Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Seeing Beauty


Last week, I took a solo trip to Texas to visit two very special ladies - my Grandmothers. I also enjoyed time with my Granddad, my parents, a few aunts and uncles and a cousin. The sun was shining through all my driving across the vast state of Texas (yes Aunt Linda - windows down, heater on, music loud) and there was beauty everywhere I looked. I had a magical time alone with both of my Grandmothers - holding their hands, listening and talking about old memories and catching up on the present. I thought my heart would burst with emotion from all of the memories and love and beauty of it all.




The reality of their lives is that they both grew up on farms in rural Texas, very poor, during the depression and the dust bowl days, in large families, and saw much more than their fair share of tragedies. It's precisely that, I'm sure, that made them as tenacious as they are. My maternal Grandmother I've admired for her efforts to preserve and prioritize her family. She made Christmas gifts every year for her many Grandchildren - felt animals, dolls, and the like. She saved every letter anyone ever sent her, and made scrapbooks for each and every grandchild. She made copies of every old family photo for everyone, and put them in albums. Labeled. Before the digital age. She has made multiple photo albums for her children and grandchildren. I remember sending her negatives of a vacation as recently as college. She typed out her remembrances of her life and as much family history as she knew.

My maternal Grandmother kept this growth record of all of her grandchildren in the doorway of a walk in closet my entire life. My first entry at 9 months is pictured at the lower left "Lecia 9 mo".

My paternal Grandmother has inspired me with her joie de vivre. She moved from her farm to another town with her youngest daughter still a child after her husband died at a young age, and built a new life for herself. Until six months ago when she had to move to an asssisted living facility, she walked to and attended all of her town's high school football games. Walked every day for exercise. Helped care for her elderly friends. She still watches a lot of sports on television, reads voraciously, and plays games at every opportunity. When I used to visit her in her town I felt as though I were with a celebrity, so great were the number of greetings and the warmth that came with them.


26 comments:

Chelsea said...

These pictures are stunning. I love grandmas!!!

Frau said...

Amazing! Pictures are beautiful! Grandmothers are special, yours sounds extra special!

Thimbleina said...

So beautiful. I'm glad you had a great time. I just love the growth charting in the doorframe, such wonderful memories. What a great history to pass down the family. Precious moments which are being treasured by every generation of your family.

pve design said...

Lecia,
They too must have been so honored to see you and the remarkable person that you are. There is truly nothing like the love of a Grandmother. The hands speak volumes.
We need to take time to honor the elderly and praise them for paving the way. This would make a lovely book. That door frame. Priceless.
pve

Debra said...

How wonderful that you were able to do this. I know it must have meant the world to those very dear family members. Your Grandmother's hands could be those of my very own Gramy~ who has been gone for several years... at the age of 97!
Gorgeous, treasured photos.

kks said...

wonderful to take the time to listen to our "elders"...i wish my grandparents were still alive, when they were, I was too young and selfish to think they had anything important to say....fortunately i have that relationship with Spike, my neighbor who is 102! amazing stories, amazing life....your story gives us hope and strength that we all can persevere through these crazy times.......great photos! thanks for sharing...
xo

heidi said...

i adore that door frame with all the heights!!!

Ina J Offret said...

Thank you Lecia for such a heartfelt post about your visit with your Grands and sharing some of their story. What fun to be free and driving thru Texas, thanks for the photo breaks, and I love the domino tiles. One of my favorite games. If I lived nearby I would join the game! Welcome home, dear. xoxo

KPiep said...

Thank you for sharing such a special part of your life with us. It sounds like our grands have a lot of similarities, and your farming photos were enough to trigger my wee bit of homesickness. (In a good way!)

amy said...

glad you had a lovely time with family... i love that last shot...

Kwana said...

This post takes my breath away. It's a trip to cherish. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Kristy said...

How perfect. Those first few photos are exactly what I love about Texas, and your grandmothers remind me of mine.

Becky said...

Beautiful. I don't have my grandmas anymore, and I sure miss them. Yours sound like treasures!

Briana Patton said...

Beautiful. My husbands grandparents grew up in Matador, TX. They eloped when she was 18. And had a very amazing life together. She is 92 now and dr. say won't be with us much longer. Having lost Pa two years ago, Gran says she is ready to move on. It felt like I was looking at her pictures. Especially the cotton farm. When we would visit them in Eastern WA, we always played a game of dominoes. She was also a very strong woman, something about Texas, I guess. We will be visiting her this week-end, possibly for the last time. I am so grateful to consider her my grandmother and for all the memories she passed on to us. And that my children were able to know and love her. A very sweet post.

Stacy said...

Wonderful! I'd love to see more pics.

Joyce said...

Lecia, I'm glad you were able to spend time with your grandparents and family. There is nothing like family time. I love the door frame!

nicola said...

oh my. what a beautiful lesson we can all learn from them. thank you for sharing.
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

annechovie said...

Lecia, that is so wonderful that both of your grandmas are alive and that you made a special effort to go and visit both of them. My grandmother died about 5 years ago and I really miss her. What wonderful photos. What a treasure!

A Day That Is Dessert said...

Thank you so much for your comments and these wonderful remembrances of your grandmothers. They touch my heart.

Anonymous said...

I love this post. Sadly, i only knew one grandmother and wasn't too close to her, but after 5 years of me begging them, my parents moved up here and i am hoping my three have this kind of relathionship with my parents.

Welcome back.

Kira

Jodi Renshaw said...

A lovely post. Thank you.
~ Jodi

please sir said...

Lovely post and sounds like a wonderful trip - love the last two photos - amazing.

Anonymous said...

These are magical photo's!

Debbie said...

beautiful post, we have a growth chart that looks like that too :)

Paige said...

I'm glad to hear that you had such a wonderful time - your words and pictures are awesome. Thanks for sharing that!

Anonymous said...

what a lovely post and I love those beautiful grandma hands.