[Note: Amanuensis is an ancient word meaning one who performs the function of writing down or transcribing the words of another. Derived from the Latin root manu- manual, or hand, the word also has been used as a synonym for secretary or scribe.]
|From my Grand Aunt Benita Elizabeth McGinnis’ scrapbook – written when she was a mere 92 years young.|
|Benita McGinnis, age 3,
Conneaut, Ohio, 1892
|Benita McGinnis in her
birthday dress, age 5,
Conneaut, Ohio, ca. 1894
The words above were written by my Grand Aunt Benita (or Aunt Detty, as my mother, sisters, and I called her) in a scrapbook about her life she created when she was 92 years old. Aunt Detty was one of the most fascinating persons I have ever been blessed to know. She was born on September 30, 1889, the eldest of four children born to Thomas Eugene McGinnis and his wife, Mary Jane Gaffney. Her younger sister, Alice McGinnis, was my maternal grandmother.
Although there was an age difference of 66 years between us, I feel we were kindred spirits who shared a love for and interest in many of the same things: writing and traveling, faith and family. She also was a renowned artist (though I missed the boat on that one) who was always trying new media and finding new ways of looking at the world. We spent many hours together, drinking wine, sharing stories, poring over photographs, and solving the problems of the world. A loving wife and mother and friend to all, she was my mentor and, in many ways, the role model of the kind of person I hope to be.