MAUGANSVILLE —“She was just the love of my life. The last couple of months we’d tell one another we love each other more now than ever. We got along good. We didn’t have much, but we had each other,” Brady said.
Edna got a job waitressing in South Carolina until Brady was shipped overseas, at which time she headed home, pregnant with Sandra.
The Haines’ settled in Pecktonville, Md., midway between Clear Spring and Hancock. Their home of more than 50 years was “in the boonies” John said, with no inside entrance to the cellar, which Edna and Brady dug out themselves.
To do laundry after they got an automatic washer and dryer in the 1970s, to stoke the furnace and to get to storage in the basement, Edna had to use the outside entrance. The property allowed for a large garden with corn, potatoes, onions, beans, two blueberry bushes and lots of flowers that the couple tended together.
Edna was an Avon lady in the Pecktonville area for more than 35 years, retiring at age 76. She had standing appointments with some of her customers, who looked forward to her sales calls as much or more for the social aspect than for the beauty products.
She made the President’s Club about 25 times during her career, filling a curio case and more with the ceramic dolls she received in recognition each time.
It’s not clear how much income Edna made from Avon after paying for gas to visit customers in a rural area. She would forgo some profit, alerting her customers if something they wanted to order was going on sale in the near future, Sandra said.
Church was a constant in Edna’s life. She cut and arranged altar flowers from her garden over the years. After she became a member of Parkhead United Methodist Church in Big Pool, she made potpie and apple butter for church dinners, as well as made phone calls for the prayer chain.
A charter member of Joseph C. Herbert American Legion Post 222, Brady took on the job of putting American flags at about 500 grave sites for Memorial Day at cemeteries in the Clear Spring area in 1979, always with his wife’s assistance. The couple did it for about 30 years, aided by family members in the later years. Edna was also an auxiliary member.
The couple had two granddaughters, Julie, and Kristi Shupp-George of Chambersburg, Pa., an editor at The Herald-Mail Co., and three great-grandchildren.
Julie’s children had nicknamed Edna “Miss Spanky” after being teased with “spankings” by their great-grandmother. Kristi’s daughter called Edna “Grandma Skeets.”
“She played with the kids. She was like a big kid herself,” Sandra said of her mother.
Kristi remembers her grandmother teaching her to spit watermelon seeds, telling ghost stories, sharing an appreciation of wildlife, including spiders, and getting down on their level to play with them as children.
“She was always so young at heart,” Kristi said.
Gerald was in the U.S. Air Force for 25 years, requiring frequent moves. Edna and Brady traveled to see the Shupps wherever they were stationed, including Baltimore, California, Canada, Nebraska, Louisiana and Ohio, before they settled in the area in 1993 after Gerald’s retirement.
The couple also traveled to hear their favorite gospel singers and took trips with their adult children and spouses, including to amusement parks so they could all ride the roller coasters, Sandra said.
“She was special. The stereotype of your mother-in-law being your worst enemy; that didn’t apply here. I loved that woman. (Daughter-in-law) Debbie did, too,” Gerald said.
As an example of how spontaneous her grandmother could be, Kristi said she was in third grade when she went to get her ears pierced, accompanied by family members, including her grandmother. Out of the blue, Grandma Skeets decided to get her ears pierced, too, at the age of 51.
Edna was known for her great sense of humor, but was respected for being nonjudgmental and for her giving nature.