7/21/2009 - Mary Johnston
I spent Saturday with my mother, sister, niece and aunt as we traveled to visit my great-aunt who lives in a care facility in Hannibal, Mo.--boyhood home of Mark Twain. Four generations of women discussing the news of the day including the humor and heartache of family matters.
When I see my great-aunt, I think of my grandmother, her sister, who died ten years ago. Grandma was a strong and complicated woman. She had the best laugh ever--loud and infectious, sometimes resulting in a snort that embarrassed her. She expressed scathing judgments especially against unfaithful husbands. And she carried fears that occasionally erupted into anger triggered by sources, some more obvious than others, such as the thought of nuclear war and the metric system.
She admired Jimmy Carter for being a “good Christian man” but firmly believed that a Christian couldn’t run the country. She was best friends with Julie, the only African-American woman of her generation in our small town (Grandma was white), which impressed me as a child. She had an openly conflictual relationship with my grandfather that made me cringe. Yet she had a fierce love for her family including him. Finally, she fought for her independence until the day she died, sometimes leaving casualties in her wake.
All this comes flooding back when I see our little band of women driving south on Highway 218 toward Hannibal and owing our existence to my grandmother, a complex woman who we will never fully understand.
|4 Comments From Other Members
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||Suzanne Caplan from PA wrote:
I just loved what you wrote today, I can relate. My mother died at 95 and was quite like the strong ladies of her time. I spent the last 18 months standing guard with my sister and my niece and we are vastly different women. Being a woman is a complicated set of wirings....some of these connects, men simply do not have. Oh, how I would love to just write about this topic....in life and in business etcetera!
||Dorothy Sander from Durham NC wrote:
What a gift! To see your lineage unfold and connect you all through time. I never knew either of my grandmothers and I can see how much strength one could impart just in the knowledge and awareness of where you came from and where the women in your family might be going. A beautiful blog. Thank you for making me smile and warming my heart.
||LeAnn Farley from Mt. Pleasant IA wrote:
Great blog, Mary. Everyone should have such a grandmother. And this little road trip might be one of those experiences that stays in your memory for a long time.
|| from wrote:
Great blog, Mary. I wish my grandmothers were still alive.
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