Three quarters of a century

I took Darcy home where she is more comfortable and I can have peace and quiet. She barks incessantly while she is here: at the dogs walking by and at my neighbors dog who she knows is there but has never seen. She hates other dogs so I don't think introducing her would help.

It's been a lovely birthday since. Carol sent me roses, then called this morning to sing happy birthday, our family tradition. My cousin Marilyn who is six days younger than me called, and Raja called. Then Mary, another neighbor brought me a beautiful cupcake. My family is coming back from the camping trip this afternoon and we will all go out to dinner (without Darcy).

I keep thinking about my grandmother. She lived with us from the time I was six until I was fourteen and she died of leukemia at the age of 78. As I age I think of her often and feel like I know her better than I did when she lived with us. Then I saw her through the lens of my mother's emotions and I was a little afraid of her. She was a formidable woman and remained so until she took sick. Five days a week she walked several blocks then took three streetcars to go to the nursery she started in Chicago.

Here she is addressing a meeting. Did I say she was formidable? Somehow I can't imagine myself looking that old. But now I can understand her drive, her need to leave the house, and her silences. I'm sure that living with my family was not easy for her.

6 thoughts on “Three quarters of a century

  1. I think there were not so many choices as we have today. This was in 1940. Women weren’t supposed to live alone, and it would have been costly. Her children were supporting her. Previously she lived with her only unmarried daughter who suddenly got a job opportunity in Minneapolis and moved. Her other daughters didn’t want her. My mother was the only daughter-in-law. I think the bargain was she kept out of my mother’s kitchen, and my mother enjoyed martyrdom.

  2. She must have struck a bargain with your family. My mother moved my grandmother into grandfather’s upstairs suite and hired her a nurse in her last years. My mother was beyond formidable, and grandma must have felt very put upon. Then again, she could hide upstairs and read or talk with the nurse who was a very nice lady. She was very brave to move there in my eyes.

  3. I certainly never thought so when I was a kid, but it was wartime and she was very concerned about the fate of the Jews in Europe. However, there is a story that went around about her: She was always fund raising for her nursery. In 1932 she went to what was then Palestine. Someone on the ship offered her $1 for each cigarette she smoked. She was a non-smoker, but she came back with $10. So she was probably more fun than we would have imagined. Certainly she was a gutsy lady.

  4. I can’t imagine you looking that old. However,I definitely am glad you and I have traveled together–I don’t thinks she’d be a hell of a lot of fun in the Arctic….

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