a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Archive for October 25, 2012

our foremothers

< by Anna >

Grandma Wilma was born in a small Oklahoma town in 1913. Where windstorms blew the dust so fiercely, she said, that it formed drifts against the pasture fences, allowing the cows to emancipate themselves by simply walking over the bovine-friendly dirt ramps.

From the rocking chair in her living room, she spoke in a calm, soft voice that never shook the country notes from some words. Washcloths were “warshcloths” and her response to most questions usually started with an even-keeled, “Well…” that sounded a little bit like “Whale…”

She was gentle to her core and one of the kindest people you’d ever meet — a Norman Rockwell ideal of a mother and grandmother.

When my dad was a wee babe, she polished his little leather shoes once a day. When he got older, she ironed all his clothing, dungarees and underwear included, with tender loving care. Every time she washed his Cub Scout uniform, she first removed all the badges, then sewed them all back on after it was clean (“So they wouldn’t fray,” he claims).

Of course she spoiled my brother and me rotten.

We started music lessons quite young, and every visit included a concert in her living room. In those early years, when the performances were more squeaks than melody (have you heard a five-year-old play the violin?), she would pay doting attention and applaud as if we were virtuosic little Mozarts.

She died in 2007, with my mom and dad by her side, just a few weeks before I was set to leave on a long international trip. We only half-joked that she timed it so the funeral wouldn’t inconvenience my travels. She would have turned 100 this January and I know I’m more than just a little lucky to have her in my family tree.

 Click here and here for more stories by Anna.