For the twenty-fourth tribute of Women’s History month, let’s honor our great-grandmothers. Not one great-grandmother, but as many as we can divine, collectively, through letters, stories, personal experience, notes taped to odd and wonderful items handed down from generation to generation, and other methods our great-grandmothers found to leave something of themselves.
If you are reading this, you have four great-grandmothers to puzzle over. In my case, I met one, Agnes Binkerd Wells, and I recently found a curious note taped into a desk drawer by another, Mary Catherine Hall Steer. Both of these great-grandmothers come from my mother’s side. Just as my mother documented her life in works of art, and her mother wrote prolifically, the grandmothers on this side left needlework, quilts, diaries, letters and tiny, neatly scripted notes for their descendants.
On my father’s side, the stories died early with the women, but a coincidence of discovery and a photo have rekindled my interest. My father’s paternal grandmother, Josephine Wilhelmina Weller Wilson, died shortly after bearing her fifth child. She was thirty-six. The only picture I’ve found shows her serious nature, and seems to fortell an unfortunate end. My father’s maternal grandmother, Mary Katharine Koch Frederick, died at forty-six, apparently of breast cancer. Her daughter Erma’s industrious life (see my blog of March 15th about Erma Rebecca Wilson) reflects the love and training of the mother she referred to as “Mary Kate.”
After my mother died, my father was left alone in the big house down the street. One afternoon he brought his family records to me, to keep, as he was getting ready to move. We pored over the letters and photos, grateful for handwritten notes, and we found evidence of Mary Kate’s death on November 12, 1812. When I read that date, I looked at my father and said, “What day is it?” He said, “Thursday. November 12th.” It was the seventieth anniversary of the day his mother lost her mother, and I wondered what had prompted him to share Mary Kate’s picture and story with me, her great granddaughter, on that very day. The loss of my own mother was fresh for me, and my heart went out to my grandmother Erma, whose mother died when Erma was only twenty-two.
The memory of the one great-grandmother I knew is a child’s skewed view of a strict, dour, matronly presence crowded by doilies. It wasn’t until I read her breathless letters written from Cornell in 1896, eager to return home to her beloved Horace, that I could imagine her as a passionate, interesting young woman. I’m grateful for the letters left by my ancestors, and for the opportunity to peek into their daily lives, to consider their hopes, and to observe their foibles. Many of those foibles are familiar to me; so much is passed on.
Have you evidence of your great-grandmother’s lives, hopes, or dreams? If so, I’d love to see a bit of their handwriting or hear your favorite story.
Generic Cialis if you think that it simple to celebrate that to big disappointment of many people. It not the truth. As it is necessary to spend the calories also. When you wake up everyone a shadow. Generic cialis online not on each height it is possible to rise and understand that you not correctly understood everything in the life. I can’t itself in the life know everything. If I told that it is necessary to eat oak bark.