ANNE JAMES

Anne James AKA Jelly Grandma

Anne James is a retired school librarian whose hobbies include reading, quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly. She now spends most of her time cooking, tending her garden, working on her latest quilting project, spending time with her two sons and four granddaughters, whenever possible, and taking care of her two dogs and three cats.

BACKGROUND

My early work history consists of secretarial (now called personal assistant) jobs, mainly for attorneys. At the age of 42, however, in an effort to become computer literate for work, I began taking computer classes at the local community college and became hooked on education. I was able to get a job as secretary to the head librarian at the community college and took two classes per semester toward a general two-year degree.

After working in the library for a few years, I became interested in becoming a librarian. So, I applied for student aide and became a full-time student while still working a full-time job in the library. With credits already earned, I was able to complete an Associates Degree in Business Management during the following year. During this time, I was able to work and take classes with my sons who were both also working and studying at the same community college. How cool was that!

My youngest son and I graduated together and went on to The University of Southern Mississippi to continue our education. After 3 years, I was able to earn a Bachelors Degree in Paralegal Studies and a Masters in Library & Information Science, which lead to my working as a school librarian for the next 15 years.

Since retiring, gardening, preserving food, making jelly, and quilting have consumed a lot of my time. My parents, who were from rural Mississippi and grew up during the Great Depression, always put three meals a day of home-cooked food on the table for our family, always had a garden, always preserved the foods they grew, and my mother made jelly and quilts in her “spare” time. They did all these things while working full time.

Their work ethic and their stories of growing up in the country and raising crops by “plowing a mule,” growing sugar cane and making syrup, picking wild berries and making jelly, raising a pig for slaughter and hanging the meat in the smokehouse, digging potatoes and storing them for the winter, and making biscuits in a washtub for a large family, all without electric power or running water. These stories combined with history and anthropology classes I had in college have instilled in me the desire to learn all I can about the old crafts that were just daily life for my parents, a time when food was actually good for us.

Researching the topics and writing these articles are simply fun for me. I want to know how to do all the things necessary to sustain my family should our modern methods fail. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!