Friday, May 11, 2007

My Grandmothers

This being the week of Mother's Day, I thought I would share some memories that I have of the special "mothers" in my life, starting with my grandmothers.

This first picture is of my great grandmother. I called her Grandmother because that is what my mother calls her, but she was also known as Mamaw. I already had two Mamaw's so I thought it would be much less confusing to call her Grandmother. She lived with my Grandfather in a tiny little town called St. Elmo, IL. I liked to visit her, which was usually only once or twice a year, because she lived close to my cousins, who were more my age, and therefore far more exciting. I loved my great grandmother because she had a very gentle spirit, and yet could sometimes get "sassy". My great grandfather was something of a character, and although she was a very obedient wife, she definitely was her own person. She always kept "sugar drop cookies" in her kitchen and I remember her offering us those cookies every time we came. When she passed away my sister and I sang at her funeral.

This is the only picture that I have of both sets of my grandparents together, and the only picture that I have of my father's parents. There are many other pictures, but the only that I had here at my house. My dad's parents were Walter James and Mary Elizabeth Carmen. They lived on a farm with all kinds of livestock, had a pond stocked full of fish, grew their own strawberries and grapes, and Papaw's pumpkins were legendary for their size! I most remember Mamaw Carmen in the kitchen. She was an avid canner--most of the vegetables that were eaten at her table were grown in her back yard. She also made homeade grape juice from the grapes in the arbor. They were a dark purple and made Welch's grape juice look like colored water. I get my facial features from my grandmother. My father inherited her large eyes, and I inherited them from him. As children we would cluster together in the living room and Papaw and Daddy would get out their guitars and we would all sing together. We sang old hymns and songs like "The Little Brown Church" and "Froggy Went A-Courtin'". My love of music was born in their house. Papaw died first, just a few years ago, and Mamaw died 3 weeks after him.

You have recently read of the passing of my Grandmother, "Boots" Cummings. I have posted recent pictures of her, but I thought that you might like to see her when she was younger, the way that I remember her growing up. She was absolutely beautiful! Her dark hair was NOT dyed, and it stayed dark with hardly any gray up until these last few years in the nursing home, and even then it could hardly be called "gray". No beauty tricks....just good French genes. I also remember Mamaw for her cooking. We didn't have meals at Mamaw's house. We had feasts! She loved food, and she loved to cook, and I think that my love of cooking was born in her home. As children we LOVED to go to her house. My grandparents house was a refuge, a fun place to explore and play. Compared to our house, their house seemed huge, and we loved playing hide-and-seek with our cousins. The only time I remember Mamaw ever spanking me was when she caught me jumping on her bed. So although their house was fun, there were limits! She had a lovely, infectious laugh, and Bampy adored her. He lavished her with a wonderful life, a life-time of passionate love, diamonds, vacations, and in the end, his complete and utter devotion when she needed him most. I miss Mamaw very much, and my thoughts will be with her a lot on Mother's Day, as last Mother's Day I was able to visit her and spend the day with her. One year here, the next gone. Blessed be the name of the Lord who took her to heaven!

I have been immeasurably blessed by the grandmothers in my life. So much of the time I spent with them was when I was a young girl. How I wish I could have them back now in my adulthood! They were all treasures and all a part of the mother that I am today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a sweet walk down "Mother's" memory lane. Thank you for sharing it with me. I know that my Mother and Grandmother would have been very pleased and my Dad would get a blessing out of it to. Others called my Grandmother by Mamaw but I always called her Grandmother and him Grandfather. I only wish you could have known my Mother's Mom and Dad. love you, MOM