Anna Louisa Crate Hesketh Suplick
Born in 1894 to Benjamin Crate and Johanna (Jennie) Lins, my grandmother Anna Louisa Crate spent her childhood in the Asbury Park, New Jersey area. In 1910 she married, at age 16, William Allen Tomlinson Hesketh. Her children included my aunt, Jean Hesketh Hershey (also honored in the Plaza), born later that year, and my father, William Howard Hesketh, born six years afterwards. She and her young family lived near a park and lake in Newark, New Jersey for several years.
Deserted by her husband while in her early twenties, my grandmother, who I affectionately called Nana Anna, was left to raise my aunt and father and to keep a roof over their heads. An excellent seamstress, cook, and housekeeper, Nana took in boarders, cooked for neighbors and elderly friends who lived nearby, and sewed clothes - from scratch or made repairs. She filed for divorce in 1926. She later married Frank Suplick, and moved to Chapman Street in Irvington, New Jersey. During World War II, Anna Suplick managed gasoline (for example, a family could receive only 3 gallons of gasoline a week!), food and even clothing rationing stamps for the area. In the late 1940's and following years, her home became a merry place that our family visited on holidays and often during breaks from our overseas travel.
I am honoring Anna Suplick because she was the quintessential grandmother - forever young, fun-loving, kind-hearted, and dedicated to her large extended family, and who made my brother, sister and me feel very, very special even when she became annoyed when we misbehaved. She did not aspire to work outside the home but rather made her home a place that one could visit for hours, spend the night in her huge green four-poster bed in her upstairs bedroom that looked out onto an immaculately kept garden and fishpond, sit on the front porch, play in the backyard or roller skate on the front sidewalk, read on the comfortable couch in the cozy living room because her corner bookcase was always stocked with interesting novels and non-fiction, and eat either in her bustling kitchen at the built in table and benches on a brightly colored oilcloth or in her formal dining room with its huge table and oriental rug. Tucked into that living room was a baby grand piano which she loved to play - show tunes, religious hymns and classical melodies. She willingly traveled to our home whether it was in New Jersey or Connecticut to "sit" for us when my parents went on brief holiday trips. Her home was where our extended family always gathered for Christmas dinner and her roast beef was extraordinary. My mother's and then my files still contain many of her tried and true recipes for delicious versions of her spaghetti sauce, vegetable dishes, pies, and her cakes, all made from scratch. In later years, when I attended college, she astonished everyone, including me, by loaning me her car for a weekend trip to upper New York State and by supporting me in my early dating adventures. I am very grateful to have been blessed with such a wonderful grandmother and so many warm memories.
Submitted: March 19, 2006
Jennifer Hesketh Aviles