A few weeks after connecting with the various grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. Scott I had the pleasure of actually meeting Mrs. Annette Scott-Johnson who had fond memories of Sligo as a little girl. She, her husband, and their daughter came to Sligo, curious to see it all of these many years later. I was met with such warmth I immediately felt at ease, as if meeting up with my own family and I was absolutely thrilled to take them through the house.
As we toured Sligo Mrs. Scott-Johnson would describe what she remembered about various parts of the house and the Shannon family who employed her family for many, many years. Below is a transcript of my telephone conversation with Mrs. Scott-Johnson on July 26th and posted with her permission. The sentences in parenthesis are my own interjections and explanations.
“Grandfather worked for the Shannon’s as a handyman for 52 years. (I was later told that their grandfather would receive a new truck from the Shannon’s every year because he was constantly driving to their many farms which were located at Sligo, where Central Park is today, and on Landsdowne Road.) At that time I was around five or six years old when I can remember and I, used to being the oldest grandchild, I lived next door to him so I was at that farmhouse at least four days a week. My grandmother worked there as a cook. So he would go in the mornings and there were a couple of cows he would milk and he would come home and have breakfast and pick-up my grandmother and take her over.
The side porch where you come into the farm we always came in on the side porch and that’s where Mr. Shannon always sat and I would sit out there and talk with him waiting for my grandmother to finish work. (Mrs. Scott-Johnson remembers as a child wishing she had a bike and mentioning it to her grandmother in the vicinity of Mr. Shannon. Next thing she knew she had a shiny new bike waiting for her.) I don’t know after the house was sold if people made modifications because the house sat vacant and the people before you everyone said were hippies because they painted it kind of a pink and yellow color. Before it was a nice, pretty, white house.
The last time I was in the house was 1952 or 1953 (the year she graduated from high school) after the first people bought it, it was looking kinda hippy from the highway. I can tell you how the house looked when I went over as a child. When you came off the side porch the kitchen was to the right (which means the kitchen was in the small addition at the back of the house and was tiny) and the dinning room was to the left. To me it was huge, because I was a kid. Mr. Shannon sat at the head of the table so he could see out the door. (Mrs. Scott-Johnson even remembered where she would sit at the table when she was visiting with the grandchildren of the Shannon’s.)
If you walked straight it was a small hall and a bathroom to the left and then you made a left and that was a big wide hall. Mr. Shannon never slept upstairs because he was heavy and had a bad leg (I later was told that he may have had a prosthetic leg) and right there they had a bedroom and past his bedroom was another room they considered the living room and then it was the front porch. Around April or May 1953 they had Mr. Shannon’s body on display in that wide hall.
I didn’t go upstairs much because it was Mr. and Mrs. Shannon living in the house but I understand he had been married three times. The second wife, Molly, she suggested my name “Annette Marie” (after the Canadian Dionne quintuplets born around the same time). We had a relationship with them for years because…I’ll be 84 years old. (She said she would play with Mrs. Shannon’s daughter’s children who came from Baltimore and that’s the only time she would be upstairs.)
I spent my time inside and John (her cousin who still lives across the street in Mayfield) spent more time outside.
(She moved away in 1955) but up until 1990 I was down there every week and then after my mother got sick I was down there every Thursday for 10 years. And as the years went by the shrubs grew up and the house started looking worse. It was a beautiful place when I was a little girl. (She was born on the 31st of July,just celebrating her 84th birthday).
Where the pool is now it was a wheat and hay field. At the interchange that was a big field and that’s where they had the Angus cows. There was nothing on that side of the highway but the Shannon farm. The Sylvania plant down to the left of the swimming pool all of that was just all open field. So it has really, really grown down in that area.”