped sixth grade - and she was determined to make her way. Little time passed before she was lugging a typewriter to the Topeka Post Office to take the Civil Service Exam. She was soon after hired to do the Works Progress Administration payroll -another notch on Mabel's belt as the WPA had served to jump-start the economy during the
Depression.
"My dad lost our farm during the Depression, but got it back," she remembers proudly.
But, war was coming and in January 1942, when war was declared, Mabel left for the East Coast to
join the Internal Revenue Service. (A short five years later, Mabel would become the
right-hand woman - Administrative Assistant - to the Assistant Commissioner of the IRS in
Philadelphia.)"It was quite a trauma for a little Kansas farm girl to get on the train and go to Washington, D.C.." She smiles a winsome smile. "I remember the struggle to change trains in Chicago, and when I arrived in D. C. and was fingerprinted at the Treasury Office, I thought, 'What am I doing here?'" She laughs, remembering the girl she was.
Three months after she arrived in Washington, she was transferred to New York City where her office would be in the Empire State Building.
"I was on the 22nd floor the day the plane crashed into the building."
It was July 1945 and a dense fog confused the pilot of a B-25 "Billy Mitchell" bomber that crashed
into the 79th floor. The building wobbled and after it stopped, Mabel looked around to find she was
alone."My boss had rounded up everyone but me, and taken them to the center of the building. A Navy boy stopped at the drugstore and got some first-aid supplies and went through our building, finding those who were hurt and helping them. We saw an engine on the roof of the building across the street, and there was a big fire." Her eyes film over a little, as if seeing it again.
"The Catholic Charity girls were killed that day," she whispers as a little shiver visibly runs through
her. "I really don't like remembering that time."
Mabel does like to reminisce about her husband, a World War II veteran, who later assembled the
computer that put John Glenn into space. That computer now resides in the Smithsonian. Lavern B.
Henderson died in 2006. The couple had been married since 1950.
"He was a character," Mabel laughs, and her eyes regain their twinkle.
Mable has many thoughts about the secret of longevity: Eat properly, work hard and exercise, say
your prayers, take one day at a time, and, of course - read, read, read.

She would have been 101 October 7th, 2013.

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