The Pioneer Valley Association, which has been looking high and low through Western Massachusetts for an "old-fashioned grandmother" to serve as "Queen of the Laurel" for Laurel Week, can stop its search right now. If Mrs. Ernestine Perry, secretary of that association, who announced yesterday that the "story book type, contented in her knitting, just couldn't be found," she hasn't been out to 816 Vista Street, Barkerville, where Mrs. Katherine Beach knits as neat a carpet as will be found anywhere.

Qualifications? For the old-fashioned part, she'll be 86 next month. Her four children have given her 10 grandchildren. And to her contentment in knitting proof may be seen all over the home of her daughter, Mrs. William Sabin, with whom she lives. Carpet and patch quilts are her specialty.

Mrs. Beach, the widow of Royal Beach, who died in 1912, has four children, Mrs. Sabin, with whom she makes her home; Mrs. Louis Mallon of 3 McKinley Terrace, William Beach of 17 Pleasant Street, and George Beach of West Stockbridge Center. She is a native of Becket and spent most of her life in Washington. For the past several months, she has divided her time between Mrs. Sabin's home in Barkerville and Mrs. Mallon's home.

She likes motoring. Recently she went to West Haven with her daughter's family and returned the same day without showing any ill effects. She is a little deaf but her general health condition is quite good.

The Pioneer Valley Association, a non-profit organization of civic leaders devoted to developing Western Massachusetts for recreational purposes, for the past week has been seeking the so-called old-fashioned grandmother to be queen of "Laurel Week," during which tours are taken through the area to view flowering plants set out by the State. In a recent tour of hill-top towns, settled by early pioneers, Mrs. Perry reported she found several grandmothers but not the old-fashioned type which were contented with their knitting at home.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle. 

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.