Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gladys was my grandmother, she was a wonderful real woman.

I have said before that my Grandmother Thelma was killed in a terrible car wreck with my Grandfather, Martin, on their the my Greatgrandfathers funeral. It was devastating in our lives and probably changed the course of my childhood more than any other event, it was 46 years ago this week. My Grandmother, Gladys, took care of us kids when the funeral occurred I remember her taking care of us, we were just kids and turned the coffee table over and all the rocks that were in it tumbled across the floor, Martin had been a rock hound. The table was a beautiful display of his most cherished rocks. She took it in stride, cleaned it up and just loved us, she knew that our loss was more than we could understand. She was saying good bye to her friends by loving their and her grandchildren. Gladys by this time did not live close to us but she was there for us. I don't really remember being with her a lot as a child but do remember the time spent with her.

She seemed to always be there when we needed her. She was there when my brother had to have surgery for swallowing an electrical cover plug. She was there to bring her dyed pink poodle as a surprise to us on Easter Sunday. I got to spend the week once with her and I remember her spending the day spraying these horribly large tomato worms with a poisonous spray.  She came in to the house, was covered in the stuff, choking, she asked me to pull out her teeth so she could breath. She was a hard working loving, mother and grandmother. I don't ever remember her ever having said a cuss word, a woman very like my Father. She loved her children, but she also loved her daughter in law, my mother and felt the need to protect her, I am not saying they didn't have their differences, but if my mom needed some one on her side when it came to the family, even if my mom was wrong, she was on her side. I think maybe that was because my mom no longer had a mom, and she felt it her duty. She shaped a lot of my mothers thoughts on raising children but I am not sure my mom would see it that way. When I was 9 and 3/4, I don't know why the 3/4 was important, but at the time it was extremely important to me, she moved to Samoa. It was a long five years, and when she came back she was a sick a lot of the time. She lived with dignity and honor to the end.

I think she gave me some of my oldest philosophies. She knew I had to take care of the littler kids and some times it was hard. So she taught me that I should never have to hit someone to make them mind me, I should be able to do it with my voice and words. I can and do do that to this day. She knew that my mom liked little things, puppy, kids and babies. I was not a dainty little girls, I was not the biggest of my sister, in the end, but my Sister is a tiny minute, and my mom adored her girlie little girl. Sister probably helped my mom survive her mothers death, but it didn't make me the "tomboy" feel loved at the time. My grandmother helped me understand that I  have value for who I was and it was ok to be me. I now know I wasn't the "tomboy" my mom thought I was, no I wasn't the girlie girl, I was a well rounded girl, that enjoys the girlie stuff as much as the boy stuff. I only realized that in my later life, I am a homemaker to my core and the things I collect could only be called girlie. I think my grandmother still speaks to my lonely childhood soul sometimes.

My grandmother never meant a stranger, we once went to the laundry mat, all the aunts and in laws were doing laundry and we notice Grandma was gone, and then we saw her, she was out in the parking lot in a travelers camper having tea and in deep conversation. She may have been my earliest knowing of God. She was a woman of God in everything she did. She was once sadly recalling a story of when she was a child, she sad they called me "happy bottom" and I could not understand why that would have hurt her as a child. I being a child didn't realize they had not actually called to "happy bottom" when they teased her about  her name...... When she left to Samoa, she was an old woman, bun in her hair, dresses that were well below her knees, she was all of 50, when she came back from Samoa, she had a cute short hair cut and wore Samoan fabric the rest of her life, she looked so young, Samoa had helped her become a free spirit in many ways. She was a better person, for having gotten to go do missionary work for the islanders. God had blessed her.... today I remember the lovely lady she was.... tomorrow.

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