We would go see my grandmother during the summer. We lived in Virginia and she was in Jamestown, Indiana. She lived in a farmhouse perched above a curve in the road. Depending on the year there would be corn or soybeans growing on the 10 or so acres behind the house. She and my Grandpa Lee had a huge garden and yard that flowed down to the field. They leased the farm acreage. Looking back, my memories are of playing with my cousins and the adults were in the background. I always felt a little exotic arriving in this rural setting.
My grandmother. My impressions are of a strong woman. She was tall and broad shouldered. She was very vocal, commanding, in charge and organized. Domineering is probably accurate. My Grandpa Lee was her 4th husband and they were married at least 20 years. I know she was a nurse. I know she made and decorated wedding cakes. I remember boxes and boxes of cake mix in her pantry. I remember looking at her photo albums of her cakes and stories of she and my grandpa delivering them. I can just hear her bossing him the whole time. She also canned. I remember shelves filled with canned green beans. Green beans and tomatoes are the two things I remember from her garden. She also had a stash of Avon in a closet, I assume she sold it at one time. I remember getting the ice cream cone lip balm, then the ice cream float for Christmas. My grandmother must have been a resourceful woman. I know she made choices that alienated my dad at various times in his youth. Those were hard times. All three of her sons joined the service right out of school and my aunt married a navy man.
There are several things that are her legacy. One, her children and grandchildren are workers. We all have this work ethic that we provide for ourselves even when times are tough. Second, nearly all of her grandchildren are in the healthcare field. Finally, we are readers. My grandmother sent me a check for $3.00 for my birthday for years. I bought Trixie Belden books with all that money! My dad, even now as his memory starts to fade, reads all the time. I remember my Uncle Jim and his kids reading all the time too.
I know I come by my personality honestly. My heritage is one of strong women paternally and maternally.
~ Elaine Harrison
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +