Miss Anna was a lady (and a good friend) till the end

features@beaufortgazette.comMay 16, 2012 

When Green Berry and Carrier Sims Byrd found out about Booker Washington Heights, a neighborhood being planned for the working class in Columbia, they applied to buy property and eventually moved there from Whitmore after the birth of their youngest child, Rosana.

I grew up two doors down from Green and Carrier and had the pleasure of knowing Rosana -- or Miss Anna, as she was called by my younger generation. She was quite a proper lady and demanded this quality in all the girls and women whose lives she touched. This was a carryover from her mother, who would sit on the porch and watch us as we went to and fro.

Education was an important ingredient in Miss Anna's life. With the encouragement of her uncle, she enrolled at Allen University, where she earned her high school diploma and a college degree.

Many mornings, Miss Anna would stand on her porch to encourage students who were waiting for the school bus. In inclement weather she would allow them to stand on the porch with her until the bus arrived. She gave the students school supplies and would always tell them to "stay in school and be somebody."

She had a knack for helping everybody. Even as she aged, she felt the need to do mission work. She and one of her best friends, Donnella Wilson, visited the sick and shut-ins -- no matter how far they lived from her house (as long as the bus could get them there). Miss Anna's husband, the Rev. Peter Felder -- a quiet and stable man -- was the same way. He was a preacher and a cobbler, who not only kept an eye on his flock, but also his many customers.

Miss Anna had a beautiful soprano voice and would sing with church and community choirs. She would sing to friends on the telephone. And anytime there was an extravaganza at Allen University, you could rest assured her voice would be heard.

Later, Miss Anna moved to Orangeburg with her son, Peter L. Felder II, and his family. It was there that she ended her prayers as she had always:

"Good night

Sleep tight

Do what's right

With all your might."

Miss Anna came from a line of "long-livers." Her mother lived to be 100, and her sisters lived to be well into their 90s. In February, Miss Anna passed at the age of 102. Not only did she teach and encourage her children, grandchildren, great-grands and all those whose lives she touched, she gave them all baked goods -- because time was to be used, not wasted, after all.

Miss Anna was quite a lady, quite a giver, quite a cook and quite a mother.

The following are recipes from her kitchen.

CHERRY PUDDING

1 (16-ounce) can red tart pitted cherries, undrained

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Combine cherries and 1 cup sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, milk, baking powder and flour. Blend until smooth.

Melt butter in an 8-inch baking pan. Spoon in batter, spreading well. Pour cherry mixture over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes or until done.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

Makes: About 1 dozen

1 cup self-rising flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 tablespoons shortening

1/2 cup buttermilk

Combine flour and salt; cut in shortening. Add buttermilk and stir until blended. Roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness on a floured surface; cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place on lightly greased baking sheet; bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

MAMMY ANN BISCUITS

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons shortening

1/2 cup milk

Combine flour, baking powder and salt; cut in shortening until coarse. Add milk; stir until blended. Turn dough out onto flour surface and knead 3 or 4 times. Pat out to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with biscuit cutter. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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