Anna Hubbard: Out of the Shadows by Mia Cunningham

By Mia Cunningham

Anna Eikenhout (1902-1986) was once an honors graduate of Ohio nation collage, a fine-arts librarian, a talented pianist, and an avid reader in 3 languages. Harlan Hubbard (1900-1988), a little-known painter and would-be shantyboater, appeared an not going husband, yet jointly they lived a existence out of the pages of Thoreau's Walden. a lot of what's recognized concerning the Hubbards comes from Harlan's books and journals. in regards to the seasons and the panorama, his writing used to be rapturous, but he used to be emotionally reticent whilst discussing human affairs mostly or Anna specifically. but it used to be via her efforts that their existence at the river was once really civilized. viewers to Payne hole bear in mind Anna as a beneficiant, gracious hostess, whose intelligence and artistry made the small condominium appear grander than a mansion.

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The elevator behind my collarbone plunged to the cellar and was zooming back up with a fiery blush of shame, when Anna broke out laughing her best laugh. It was no belly laugh, but refined, lilting, soprano laughter projecting off the roof of her mouth like a well-produced singing voice. Her eyes were squeezed shut. What could anyone else do but join her? First Harlan chimed in with his best laugh, a subdued "heh-heh-heh" with a megawatt smile that made up for the lack of volume. Then I followed, greatly relieved.

She showed me how to combine a dollop of Hellman's mayonnaise and some lemon juice, add a little sugar, drizzle the mixture over the salads, and sprinkle some chopped walnuts or toasted soybeans on top. Only Hellman's would do. Her voice dripping with mock scorn, Anna once described the time Harlan went shopping without her and "came home with [another brand], con-found it-a whole quart of it! " Harlan thought Anna's homemade mayonnaise was just as good, but she insisted on store-bought; he never figured out why.

Friends from earlier days, friends who respected the quiet of Payne Hollow, friends who offered to help with some work, friends who came for congenial conversation or to play music-these were welcomed wholeheartedly. Anna especially enjoyed visits from her women friends. She was hungry for girl talk, Harlan said. When Madison and Hanover friends Anne Horner, Marcella Modisett, Helen Spry, and Nita Webster visited, conversation might run to birds, wildflowers, herb gardening, and news of mutual acquaintances.

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