Reed seeking funds for stone
PLYMOUTH — By Aug. 11, a fundraising effort for a monument reached a milestone: One-third of the way to goal.
John Reed, a local photographer (More Than a Click Photography), manager at Quick’s Lanes, correspondent with this newspaper, and also a brand new father, started a group on Facebook called “Help purchase a grave marker for Margaret and Anna Rash (aka The Apple Twins).”
Within two days, the group has more than 50 members and has raised nearly $300 of the $1,000 needed for a headstone.
“I lived next to these ladies when I was in the first and second grade,” Reed explained, “which would have been about 25 years ago.”
He said he developed a relationship with them once the sisters knew that he respected them.
“Almost every day I would walk across the alley from the house I lived in, sit on their porch with them and talk to them,” he said. “I never once saw them throw a rock (as rumor has it they would) but I can say that there was a coffee can with rocks in it. Maybe they saved what was thrown at them. I watched several people walk by and shout at them and only then would they shout back.”
The sisters, Margaret and Anna Mae Rash, garnered many nicknames over the years from the city’s youngsters and adults alike; some that were not so nice. But this thread on Facebook has joined those who made fun of the women with those who cherished them.
The sisters spent their lives together until Margaret passed in 1992. Anna Mae died in 2007. Together, buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, they have no headstone. Visiting the graveyard, Reed decided to try to raise money to erect a stone with the ladies’ names along with a little picture of a cat, which they dearly loved.
“These were two sweet ladies that deserve to be remembered,” Reed said. I visited their grave site yesterday only to find two plastic markers laying in the grass.”
Reed came upon remembering the women when another group was created on Facebook called, “If you grew up in Plymouth, you remember when…”
“Currently, that group has more than 1,000 members, and they that talk about the memories they have of Plymouth,” Reed said. “Several members have brought up Anna Mae and Margaret Rash. Most of the memories posted would refer to them as ‘Hekel and Jekel’ or ‘The Apple Sisters.’ These ladies were not the mean, crazy ladies that people made them out to be. They vocally defended themselves would others taunt them.”
Reed posted several replies to the “memories” of these sisters explaining how he knew them and what he thought of them. “I wondered whatever came of these ladies,” he said. “I contacted Oak Hill Cemetery and asked if they could tell me where their graves were located, which they did. I went to the graves and saw that the only markers there were the plastic markers laid at the grave sites. I feel that these ladies — as does everyone — deserve more of a marker than a piece of plastic laying on the ground. They lived their lives here and obviously have made an impact on Plymouth and deserve remembrance.”
Reed said he would walk across the alley and sit on their porch talking with them, yet because it was so long ago, he can’t remember all that was said regularly, “but, their cats were definitely involved. They loved their cats and would sit and hold them all day long.”
Others also remember the ladies’ love of felines.
Miranda Singleton said, “I loved to go and talk to them when we lived next door. I couldn’t wait to go talk to them about cats! I am very touched and happy to see John doing this for the ladies. I still remember what they looked like. Margaret had a beautiful smile — big and bright. Anna Mae was a bit shy, but still a loving smile. So misunderstood!”
Another comment from Theresa Roush said she remembers pushing her son in a stroller. “I was 18 and had heard all the stories about the twins,” she said. “I walked past their home where they were both sitting on the porch. When I walked back past, returning home, one of the twins came and gave me a baby bottle that my son had thrown out of the stroller.”
When one of the ladies handed the bottle to the new mom, Roush remembers her saying, “Wouldn’t want that baby going hungry now would we?”
“That’s when I realized that they weren’t mean, just different, misunderstood and maybe a little afraid that others would be mean to them,” she said. “Kids are horrible at a young age. They tease people that are different. Parents, it’s you’re responsibility to make sure your kids understand that different doesn’t always mean bad and that teasing someone for simply being different is not right.”
Reed has set up an email address and a paypal account for donations. If anyone would like to donate, do so at paypal using firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Reed at 574-952-7333.