Saturday, November 22, 2008

Photographic proof

One of the most amusing things about becoming an "adult" is discovering what you DIDN'T know about those older relatives in your life. Today I was working on a Christmas project for my aunt in the nursing home, which included photos of her mother, whom I called Grandma, so as not to be confused with the one on the maternal side - Memaw. This photo is from my wedding: Memaw [who believed in the same style of house cleaning worshiped by Susan, Radge and myself] is on the left, Grandma is on the right. I always thought of her as the woman who wore men's shirts. When I asked why, she'd say they were more comfortable and she didn't really care about fashion. And yet she made me and my sister the most beautiful, stylish clothes each year for Christmas, right up to high school graduation.

When I was about fourteen, I still had long straight hair, down to my waist. Grandma, a big believer in perms, was always insisting I cut my hair shorter. Or at least curl it some, she would sigh. I remember some lecture about no self respecting young lady wearing her hair that way at my age. Interesting. I remember the day I found this photo...that would be Grandma on the left. I asked her age in the photo. She firmly suggested I go set the table for dinner. I did, but not before I saw a twinkle in her eye at being caught. I now know she was 17, but I'm not sure what they called that half and half style.

I think in my mind I'd decided that Grandma had always been a simple country girl who wasn't comfortable with "newfangled" things, much less fashion. She once confessed that she'd only gone through the 6th grade, quitting school to help work on the family farm. And more than once during my childhood, she would look down at her legs and muse that she didn't have "calves", she had "cows".

Today I found a picture that has forever laid to rest the idea that Grandma didn't have a fashion clue until we, her granddaughters, were born. Hey Grandma, seems you didn't always have "cows" attached to your ankles.


Susan said...

Aren't family photos wonderful? I love the ones of my mother and aunts when they were teenagers, posing with their brothers' big old roadsters. They're gorgeous.

It IS funny how you start sifting out the truth as you get older too...we all have less-than-perfect moments to keep from the next generations I suppose!

Thanks for sharing these; you're lucky to have had two lovely grandmothers growing up.

Rachel Fox said...

Excellent photo of the 3 long-haired lassies! I like girls who make their own style!

Dave King said...

Your own sense of humour shines through and illuminates it delightfully.

hope said...

Thanks y'all. Grandma would simply sniff at all this attention and wander off, somewhere between embarrassed and mortified I suppose.

Women in my family need to have a good sense of humor...we live a long time. Grandma was 91 when she died, Memaw was a month short of 99.

Granny Sue said...

Your grandmother was beautiful at all her ages. How good that you have been able to get to know her, and find out these interesting things about her life. My grandmothers, unfortunately, were not that accessible--one lived in England and the other in New Orleans (and she was a hard German woman who didn't much like children). I am glad my grandchildren are having the chance to know me very well. It's something I missed in my life. You're blessed.

hope said...

Granny Sue, I actually lived right next door to Grandma for the first 8 years of my life. She wasn't a touchy-feely grandmother [Memaw was] but I knew she loved me, even though she rarely said it. The highlight of childhood was running next door on Saturday afternoons to watch "Tarzan" movies, eat peanut butter crackers and drink Coca-Cola out of small bottles.

It's documented in my baby book that she had a sense of humor. Mom thought I was such a smart 3 year old, she sent me next door to borrow cookie sheets from Grandma. I came back with a bed sheet, a bag of chocolate chip cookies and Grandma trailing behind with a grin. ;)