May 27, 2024

Life at Dayspring: Alice Fenn back

Cheryl Hellner, long-time member of Dayspring Church and the Earth Ministry, wrote about Alice Fenn in 1984. This is an excerpt.

Alice, The Oldest Member of Dayspring Church

"You can't fiddle around making tea if you want to learn how to arrange flowers," Alice said to me as she opened the screen door and came into the farmhouse kitchen. Alice arranges the flowers each week for the worship service of Dayspring Church.

It was Sunday morning, two hours before church, and Alice was dressed in her nightgown, housecoat, and best Sunday slippers. She put her rose clippers and basket of cut flowers down on the table and began rummaging through the bottom cabinet looking for the right vase. "I don't know who keeps messing up my things!" She found a dish, then lifted a bucket full of oasis up into the kitchen sink. The oasis had been soaking down there for days.

"You've got to make sure your oasis is wet, really wet," she said as she cut through it with a knife and fit it inside the dish...and began taking flowers out of her basket, heaping them on the table....

"Now there aren't any rules for this," she said, selecting the first flower and holding it up to the dish. "It's not like I can say to you, do this and don't do that. You make it up as you go along. Just keep turning the arrangement, adding flowers until you get the effect you're looking for. It's the effect you're after."

Alice cut, poked, and peeled her flowers, all for "the effect."...By the time Alice finished an arrangement every flower had been touched -- the first time by God, the second time by Alice....

Once when Alice had nearly finished an arrangement and I was saying how beautiful I thought it was, she said, "Now watch this, just watch what this does." She took honeysuckle and added it in -- not a lot, just a touch here and there -- and fields opened before us....

Alice lives in a "mobile home" (NOT a trailer) that hasn't been mobile since it first arrived at Dayspring...She lives with her cats George, Midge, and Tom. She recently had to adopt Tom when his family moved...but Tom refused. So Alice adopted him.

It is the tough-willed, independent spirit of cats that for Alice is the chief among their many virtues. "I like the fact that you can't make them do what you want them to do...You live with them. They don't live with you."

Alice saves all her food scraps for the birds and other small animals that frequent her bird feeders....

On squirrels: "Some people chase them off their feeders, but I think they're cute."

On starlings: "People don't like starlings, but the starlings eat the Japanese beetles. There's some good in everything."

Alice was a member of Dayspring Church and of the Earthkeepers Mission Group for many years. She died in 1999.