Friday, January 9, 2009

I THINK OF YOU


Born in 1898 in a covered wagon on the outskirts of Stroud, Oklahoma, Bethel Maude Moore was destined to be my Grandmother. She was my Father’s Mother and she died when I was only 12.

I remember her being soft and cushy, just like a Grandma is expected to be, I suppose. When I knew her there was an almost transparent bluing in her tightly curled hair and she smelled only of the dime store lavender talc her meager income allowed her to enjoy. She wore little make-up, save for the peachy-tinted face power and the heavily pigmented rouge that brought color to her milky white, deeply wrinkled skin.

I never once saw her wear pants. She dressed in clothes older women of the day would wear, simple dresses fashioned from feminine, lightweight fabrics. Most came with thin belts, which she usually discarded. As she put it, ‘they were too short to reach around her plentiful belly’. She always wore a full slip with adjustable straps. I don’t remember if she wore a girdle, but probably not.

Her shoes were those old-fashioned kind. You know the ones! They were black and looked like little mini boots...the kind one might see a real granny wear. They laced snugly up the front, had a slightly pointed tip and came with a heel that made up made in function what it lacked in fashion. During her rare winter-time visits, she’d keep warm in a pale pink coat, and I seldom saw her without a shimmery rhinestone brooch and her predictable clip-on earrings.  Sometimes she wore a tattered hat showcasing an old millinery flower or two...but never once did I see her wear a cloche.  Somehow I knew she had once really loved them.

I understood little of this woman back then. Possibly less now. She carried within her a deep sadness. A sadness I know instinctively I will never comprehend. Never afforded the chance at an education, she’d been forced to leave school after finishing the 3rd grade. She talked fondly of her siblings but lived hundreds of miles from them. She had once deeply loved, but he’d been forever lost to her while serving in WWI. Her most beloved boy, his love-child, was ripped from her. She lived through unthinkable sorrow, especially for a girl who had yet to reach the age of twenty.

When she was still a young woman, she married my Grandfather, a West Texas Oil Man, whom by all accounts was merciless and cruel. She bore him five children, two girls and three sons. One of which would never see adulthood, and another who was fated to be my Father. She named him William.

It’s been almost thirty-six years since my Grandmother left this earth. The precious few things that remain of her existence are tattered and worn and gently faded. She left no money, no earthly treasures. Photographs are scarce, correspondence written by her hand, even less.

What do linger are the gentle reminders of what I knew her to take pleasure in and the impassioned love she carried in her heart for my father and his four children. As I fill a sachet with fragrant lavender buds, I think of her. When I embellish a pillow with a vintage rhinestone bauble, I think of her. When I pull on my softly colored, pale pink jacket, I think of her. Mostly though, it’s during the quiet visits with my aging father, the most adoring of all her sons, the one who stayed when all others had left, I think of her...

Love to you~

Rebecca

6 comments:

jenx67 said...

That picture looks like Billy as a little boy!!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely Post--
You painted a beautiful Word Picture. Thanks for sharing sweet memories.
Hugs-- Mom

Suzy said...

So beautifully said. She lives in your memory and that is what matters the most.
Thank you for stopping by, your comment made me laugh and yes I would love to put you on my side bar. Your blog is so vintage and soft, I like it here very much.

Have a wonderful day. Suzy

Susan said...

What a lovely endearing story. You made my day Rebecca. Many blessings to you.
Susan

Anonymous said...

You're not only creative with your hands, but also with words! Have you ever thought about writing? Lovely story. Lisa

Mariette said...

Dearest Rebecca,

Knowing that this very Grandmother of yours is looking after you from heaven. What a nice tribute. I understand now so much more about your Dad's choice for being what he became... He must have LOVED her too and who knows, she still supports all of her loved ones. So sad about her love-child being ripped from her. You know, cruel things happened at those times and still probably to a lot of women. I for one, cannot comprehend how they took my still-born sister (whose 'te' I added to my name as I got her name...)away from my Mom. Dad put the body in a margarine box on the back of his bike and it was burried in a patch that was not blessed by the Church. Why could she not cuddle the body and love it and part from it slowly and mentally? They decided to take it away, that was best... What an awful pain she must have lived through!
Love to you,

Mariette

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