From Sister Mary (part 9)

[My maternal grandmother, Sibyl Mary Croly, was born in Cadillac, Michigan on February 29, 1888, to James Croly and Maria (Cowles) (Dennett) Croly.  In 1889, her father started a journal about her, entitled "The Record of Little Sibyl." This is an exact transcription of the contents.]

Jan 4, 1891

This is part of what I [Mary Irene Dennett, Sibyl’s adult half-sister] think about Sibyl up to date. First place, there is her naughtiness – perfect in its way. She clearly shows her remote Irish ancestry; the spirit of the ancient Crowley of Cork is visible in her methods of obtaining what she wants. First she bullies, demanding with a fierce gesture and determined expression, “Give me that!”

If this fails and she is reminded that that is not the way to get things – then such a marvelous change of voice into the excess of “wheedle,” such a puckering of the little face into impossible smiles and with an accent that ink cannot do justice to “Pel-eease…” etc with perfect self-abasement in every tone. Blarney Stone!

I am afraid I shall have to say that she is very obstinate – won’t mind till every other expedient is tried first. She isn’t bad tempered, only willful and the only baby in a family of grown-ups. She is inclined to use expressions in her conversation which are supposed to be proper from man to man but which in a tender infant are interpreted as “sass.” That is what her Father calls it.

This morning as I write, she sits in the little rocker that “Robinson’s Jenny,” as she calls her, gave to her, with her doll’s cab in front of her and rocks her dollie, which came Christmas, and sings snatches from little songs. Just now “Merry Bobo’link, got his singin’ in a kink.”

“Sibyl Puts Her Leg Over” by Mary Irene Dennett

She mothers her doll in a charming way and never is laughed at, so is natural with tender kisses on the china face and conforting assurances that “poor dollie goin’ to feel better now.” We love her so much that when she looks as seraphic as at present we forget entirely all the faults and naughty ways that come to the surface — and only from the surface we are sure — at other times. She may change as she grows older, but now she is blest, and we through her, with almost perfect beauty. The perfection of physical health, with delicate, rose-leaf skin, clear dark grey eyes, black eye lashes, dark brown hair and an intelligent and winning expression, and a form when in undress uniform that would be a model for an artist. Only this — her feet! Big? Awfully.

She shows a talent for music quite wonderful singing quite sweetly and learning a tune with the first hearing or two., She, by her own motion, learned to play “thirds” on the organ, standing on the pedal and working hard. She plays the scale in thirds and sings each tone in unison with the instrument. As she is not three years old we think this promising. We hope she will perpetuate all her charms and outgrow every blemish.

This, from her loving sister (1/2),
Mary Irene Dennett

The entire contents of “The Record of Little Sibyl” can be seen in these posts:

One Comment on “From Sister Mary (part 9)”

  1. So great to have this window into our family, especially my great grandmother and her family. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *