Meet Nancy Kerr, the previous matriarch of Rivermont. There are so many things about this house that I love, but, without a doubt, its good spirit is the thing for which I am most thankful. And, from what I gather, we have this lady to thank for that.
A plucky war bride from England, Nancy and her husband Jim raised four boys within these walls. Nancy was an impressive being; she was a nurse during WWII and was the first hospice nurse in the state of Tennessee. I’m sure I’ll share more about the Kerrs’ tenure in this house at some point as we have so enjoyed getting to know their family. But for today, I just couldn’t resist sharing this portrait.
It was painted by Nancy’s sister-in-law Elizabeth Kerr-Rike who was the preeminent portrait painter in Knoxville in the forties and fifties. In fact, James saw some of her work hanging in a local country club recently! In the words of Nancy’s third, Christopher, “She could catch the essence of a person in her drawings.” This portrait carries such a presence that the first night she was here, Dexter walked right up to her and growled. (I’m happy to report that relations have warmed since.)
There is just something about her expression and that gleam in her eye that I can’t seem to get over–powerful, confident, and perhaps a little mischievous. Anyway, she’s staying at Rivermont until her granddaughter (who shares her striking features) has a place of her own. For now, we couldn’t be happier that she’s here for a bit longer.