Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Last week, I took a solo trip to Texas to visit my grandmothers and my granddad. I also enjoyed time with 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 thought my heart would burst from all of the memories and love and beauty of it all.
The reality of my grandparents' lives is that they all grew up on farms, very poor, during the depression and the dust bowl days, in large families, and saw 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.