Thursday, September 15, 2011

Great Grand Mother Glassy, she was a wonderful woman, I am told.....

My earliest memory of my Great Grandmother Glassy was when we lived on the 50 acre farm near Darby by the sawmill that dad worked at.  We lived in an old farm house.  Where was a lovely old barn and a whole bunch of sheep, and the most wonderful little sheep dog named Shep, he liked us well enough but he loved those sheep.  My Great Grandmother came to stay with us shortly after my grand parents funeral.  I know now, but probably wasn't aware then, that my great grand father had died shortly before their death as they were killed in a freak snow storm en route to his funeral.  I remember my Great Grand Mother as being mean to my mom, but in hindsight she had to be in such pain.  Nothing my mom did was good enough, if she disciplined us that made Great Grand Ma mad, if she didn't discipline us she was in trouble.  I think I was seeing the grieving of two very strong woman, both having lost their precious daughter, mother, father, son in law, grand father and husband.  Life had to go on for them and they didn't know how to grieve together; before long Great Grand Mother went back home. 

A couple years later Great Grand Mother came to visit us again, she always came on the bus from some where far away.  I only remember her coming to see us 4 or 5 times.  I think, but am not sure, after Great Grand Father and my grandparents died, she moved from the Seattle area to Hot Springs Arkansas to live near her son.  So when she came on the bus to visit it was a long ride.  She was a diabetic and had a lot of health issues.  The second time she came, as I said a couple years later, she brought pictures to share with my mom.  I remember my mom pleasantly looking at a pile of pictures then shear horror coming to her face.  My mom had chose not to view her parents after their death and my Great Grand Mother had always been mad at her for not doing so, so there in my moms lap was a dropped photo of my Grand Mother Thelma in death.  My mom later described her memory of the photo as so abhorrent to her.  My Great Grand Mother had done it on purposes, I don't know from meanness, or thinking back, maybe it was her way to jar my mother our of depression.  Either way my Great Grand Mother didn't stay long that time either.

The third time my Great Grand Mother came to visit I wasn't there and by all accounts my siblings loved her and had a wonderful time with her,  She was in very good health and all had a very bonding experience and she stayed longer than expected.  The last time my Great Grand Mother came to visit was in the summer of 1981 shortly after Goofy was born.  She brought me a beautiful very plain baby blanket for my daughter.  My Grand Mother Thelma had always worked and I don't know if she could sew or could not sew, she probably could but didn't have time; but my mother was taught all of her many fiber art skills by my Great Grand Mother.  I have seen some of the beautiful work she had done.  I do have an unfinished top that I inherited, it was made after her sight had started to go so has both cotton and polyester pieces, I am sure she hadn't meant it that way.  Anyway, she came to see us.  I do not, to my chagrin, have a photo of her with my daughter as she was very sick and kind of mean.  I do so wish I had gotten to see her the magical visit that the rest of the family talk about when she was lovely and pleasant.  I do recall a story she told the last time I saw her and maybe it gave insight into the woman of the south she was. 

She told of her oldest Great Grand daughter coming to visit her.  She had come in the after noon and they had had a pleasant evening, dinner and then had gone to bed.  In the night Great Grand Mother had heard a baby crying in her sleep, she awoke and she could still hear it.  She got out of bed and followed the crying.  She opened her front door and there (her word's) was the cutest little N****r baby she had ever seen.  She gathered that little baby up, rocked and shushed him.  He was the most adorable little thing.  She had no idea where he had come from.  Her great grand daughter stepped forward and said, "Grandma, he is mine."  Great Grand Mother took her to task for leaving such a precious baby out in the car, hungry and alone.  Her great grand daughter had been so afraid that her grandmother wouldn't want him for being black, as she used the N word all the time.  She didn't understand the woman had been born in the 1800's and that that was the term she had always used as that was how she was raised and the times in which she lived.  My Great Grand Mother was a grand old dame, she loved us and wanted to see us but was a staid and crotchety old girl, or maybe it was just her way.  She was 83 the summer of 81 and due to cataracts could no longer ride the bus to come and see us.  I am sad to say I only ever got to see the sterner side of her, I know that there was another side, my sibling and my Mother all got to see that I never did.  I however benefited from the legacy of her fiber art, she passed it down to my mother and she passed it down to me, I pass it down to my children and anyone who wants to learn,  My Great Grand Mother was just short of 100 when she died in the 90's.  I am proud to say I knew her if only a little............. tomorrow.

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