Munn, Esther

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                                          ESTHER MUNN 
                                         Aiming For 100
                                        by Margery MacRae


Esther Munn of Grainfield, near Renous, celebrated her ninety-fifth birthday on April 15.

Born to William and Mariah (McEvoy) Gillespie of Pineville at the turn of the century, she was the eldest of a family of nine. Her family included her sisters Hilda and Eileen of Fredericton, as well as Viola, Lillian, Susan and brothers Charles, Jack and Otto who are deceased.

Munn and her first husband, Perley Dunn, raised a daughter now living in Fredericton, and a son who lives at home. She has one grandson. Munn's family also included a stepson, whom she raised from early childhood.

In 1958, a few years after the death of her first husband, Munn married Jim Munn who passed away in 1984 at the age of 81.

Although the elderly lady recalls attending school in a little one room school house in Pineville, she remembers when her family moved to Barnetville, near Blackville and attending another small school in that community. "The only teacher I remember is Mrs. Lottie Underhill and I liked her so much," she said.

Before her marriage, Munn lived for awhile with her aunt, Susie Ross, in Blackville who was a milliner. "She taught me the trade and we made lots of hats," she laughed. "Back then nearly everyone wore hats, but now they seldom do."

Another thing Munn likes to talk about is all the dressmaking she used to do. She recalls how people would come to her to have clothes made or altered. "I was always making clothes for the family. I used to barber men's hair and put marcell waves in ladies hair. They would come to my house to have that done."

Munn also worked in Ganong's candy factory for a while in St. Stephen.

Then there was all the farm work to be done. Munn did plenty of that, not only before her marriage, but later as well. "We always had cows, horses, hens and other farm animals, which had to be cared for," she added.

The only animal Munn has now is her 10 year old dog, Benny, whom she loves very much. About eight years ago Benny had the misfortune to be struck by a car in his own driveway and had to have his front leg amputated, but he gets around just fine and is great company for his owner.

As for TV, Munn doesn't bother with that too much, but said she does have a few favorite shows - On the Road Again and Bob Newhart. "My favorite star is George Burns, because he is closer to my age. You know, he wrote a book, which I’ve read, called How To Live To Be 100,” she laughed.

Probably Munn's favorite pass-time is crocheting doilies; something she learned from her aunt, Jane Gillespie. Anyone who visits Munn doesn't get away without being persuaded to take some of her beautiful doilies, which she makes in many colors.

Munn is in great health and doesn't take any medication, except occasionally something for gallstones which give her a bit of a problem now and again.

A very spry, active and alert lady, Munn gets everyday about nine and goes to bed between 11 and 12. I do my exercises every night," she said, giving a demonstration which ended with a little jig!

A neighbor, who lives close by drops in to see Munn several times a week and helps her with a few household chores. "She has been good to me," she said. "I can remember her making ice cream in the snow for us. We used to go picking strawberries and blueberries together. I guess I've always been there for her.

Munn was a very hard worker. She had to carry water - they had no hydro, chum butter and do a lot of farm chores."

Munn, who says she is aiming for 100, has a favorite expression: "I'd like to be 10 years younger."

This past winter, Munn had the misfortune to have her water pipes freeze and thus has had no running water for four months. She just smiles when telling about this and says the neighbours have been good about bringing in large containers of water.

Munn likes having company drop in to visit, and with the coming of summer she hopes there will be more.


Source: Miramichi Leader – April 18, 1995

This text is available for use under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. For more information, select the following link: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

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