May 6, 2011

The Women!

The Maine House remembers.....four special Moms on this
 Mothers Day of 2011.

Pink Peonies for Mother

Grandmother Grace, Grandmother Estelle and Helen Margaret and Barbara Rose...Maternal grandmother, Paternal grandmother, my own mother and my mother-in-law...the four most influential women in my life! I suppose that what we learn growing up, the things that sustain us and influence what paths we choose on our own life's journey, we take from our grandmothers and our mothers and yes, our mother-in-laws. At least, I did and that is what I like to take away of having known these four very different women.

 I was very close to Grandmother Grace, my maternal grandmother. She married young and was thrust into helping raise my grandfathers younger siblings, as their own parents had died and left about six children in the care of my grandfather. She had three children of her own, two boys and a girl. She was the best cook I have ever known and worked so very hard her entire life. They were not wealthy, but she was able to travel about the country from time to time. She had lifelong girlfriends and a laugh that would filter throughout the room. She loved the train and took us with her on two day journey's from Mississippi to Ohio and then back again. She would always make sure we had our favorite ice cream and our favorite soda pop's (this is their Ohio Yankee term for "Coca-Cola") and would tell us the most detailed ghost stories at bedtime in the summer's we stayed with her. That is.... before she fell asleep in the best part of the story and our thoughts would be interrupted by her loud snores....we would jolt her awake to finish the story in order to be scared out of our wits all night! She loved big huge hats with large colorful flowers along the side brim, which she wore every Sunday when she walked across the street to attend the Methodist Church service. She also loved Opals and referred to her "purse" as her "pocketbook!" She would write me letters when I was attending college at Ole Miss and ask me if I was still in love with Darling.....I shall always love her...always!

 Grandmother Estelle...Daddy's mother.....she was a woman of grace, culture and loved poetry, beautiful art glass, antiques and music. She was a skilled pianist and played beautifully and loudly...I can still picture her at the piano in front of their huge picture window in their living room, a tiny woman, letting the music take her to another place! She gave up a full college scholarship to study music in order to marry my grandfather. She was able to travel throughout Europe where she purchased enough English, German and Irish art glass to fill her own store. She hosted many bridge clubs, luncheon clubs and ladies music gatherings to have her social calender full at all times. She artfully set her tables with antique linens, fine china and crystal goblets so that her luncheons were some of the finest hosted in her town of Urichsville. She was blessed with one and only child, my daddy, who she dressed in the finest of tailored clothes. She adored him! My fondest memory of her was reading Cinderella to me as a young child. She presented Miss Judy and I the most grown-up of gifts, being a Royal Doulton figurine or a gold bracelet engraved with our names. She was tiny and wore a size four shoe....I would sit at her elegant dressing table and play dress up in her "Joan Crawford" style high heels and play her little blue music box as I pasted "Hollywood Wings" all over my face to ensure I would not get wrinkles when I got older.....I shall always love her...always...

 Helen Margaret, my mother, was a woman of many talents....she graduated from nursing school in 1942 in Columbus, Ohio. This is where she met and married my daddy, who was in his fourth year of Medical School. They married in 1943....it was during WWII, so it was not a church wedding, just a JP and their witnesses were a best friend from medical school and mothers best friend from her nursing class...her name was "Shook!" Mother always said she really did not have a strong desire to have children, but, nonetheless, she had three, since my daddy was the one who wanted children, after being an only child. Mother was an accomplished gardener and loved her Jackson yard filled with azaleas, camellia's and gardenias. She was one fabulous cook and was once voted "cook of the month" and had an article published in the Jackson newspaper about her recipes! She adored traveling all over the world with Daddy. She often said, she made herself interested in whatever hobby he wanted to pursue just so they could do it together. However, she totally fell in love with Christopher Plummer in The Sound of Music! Didn't we all? I will always admire her quiet strength, her politeness to everyone and her strong love she had for my daddy. I miss our talks, our shopping trips and just seeing her smile....I shall always love her....always......

Barbara Rose, affectionately referred to as "Miss Bobbie" from my father- in- law, was somewhat perplexing to me when I first came into the family, but looking back, I feel I understand her more as I have grown older. Miss Bobbie probably experienced a difficult childhood growing up the elder daughter of a divorced couple and being rasied by a single mother, then an older great aunt and finally a step-father entering their family. She had a younger sister who she always admired for her beauty. Although, Miss Bobbie was a beautiful and elegant woman in her own right. She was extremely intelligent, always articulate in current events and foreign affairs, which she loved to discuss over a highball and her after dinner cigarette. She was tall, lithe and tan. She had a lifelong love affair of vacationing on the beach, sunning and reading. She adored being southern, I mean "adored" being southern. She was social and seemed to know everyone that was from the Mississippi Delta. Miss Bobbie had a great love for her grandchildren and demostrated this with lots of kisses and hugs. She gave the oddest of Christmas gifts, which we later learned to laugh about, remembering our expressions as we opened, shall we say, strange and wildly unexpected items! However, one gift of pearls stands out in my memory, which she presented to me sitting on my hospital bed, prior to a very difficult surgery I was about to undergo...I shall never forget this and we cried together. She was one fabulous cook...everything she made was" divine", as she always said! I loved her stories about people...they went on and on forever and you felt as if you knew everyone she talked about, even you had never met them. She connected the families together.She suffered with ill health for a number of years, yet never failed to find the strength to recover and look like a million bucks everyday! I shall always love her....always.....

 A Very Happy Mother's Day! 

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