No matter if we want to or not, we each gain strength from things we’d rather not go through. Both my grandmother’s were very strong women and they each went about life in very different ways. My mom’s mom I was always a little bit afraid of and she truly was an inspiration to me. She would bitch at me for being mean to my mom (when I was a teen I was the parent challenge, even though I was the 4th kid~I just broke them in for Joe apparently) and then she would turn around and teach me how to smoke in the bathroom without being caught. I completely get it now but as a 14 year old kid I was more than a little confused.
She was a very, very strong women…against her will, I think. Her name was Florence and she was born in 1916 and got her only sibling Jackie (John) 2 or 3 years later. He left this earth way too soon at age of 14. Shortly before or after that she lost her dad. Got married at 17, had my mom at 18, 2 years later she gave birth to my (fabulous) Uncle B0b and within 2 years she had another son, Donald, who died as an infant and then her husband died from peritonitis. This was during the depression and damn straight, if I were her I’d have been pissed off at the world. I don’t know if she was or not but she did survive all of that.
I have no idea what her fun factor was when she was young but I kinda think that she understood the fact when you live life, you’ve got to have fun if you can, when you can. I don’t know when it started but she used to go to Mardi Gras every year. She told me a story about being in a bar in New Orleans with a friend, they were having a few cocktails, soaking in the scenery and having a good time. A couple of other women joined them, chatted a bit and then asked them if they were gay. This was back in the day when gay meant fun, having a good time, whatever (look up Fred Astaire songs). Her and her friend’s response of course was “oh yes, yes, we’re gay”. Then the mood of the conversation changed a little…I can still see the look in her eyes when she told me “and then we understood what they MEANT! We left so fast!”.
She married again (and he died 3 months before I was born, that’s another story) and gave my mom 2 sisters and me 2 wonderful aunts and some fabulous cousins but she left us all far too early at the unripe old age of 68 in 1985. I think of the conversations we could have had since then and I miss her tremendously. Anyway, back to the title of this blog. That gramma is the one who taught me to put my hand behind my back and ring the door bell when someone is getting a little too close . When she met her 3rd husband, he asked her for her phone #. She told him that it was in the phone book. He asked her what her last name was, she informed him that THAT was in the phone book as well :o) That was the man I grew up with as “grampa”, he was persistent and won her over.
As a teen I used to just lie about my name when I was being hit on (one lie that I can tell w/a straight face) that and where I was from. Being a single parent through my 30’s I used her phone book line over and over again. Thanks gramma, I miss you!