|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|
|An Old Fashioned Girl Jody by Ideal, 1975|
|Mama and siblings during 1970s (back row, 2nd from left); her sister, Betty, is seated next to Mama (back row, 2nd from right).|
|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.
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!
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