Don’t Let This Happen To You #1

Meg Cranston

The Old Days

It’s called Annie’s cup. It’s a red glass cup and saucer with the name Annie etched on it in white. It came from an amusement park probably Coney Island.

Annie was Jimmy’s daughter. Jimmy was Jennie’s brother. Annie died of tuberculosis soon after her father Jimmy died of the same disease.

Jimmy outlived his wife Jeannette. Jeannette died a year after giving birth to Annie.

Jeannette died of the tuberculosis she gave to Jimmy who passed it along to Annie. Jennie was pregnant at the time of her death.

Jennie bitterly mourned Jeannette and Jimmy and was left to suffer the loss with her terrible and cruel sister Margaret after whom I was named.

Jimmy met Jeannette at a sanatorium in upstate New York. Jimmy was stationed near the sanatorium during the First World War. He would visit on his days off and became friendly with some of the patients especially Jeannette.

Jeannette had TB when they met. They married and had one child, Annie. Jimmy got sick soon after and five years later the whole family was dead.

I learned about Jimmy and Jeannette when my mother was dying. She told me she was named Jeannette after Jimmy’s wife who had died of TB.

Jane, my sister knew the story and said that’s why Marilyn has Annie’s cup. Marilyn was my aunt, my mother’s sister, Jennie’s daughter and Jimmy and Jeannette’s niece.

Marilyn kept Annie’s cup in a cabinet in Brooklyn. She had it since she returned from Blythedale - a convalescent home in Valhalla New York where she stayed in bed from age three to thirteen.

Marilyn willed Annie’s cup to Jane when she died last year of complications of childhood tuberculosis. Now Jane has it.

/seconds acknowledges the kind permission of Ed Ruscha, and the assistance of The Orange County Museum of Art and Hanako Williams of Gagosian LA.