Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Blessings of Grandmothers and Mothers

Mattel's Happy Family Grandma, 2003

Happy Family Grandma entered my collection in February 2011, as a secondary market, Amazon.com purchase.  I am still in search of Happy Family Grandma's counterpart -- Happy Family Grandpa. Until one surfaces for a decent price, Grandma will remain single.

In 2001, I became a grandmother... never even imagined I would see that day.  Me, a grandmother?  (At 45) I'm too young to be a grandmother, I thought, when I learned of my daughter's first pregnancy.   I don't look like a grandmother, but after the redheaded bundle of joy arrived, I wholeheartedly embraced the title.  The process repeated itself in 2006.  My two grandsons are pure blessings -- they give unconditional love and of course receive it tenfold from me and my husband, particularly my husband.  Granddaddy is their super hero. 

The closest person to a breathing grandmother in my life was my brothers' grandmother (I have two older brothers who are actually half siblings, but in our household they were my brothers... period).  It was not until I was about 6 or 7 when I learned our biological fathers were not one in the same.    "He must be your stepbrother," was said to me by a neighborhood kid after learning one of my older brothers was my brother.  "Your last names are different," the precocious child said.  All I knew was that my daddy was Daddy to all five of us; and according to my mother, when I questioned her about my new discovery, "All of y'all came out of me! There-are-no-steps-here!"  That ended that discussion.   

Sweetie, is what most people  (even the neighborhood children) called her (and that's what she called us).  And she was sweet... one of the sweetest women in her age group that I knew as a child.  My mother's former mother-in-law remained a mother figure to her and became a grandmother figure for me.  During the summer of my preteen years, I spent some nights with Sweetie.  As a younger child, she took me to work with her once where I witnessed her perform light domestic duties for "Ms. Lila," whom she met at the Highland Park Country Club where she worked.  Ms. Lila had also employed Sweetie to host occasional parties at her home and perform other light domestic duties for her there.  She, Ms. Lila, lived in Highland Park (where former President Bush now resides).  

Sweetie adored her biological grandsons (my brothers) with the youngest of the two being her favorite.  That was her way.  She was sweet to all of us, but she always had her  favorites among pairs.  Between my sister and me, Robin was her favorite.  In her defense, I would have chosen Robin, too.  Until her passing during my early twenties, Sweetie served well as my stand-in grandmother.

B. Barrow Evans, my maternal grandmother circa 1st quarter of 1900s
My maternal grandmother -- B. Barrow Evans is shown above.  She was described as a very strong-willed woman.  In the 1930 US census, she is further described by the census taker as a laundress.  According to my mother, "Madda"  never worked outside the home.  She gave birth to six and died shortly after my mother's youngest sibling was born.  My mother was in her teens at the time.
 
An Old Fashioned Girl Jody by Ideal, 1975
An unclear image of my paternal grandmother, Mollie Lewis Behan, is my only visual of her.  She was described as a brown-skinned woman with long, black hair.  She passed away when my father was only two.   In doll world, I see her image in Ideal's Old Fashioned Girl, Jody (pictured above), but with fuller facial features.


Mama and siblings during 1970s (back row, 2nd from left); her sister, Betty, is seated next to Mama (back row, 2nd from right).
My Mother -- the middle girl of three, was named after her mother.  I think my grandmother's oldest daughter, Betty, looks more like my maternal grandmother than my mother.  Mama is shown in the above 1970s image taken at Missy's house (my Aunt Betty) where the family would usually gather on Sundays after church for Missy's home cooked meals and any covered dishes other family members brought.  On the day the above picture was taken, Mama's younger sister, Ann (seen on the first row), was visiting from California, which is probably why the siblings were present that day at Missy's house.


Mama, late 1940s/early 1950s

During one of my last visits to Sweetie's home with my two, then young children in tow, I asked Sweetie if I could "borrow" the above image of my mother that I had admired each time I visited Sweetie.  From as far back as I could remember, that picture of Mama had been at Sweetie's house.  After my broken promise to return it to her after I made copies, Sweetie reluctantly allowed me to borrow the photograph of the woman who served as a daughter figure to her.  I made copies of it for my four siblings and kept the original, which continues to hang on a wall in my den.  I was not able to return it to Sweetie before she passed away suddenly in her home in the late 1980s.

Mama, 2010

On this Mother's Day, I am thankful for Sweetie and for the two grandmothers I never knew. I am also thankful for my mother who is still here with me.  I appreciate her sacrifices, her love, and for blessing me and others with her presence for 85 years.  Had it not been for my grandmothers and my mother, I would not be a daughter, a mother, and now a grandmother myself.

Happy Mother's Day! 

dbg

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8 comments:

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning about your family. This is a beautiful tribute to your mom, your grandmothers, and Sweetie.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this Mother's Day tribute to the mothers in your family.

    Happy Mother's Day to you, too.

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  3. Very nice tribute....well written. I love ancestry history. Thanks for sharing. Happy Mother's Day to you!

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  4. Thanks for the touching Mother's Day tribute. Also thanks for the picture of Old Fashioned Girl Jody. I wanted this doll along with Bob Scout when I was in junior high school but never saved up enough money to buy them. Happy Mother's Day to you!

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  5. Thanks so much for sharing today, especially on Mother's Day. Your mother is still jazzy to this day!! I love her smile, it's bright and inviting. You are truly your mother's daughter. May your blessing continue to flow. Happy Mother's Day to you.

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  6. Thanks, ladies for following me back down memory lane.

    Limbe Dolls, I hope you are able to find Jody and Bob Scout. Both are nice dolls. Dave Scout is too.

    dbg

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!