I come from a very interesting combination of people. My grandfathers and great-grandfathers were all very strong, hard-working men. Each of them have had a very significant thing in common. They were all married to wonderfully strong and independent women. All of these women were very different from one another. Each had her own strengths and weaknesses. As I look at myself, both my appearance and my personality, I can pick out each of them in me. I feel like I've been blessed with a little piece of them all and hope that I make each of them proud. I want to tell you a little bit about each of these amazing women.
Granny Lynda is my mom's mother. She is a soft-spoken, tiny woman with beautiful eyes and an infectious smile. Many people often think that she is oblivious to the world around her. However, I know that she sees and understands the world around her, but she chooses to not let that get her down. She sees the best in everyone and never utters a bad word about a person without blessing their heart. From her, I have learned that the world is often beyond my control but I can control how I respond to it. I also smile like her.
Granny Shirley was my dad's mother. She had piercing blue eyes. She was brutally honest. Her opinions were never a mystery. Granny Shirley has some very rough relationships in her early life which made her a little hard. This was something that I didn't know about her until I was in high school and it shed a new light on so much. I know she loved me, I know she loved others. However, sometimes she struggled with expressing her love and sometimes she came across harshly. From her, I learned that honesty is the best policy. I also learned that we don't always know what a person has been though so we should not judge them too harshly. I also have eyes that are very much like hers.
My great-grandmothers were all interesting women, as well. Grandmother Eliott got a college degree in 1924. She worked with the state extension office and visited women on their farms. Part of her work with the extension office consisted of starting a rest camp for farm wives. Talk about progressive, right?! In the 50s, she founded an arts & crafts fair that continues to this day and is a major contributor to the local economy each year. Although I never met my Grandma Clardy, I'm told that she was fiesty and had a sense of humor quite similar to my own. My Grandma Elsie was a woman who chose to spend her life taking care of those around her. She was an excellent cook. When I was about 4 years old, she taught me how to make apple pie. She was a very patient woman, and I swear she was probably a saint. My Gran-Gran moved to a nursing home when I was very young. Every time we visited, she gave us candy bars. Turns out, she was excellent at Bingo and cards. Each week in the nursing home, she cleaned up at the games so that she would have enough candy bars for each of us great-grandkids. She was witty and thoughtful. From these 4 women, I learned that getting an education is possible even when the odds seem to be stacked against you and that achieving whatever you want takes a hard work. I also learned the importance of family.
The person that I am is a direct result of these 6 women. Each of them passed along unique traits to me. I am blessed to come from these women and I love them all very much. I only hope that I make them as proud of me as I am of them.