Memory Monday ~ The Most Influential Person In My Life

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

Early 70's6

lt to rt – Grandma, me, my mom (taken around 1970)

When I saw today’s prompt, I didn’t have to think, at all, about who my answer would be.  Without a doubt, my maternal grandmother definitely helped mold me into the person I am today, whether she realized it or not!

Grandma was a kind and gentle soul, always willing to lend a helping hand. She loved her husband, her family, and God. She was always a great example of what a lady should be. Grandma was the glue that held her family together, but life wasn’t always easy for grandma.

Grandma married her husband, Henry, when she was just thirteen years old.  At some point, early in the marriage, her husband started drinking.  I’m told he was a “mean drunk”, and I can only imagine what that meant for grandma.  I don’t know how many years granddaddy drank, but I’m told he eventually put liquor aside, never to touch it again, sometime before I was born.  I’m glad I never knew granddaddy when he was drinking.

As long as I knew grandma, she stood a bit awkward, and always walked with a  limp. She told me she had once fallen, and had broken her leg.  (Apparently, it didn’t heal correctly.) Later in life, both of my grandparents were both involved in a head-on collision, in which Grandma suffered another broken leg. Grandma was bed ridden for weeks, and my parents and I moved in, with my grandparents, to help take care of her.  Grandma’s limp was even worse following the accident.

My fondest memories of grandma are from 1963, when I lived with my grandparents during a  low point in my parents’ lives.  I was eight, at the time, and I lived with my grandparents for over four months.

Grandma was a hard-working woman. She cooked great meals, in a kitchen barely large enough to turn around in, she kept her house spotless, without the benefit of today’s modern conveniences, and she even washed clothes using a wringer-type washing machine!  Grandma took pride in everything she did.

Grandma loved fresh vegetables and flowers, too, and every year Granddaddy would plant a row of zinnias in the vegetable garden, for Grandma.  I loved seeing those flowers growing among the vegetables, and have continued that tradition in my own garden, as well.

Grandma spent a lot of time sewing on her treadle sewing machine.  I would sit and watch as she sewed, keeping the machine going by gently rocking her feet back and forth.  Grandma liked to make aprons out of cloth flour sacks, and I liked to watch!  I knew I wanted to learn how to sew, and I did, in Home Economics class, a few years later!  Over the years, I’ve sewed many items–everything from personal clothing to dolls!  I actually inherited Grandma’s old sewing machine, after my mama died.  It sits in our storage shed, some twenty-nine years after Grandma’s death.

Grandma also knew how to crochet, and I wanted to learn how to do that, as well.  The problem was, I’m left-handed!  Grandma tried, several times, to teach me how, but I could never understand because she used one hand, and I was trying to use another.  Years later, I was finally able to learn how to crochet–using my right hand!

Grandma had a habit of always fidgeting with her hands.  If she had a napkin or a tissue in her hands, she’d roll it or fold it a hundred different ways while sitting idle.  Many times, I’ll catch myself doing the same thing!

My grandma never learned how to drive a car.  She was totally dependent on others to drive her around.  I didn’t get my drivers’ license, either, until I was almost twenty-six years old!  I’m so thankful I got my license when I did, because it gave me more opportunities to visit Grandma while she lived at the nursing home.

Grandma’s last years weren’t easy ones.  Her husband passed away years before she did.  Before he died, he suffered from dementia, which made life difficult for Grandma.  After granddaddy died, grandma lived alone for almost ten years.  Time took a toll on Grandma, and eventually she went to live in a nursing home. A couple of years after that, Grandma suffered a massive stroke, and was completely bed ridden for the rest of her life.  She was barely able to speak or even chew her food.  Grandma was basically trapped in a body that no longer worked. As much as I loved Grandma, I couldn’t make myself go visit her while she was like that.  I only went to see her a couple of times, in four years.  I feel guilty about that, but it’s something I have to live with.

Grandma has been gone from this world a long time, but I do know, without a doubt, a part of her lives on through me.  I’m very grateful for the guidance and wisdom I gained from her.  She was a special lady.

 *I’m linking this post up with other Memory Monday posts at Retired-not-Tired.








Published in: on November 17, 2014 at 9:44 am  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a wonderful grandmother and what wonderful memories. In reading this, all the detail of what you remember just speaks to me of your love and admiration for her in your life and someone you wanted to emulate. Thank you for sharing all this. You painted a beautiful portrait of her. I can only imagine her pride in you.

  2. Your grandmother sounds like mine. She too had a husband who drank. I never had to live with my grandparents but I visited often.

  3. I enjoyed reading your memories of your grandma. She sounds like a wonderful lady.

  4. A wonderful tribute to your grandma! My gr-grandma suffered a massive stroke that left her bed-ridden and unable to speak. Something modern medicine could have helped with today. Thanks for telling us about your dear grandmother! I am so enjoying this new Meme on Mondays!

  5. How lucky you were to have a grandmother to look up to, and to give you so many warm memories.

  6. Thank you for telling us about your wonderful grandmother.

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