A Most Remarkable Woman
I have in my possession what I call “a poor woman’s cameo”. It is not made of finely carved stone but is made of celluloid. Depending on how you view it, it can be the silhouette of a woman or a flower. It does not hang from a fine gold or silver chain, but is adorned with only a simple ribbon. This was the best piece of jewelry my grandmother had at the turn of the 20th century. It clearly defines how she lived her entire life - very simple.
As all adolescents try various means of attracting attention, one attribute that God gave my grandmother was ample cleavage. Her mother always made her put a handkerchief under her dress to hide anything revealing when she went out. She confided to my sister one time that the handkerchief was quickly removed upon exiting the stern view of her mother.
She never learned to drive a car; she never was in an airplane. Her formal education ended after the third grade. But for all the shortages of adolescent advantages that children have today, she was born with a wisdom that is seldom encountered in this day and age.
As she got on in life and could afford it, she always bought two pairs of shoes at a time. One was for when she got dressed in the morning and the second was utilized after her noontime nap. The second pair was a half-size larger to allow for the normal swelling that would occur during the day. I have never heard of anyone else doing this.
When she weeded her garden, she always shook the weed before casting it in the driveway for later pick-up. I asked her about this one time, and she said she could grow more weeds but she could not grow more dirt; therefore she saved it.
The only thing I have from her house is one of those small “pinked edge” signs that were sold in souvenir shops of the day. It is still on my computer as the screen-saver. It is a motto to live by – “Happiness is liking what you’re doing – not doing what you like.” You would think that when she finally passed in 1986 at 98 years old, she would have a house full of antiques. She had none. All her life, she replaced anything old with something new when she could afford it. She had absolutely no sentimentality about anything. She told me one time that there are two things that you should never do – cry or worry – because neither one of them ever solved a damned thing. Think about it!
I asked her one time when she was in her early nineties what was her formula for life. She always seemed to have everything under control. Her reply was, “I sleep when I’m tired, I eat when I’m hungry and I do something when I damn well feel like it”.
She was deaf for the last 60 years of her life. When I inquired of her one time if that bothered her she said it didn’t because people don’t have much to say anyway and, if it was that important, they would put it in the newspaper. Watching television with her was quite an experience. She never had the sound on and, due to the fact that color TV would “give you cancer”, she only watched it in black and white. Yet, she could tell from the expressions of the actors or newscasters just what was going on.
This was my grandmother – one of the most remarkable women I have ever known.