Born in 1875, my father's mother was tall, slender, and hardworking. Her favorite color was red, which showed up in her dresses, hats, and even the flowers she grew around her pristine little house. She had one vice, which she kept hidden from everyone but the grandchildren: she smoked a pipe! Her after dinner pleasure was shared with whichever grandchildren cared to spend time with her. I always volunteered because her bedroom had a fascinating pin cushion in the form of a lady in a beautiful red ball gown. I danced the pin cushion all over, whirling the red skirt to new heights.
She and my Grandpa Charles lived on a small farm, plowing by horses, planting and harvesting by hand. My father was the only boy, but his three sisters were able as well. Aunt Ruth told of the time she was driving a wagon of potatoes to market and the horse got away from them. They survived on what they grew: chickens, hogs, beef, and the garden. What excess they grew went to market. Hunting skills were not just recreational sport, they were food and survival.
The little house in Pasapatanzie, circa 1907
My grandmother is third from the left her three sisters flank her.
Grandpa Charles holds Aunt Ruth and my father stands by them.
Over with the horses is Father's Uncle Welford
They were clean and starched and poor but at the same time had everything. Good food, laughter, shelter, and the beauty of nature. No one ever needed welfare and there wasn't any.
My Grandma made me promise to never wear a bathing suit. I promised to make her happy, but I had to take swimming lessons so there went that promise!
Here I keep my promise not to wear a bathing suit!!!