By Emily Herring Wilson
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Additional resources for No One Gardens Alone: A Life of Elizabeth Lawrence
Alex was twenty-eight, Sam, twenty-three, and they loved to come home to Marietta to see their family and friends. As they walked on a cold December night, they passed houses festooned with greenery and lit by candlelight, and the two young men on the way to a party were unknowingly about to meet the women they would marry. Bessie was at an age when most unmarried girls were beginning to worry whether or not they were going to remain spinsters. But she was not like many of her contemporaries, who wanted to become dependent wives.
Episcopalians took pride in the reputation of St. Mary’s for high standards and a classical curriculum; by 1918, during the administration of George Lay, the curriculum had been broadened to include the first two years of college courses. Lay was a “father figure”—all five of his daughters graduated from St. Mary’s. He was gruƒ, though he meant to be funny, and sometimes people were oƒended, which hurt him a great deal. ” Once, “He tried me out,” she remembered, “and I said, putting my finger tips to my breast bone, ‘Oh, Mr.
The “look” of St. Mary’s was romanticized in an 1846 painting of a confirmation of St. Mary’s students by Bishop Levi Ives. 6 When Elizabeth was fifteen she wrote in her journal that she was considering becoming a Raleigh 1916–1922 missionary, but that was the last mention she made of a possible call to service. She did not often talk about faith, nor apparently did anyone else in her family, though the Lawrences were very “churched,” as Episcopalians describe their close ties. Her young niece and namesake, Elizabeth, called “Fuzz,” once accused her of not caring about anything but beauty.