Agnes Annis, Mother and Missionary

"The generating capacity of a single memory has not been measured."
Robert Kilborn

"My grandmother's hands shaped mine within her own. Together, we put our cupped hands under the tap and brought cool water to my mouth. I hung with my belly against the lip of the sink and her ample body wedged behind me for support. My feet dangled in midair. The comfort of that simple act soothed me and stayed; forever."

Open the pages of the family album, and stories unfold: a very young child left in an orphanage by her father, adopted at 12 and trained as an adult to become a nurse. Her marriage to a Methodist minister takes her to the west of China where she raises a family in an atmosphere of cultural strain and historical drama. Fleeing from China after 12 years of stressful mission work, the Annis family settle into the highly visible life of ministry in the newly formed United Church of Canada. The author, telling this creative non-fiction story of her maternal grandmother, builds on precious photographs, family lore, and memorable moments. The stories are cyclical. Memories feed the present in loops looking back and moving forward. As the story of Agnes Annis evolves, she applies courage and determination as a dutiful wife and a conscientious mother. Throughout, the empty spaces left by her mother, father and sisters remain as broken fragments that will not heal. In the living out of her life, Agnes builds a family unit of her own, providing a rich heritage for her descendents.

Published 2011
The Brucedale Press
Box 2259 Port Elgin,
Ontario N0C 2C0
brucedale@bmts.com