This is not an exciting story about sexy women, so if you tuned in by mistake, I apologize, feel free to click on out.
The first role model I ever had was my grandmother. I didn't talk until almost four. I can remember being able to, but being surrounded by adults, who would beg me to talk, I wouldn't. Once I did, I never shut up (mom said that about 25,003 times so I remember). When I did start talking, I didn't talk correctly. I still don't all the time. I called my grandmother "Mawie" because I couldn't get my tongue around grandmother.
My Mawie was 4'8" and a bundle of pure sunshine, from her shiny white hair to her crinkly blue eyes that were full of good humor. She had a good word for everyone, and could find the good in the devil. At night when we said our prayers, she would always add "And please, God, give this world some peace." For her, it wasn't something added as an after thought, it was a fervent plea. I picked it up, and have added it to every prayer I have ever made.
She loved plants. She had about an acre (in a big city) that was nothing but the most beautiful gardens you have ever seen. Anyone that stopped to compliment her, ask directions or even those planning to rob her would get a tour, and leave with a huge bunch of flowers. Not the lesser flowers, oh no, roses, lilies, tulips, whatever was the best, that she gave away. The lesser flowers, zinnias and their ilk she would save for Sunday. Sunday's bounty went to the cemetery, one bunch for her son that died at 9. One bunch for her father and mother, one for her sister that died before she was born, she never forgot any one. When we'd leave, the cemetery would be a garden. If she ran into someone who didn't have their own flowers, they got a bouquet for their special one, too.
My grandparents were not wealthy people, in fact, they had to make do on a tiny social security allotment. Yet, she would once a week bake a batch after batch of cookies for the "unfortunate people." If someone needed a wedding dress, out came her beloved Singer. She would make brides cry with the beauty of her work, and never take a penny for her labor. She could have used a few of those pennies, but then, she would have just given them away.
Her house would never have been featured in House Beautiful. The windows were full of violets -- she loved them and tended them faithfully. They were in whatever haphazard container she could find, but they would bloom for her in the winter. She always had growing things around her, kids, animals, plants. There were areas she called her "messes." These were sewing projects, craft projects, all kinds of delightful nooks and crannies for children to explore.
She would find the greatest games for us. Our parents didn't have lots of time for us, so we spent a lot of time with Mawie and Pawie. She could let us string buttons. Oh, how we loved to do that. She collected buttons off old clothes, people gave her buttons, that woman had tons of loose buttons. Our mission was to take a needle and thread and string like buttons (color, size) together. She would then tie them and say that we were "angels" to help her.
She never told us to do anything. Her line was, "I am going to let you wash the dishes. I am going to let you polish the silver." All her grandchildren were adults before we caught on. Let us do the dishes? At the time, she made it sound like the greatest honor in the world, she just had that way about her.
At the end of her life, she had dementia. I was lucky, I was far away on the other side of the world and I never saw her mean and crazy. Others in the family did, and they weren't as big hearted as she and couldn't understand. I remember her just the way I have told you. Now, you can remember her, too. She was truly worth remembering.
There are so many other remarkable women that I have been lucky to have in my life I would like to share with you, my friends. So this is part one. It will be continued.