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 Arrena <I>Miller</I> Bradsher

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Arrena Miller Bradsher

  • Birth 21 Aug 1887
  • Death 18 Dec 1969
  • Burial Marmaduke, Greene County, Arkansas, USA
  • Memorial ID 74419309

MOTHER KEISER by Gray Carpenter Church

Arrena Miller Bradsher was called "Mother Keiser" (and also "M.K.") because she had lived in Keiser, Arkansas, and worked there as a school teacher.

My mother (Margaret Ann Gray Carpenter) says that M.K.'s nickname is probably attributable to her: She said that when she was little, her mother would tell her that they were "going to visit Mother at Keiser." My mama shortened that to "Mother Keiser" and the name stuck.

Arrena attended Normal school to be a teacher. Normal schools were the training school for teachers in the old days. They went to Normal school for two years. After she graduated, she taught at the Miller School in Greene County. She taught all grades. Ruth said that MK was a teacher and that she had all of her sister- in-laws as students, this was in the small town one room, all grade school. But MK always said that her husband was smarter than she was. 

After my great-grandfather Amos died, my great-grandmother Arrena sold his pharmacy and moved to Leachville, Arkansas, where she bought and ran a restaurant. She had been a schoolteacher in her youth, and now, at the age of 53, she was starting her own business as a restaurateur! Mother Keiser would tackle anything. Once, when Arrena was in her 80's, my mother came to visit and found her standing on a ladder painting her kitchen. My mother says she never should have been on a ladder in her 80's-but nothing could stop MK!

After the War, Mother Keiser sold the restaurant and moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas. When her son, Joe, came home from the War, he also moved to Jonesboro and went to school at Arkansas State.

About 1952, MK moved to Painton, Missouri, to live with and be a companion to her older cousin Ella Miller Painton. ... In the late 50's, Ella died and Arrena moved to Little Rock, where her daughters Lavern and Margaret (my grandmother) lived with their families.

I was about 9 years old when we started having Sunday dinners at MK's apartment (about 1965). It was an all-Ladies' affair: the fathers and husbands would normally spend Sundays at the golf course or flying with my grandfather Herschel (Margaret's husband). So the ladies (Margaret and Lavern, Ann, and my sisters and me) would gather at MK's after church and spend the afternoon eating and visiting. Well, truth be told, it was the adult ladies would visit; my sisters and I entertained ourselves by playing.

Before dinner, we always said MK's favorite prayer: "Father, we thank Thee for this food and all Thy many blessings. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen." Then my sisters and I would dig in. My sister, Karen, would sometimes sing at the table. Mother Keiser didn't like that at all and would tell her to hush. My mother would then say, "Mother Keiser, don't fuss at her-she's just thankful to have something to eat!" I remember Mother Keiser telling us "Sing before breakfast, cry before supper." She also told us not to kill spiders in the house, because if you did, it would rain.

Dinner at Mother Keiser's consisted of a wide variety of dishes: a lot of leftovers mixed with a few dishes that MK had prepared. The lace tablecloth covering the long formal dining table was laden with plates of chicken, ham, and beef, sliced bread, fruit, homemade jams, and stuff that my sisters and I didn't really like-things like pickle relish, watermelon preserves, and head cheese. For dessert there would be lots of choices of pies and cakes.

My favorite dish was MK's potato pancakes. She made them with onion and when they were warm, they were scrumptious. You could smell their sweet aroma the minute you walked into the apartment building and all the way up the stairs to her apartment. She didn't make them every time, so as soon as we entered the apartment building, I could tell whether or not we were in for a special treat.

In 1967, my father joined the Air Force and in 1968 we moved to Georgia. We saw MK again only on our short visits back to Arkansas. She died December 18, 1969 and my mother flew back to Arkansas for the funeral. She is buried next to her beloved husband, Amos—the man she always said was "the most wonderful man"—in Harvey's Chapel Cemetery, Greene County, Arkansas.


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  • Maintained by: Gray Carpenter Church
  • Originally Created by: Sean Greene
  • Added: 4 Aug 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 74419309
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Arrena Miller Bradsher (21 Aug 1887–18 Dec 1969), Find A Grave Memorial no. 74419309, citing Harveys Chapel Cemetery, Marmaduke, Greene County, Arkansas, USA ; Maintained by Gray Carpenter Church (contributor 47299487) .