1917 - 1999
Kit Stansbury was responsible for putting on the very first
egg show (1971) in the United States, founding the
International Egg Art Guild, and inspiring thousands of egg artists
throughout the world.
I Remember Mama
By Alice Shearer
I was asked to write a little
bit about memories of my "Mama", referred to from here on as Mom, which is what
I called the woman you know as Kit Stansbury. Writing is not my forte, and for
awhile I thought about refusing. How do you put sixty years of memories in a few
Mom had just passed away the end of June (1999) and
it still hurt an awful lot. After thinking a little longer, I felt that I wanted
you to know a little bit more about the lady who you knew for her fervent desire
to further the knowledge and enjoyment of egg art to people everywhere.
There was a lot more to her than that. Mom was definitely a people person who
had a hard time saying "no" to anyone. As far back as I can remember she was
always involved in all types of community affairs. As a family, we took part in
every parade and celebration that came down the pike. On my husband Ken's desk
sits a blowup of a snapshot he found shortly after we were married. It is a
picture of me at the age of one year, in a swimsuit and crown with a banner
saying, "Miss America 1940". I was walking with assistance in front of a float
Mom had decorated with all kinds of red, white, and blue streamers. She did get
us involved at an early age.
There were times when it seemed she
was never home. Active in the PTA, not only on the local level, but county and
state as well. Then there was choir practice one night and another night when
she was an advisor to our church youth group.
Mom enjoyed all
kinds of arts and crafts as well as sewing. Fro a time she made all of her own
as well as my clothing. (Believe it or not, there was a time when I was so small
for my age, the only way I could have clothes like the other kids were wearing,
was if she made them for me). I remember when that ended! One day one of Mom's
friends asked me if I sewed. I made a remark that there was not reason for Me to
learn, as Mom did it for me. As soon as that got back to her, that ended my
having my own seamstress. She was more than willing to teach me though, and I
soon started making my own clothes.
During our early years, my
brother and I would tag along to the different school playgrounds in town where
Mom served as director of arts and crafts. We learned to do all kinds of things
and summers were fun. Then I became really sick and Mom's life seemed to revolve
around my needs.
We didn't have a lot of money and it was a long
time before I realized how much my family did without during these times. Every
week we would take a bus to Philadelphia (which was 60 miles away) to see the
specialist there. On days when I felt well enough, we would spend a couple of
hours walking through the big department stores. This was always a treat,
especially around the Christmas holidays.
I missed a lot of
school over several years, too sick and weak to go. I was tutored at home. This
was when Mom started inviting the neighborhood children to the house to teach us
arts and crafts and to make sure I had company and didn't feel totally isolated.
Mom and one of the town's favorite teachers took on the task of establishing a
group called "We-R-Teens". the group had officers, with the adults as advisors,
sponsored a big dance every Friday evening so that teenagers from all around the
local area would have a place to spend time. Twice a year we would have a big
formal dance, and Mom always was in charge of decorating the hall and making
centerpieces and favors for all the tables. I can remember learning how to turn
little soufflé cups into flowers, roses, daffodils, violets,
made from crepe paper, to put mints in at every place.
Brother Bill and I were always tearing up newspaper for her
many paper mache' projects. Our home was always filled with projects, in some
state of completion, setting all over. Dad even got involved in a lot of these
projects and since he enjoyed cooking and was good at it, he took on that
responsibility most of the time.
already out on my own and living in Maryland when Mom started working at the
Youth Center, had her first egg show, and started publishing the Treasure Chest
(later to become the Egger's Journal). I wasn't involved in the first few egg
shows at all but then I started going to Phillipsburg to help out at her table.
It's funny, but with all the things Mom taught me over the
years, I don't ever remember working on eggs with her until she moved down here
a few years ago. I picked that up by going to shows, taking a few mini-classes
that would be offered and helping with the acceptance of eggs for the contests
and listening to what the judges had to say about the various eggs they were
judging. She always encouraged me though, and I stayed involved, even agreeing
to be the first membership chairman of the Egg Art Guild upon its formation. (It
wasn't difficult then).
While at the
Youth Center, Mom taught all kinds of arts and crafts but especially ceramics to
both children and adults. Working as a volunteer for several years after the
Youth Center opened, she was eventually given the position of Director of Arts
and Crafts. She held this position for 40 years, retiring at the age of 78, she
moved down here to be closer to us.
Even after she came here, she got involved in teaching a group of children at
the church next to where she lived, how to decorate eggs for trees to go on
their altar for Easter. When my nursing career came to an abrupt halt, I opened
my shop, Eggcetera, and Mom and I started going to several shows together each
year. We really enjoyed that time together. Now she was my helper so she got to
enjoy some of the shows as a spectator.
I could go on and on but to sum it up, she was always there
for me, no matter what my need. Through sickness and troubled marriages, I
soaked her shoulders many, many times and through happy times as well. Always
setting a good example, she taught me to be a good and honest person.
I have been so blessed to have her all these years. She was
not only my Mom, but my Best Friend as well and I have to say, I miss her