Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tale of Two Grandmothers

Yesterday, LMW and I were looking at the family portraits hung in my hall. I point to each person and tell him their name. And I can ask him where someone is, and he points to them. It's a game he loves to play.  For some reason, I looked at my grandparents and became a bit emotional. This happens to me periodically, for no reason and no warning.

I looked at my grandmothers, missing one a great deal, and grieving for the other because I never knew her. So, here is my story of them. This is a long post, so feel free to stop here. *grin*


My Grandma was the life of the party. She loved to laugh and have everyone laugh with her. She was a Christian and loved the Lord, but was a bit irreverent and never took herself too seriously. I can remember a lot of the off color remarks she made, and her wicked sense of humor.  She would stand at the counter, making biscuits from scratch and she would mutter things to herself, sometimes uttering the "S" word. She was just a hoot.

She loved us grandkids with a great passion. I was the first one, and was treated as royalty. And that never changed as long as she and my grandfather were alive.  She washed me in a big washtub, kept me for six weeks while my Mom had my little brother and recuperated, cooked me whatever my little heart desired.

When I was grown, I would go do things for her, such as roll her hair, clean her house, or give her a bath as she got more feeble. I loved her with all of my being. I've been told, (and I believe it to be true), that I look a bit like her. And I believe I inherited her creativity. She could take anything, and make something out of it. She made a lampshade out of an old bushel basket. The base for the lamp was an old iron stove. I wish I had that picture on my computer. It was amazing. She had original art all over the house. She'd just pick up a few things here and there, and before you knew it, there they all were, hanging on the wall in a frame. Amazing.
She and my Grand Daddy were "pickers" long before it became popular. But that is another story.

After my grandfather died, she just seemed to lose her will to live. We had to move her to the local nursing home facility, and she wound up the last two or three years, living in a dream world of her own making. It was terribly hard for me to watch and listen to her, and I regret that I didn't go see her more often. She usually mistook me for my mother or someone she didn't know and would ask me if I'd seen Grand Daddy lately. It broke my heart.

She loved snow, and always sat on the enclosed front porch in the winter, willing it to come down. The day we buried her, it snowed. We were all so thankful. I really miss her.

This will be a much shorter story.(This is edited from the original, because I was able to take a photo of a photo)

My Dad is the younger boy.

My Dad's mother left her family when her was seven years old. No one knows the real story, or reason behind her leaving. She did go with another man, and did return for her three children, but my grandfather wouldn't allow her to see them, much less take them with her. Pity that, because my father's life after that was pretty bad. He refused to have anything to do with her the rest of their two lives.

When I was about 13, I was able to meet her. I won't go into the circumstances, but I wish so much I had realized the import of that meeting. I never saw her again. When I began my genealogy research in earnest, I contacted her second set of children, but I was about a month or so too late to see her again before she died.
I was able to connect my Dad to his half siblings and that gave me great joy. I believe if given the opportunity, he may even have been willing to see her again. Unfortunately, I was just too late. It was meant to be I suppose, but I grieve for her and what could have been. In talking with my half first cousins, I found that my "Granny" was a very sweet and loving woman. And they all told me that she would have loved me greatly. I'll see her in heaven and there will be great rejoicing.

I know this has been a long post, but it was one that I was compelled to write. Thank you for reading it.


LeLe said...

This made me tear up, yuck! But it was beautiful. I miss Grandma. She would have LOVED LMW so much. And wish I had gotten to meet O.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

You really do have a strong resemblance to your maternal grandma. Lovely post.

Tonya said...

I love reading about peoples backgrounds. Sadly our family is a mess on all sides. I have grown to be a very non-sentimental person. I mean VERY.
I get kind of fussy around Mothers Day and Fathers day. It is sinful really. I need to work on my bitterness.

Love that you are sentimental. Stay that way!

Michelle said...

Aw. I never thought about it before, but you were the first grandchild, and I was the last! Wow. Your the Alpha, I'm the Omega. LOL. I loved this post. I never knew Granda Willie was so creative! By the time I came around, she was up in age, and wasn't in the kind of health to get up and around. I have always been sad that I didn't get the same experience with her as all my older cousins. :(. But--I remember her talking about the Lord fondly. She once told me Jesus was her boyfriend. I do wish my boys could have met her!!!! What I wouldn't give for Daniel, Eli, and LMW to have an afternoon on that closed-in porch with her and Granddaddy!

Y said...

You're certaintly your Grandma's grand daughter! Love your post!

FrouFrouBritches said...

This is so sweet. I do think you look like your grandma! So sad to hear about her being in her own little world, but I fear I'll be like that when I lose my Hubby too. She sounds a little like my dad's mom - a little irreverent. I love that!