Not long before she passed away, my grandmother, Lurey Albury, gave me this photograph. I recognized her in the picture, of course, and her sister, Virginia, but as time went on, I grew more curious about the group and the other ladies in it. Once again, my generous and trusty sources came through. Shirley Roberts, Floyd Lowe, Joy Lowe Jossi and Joy’s sister-in-law, Betty Lowe, helped identify all the faces (including my grandmother’s youngest sister, Belle, whom I’d never have recognized.) Betty – who’s actually in the photo – provided details about the group.
These ladies were members of a knitting class taught by a Canadian missionary, Gladys Jones. Miss Jones was a single woman from Hamilton, Ontario who lived in the apartment above what is now the Native Creations gift shop in New Plymouth.
Betty Lowe was just seven years old when Miss Jones took this photo in 1940, and she recalls many happy hours spent with the group. The women and girls bundled the garments they created (that’s what they’re holding in the picture) and sent them to soldiers serving in World War II.
Betty, her sister, Merlee, and her mother, Minnie, continued knitting for years afterward — in fact, Minnie made blankets for seniors until she was well into her 90s. Kathy Saunders Cohen was especially well-served by Miss Jones’ lessons, says Betty, as she was able to knit warm clothes for her family when she later married and moved to New York.
Though most of these girls and women went on to live full, happy lives, the same cannot be said of Miss Jones. Several years after she took this picture, she fell ill and left the cay for medical treatment. On November 8, 1943, Miss Jones died of uterine cancer at the Bahamas General Hospital in Nassau. She was just 38 years old.