This is Grandma. I don’t know when this picture was taken but I think it was about the same time as the picture of me featured in Time Heals – when I was two. My uncle, married to Grandma’s daughter, my Aunt Bernice, loved new technology and he took both pictures. He also took 16 mm moving pictures during this time.
Grandma loved to fish and she is coming back, through the woods, from fishing on Little Portage Lake. Grandma is the one in front, carrying her bait box. Following is her sister-in-law, Teal, who lived in the woods between the two lakes. Grandma had a cottage on Big Portage Lake but I never saw Little Portage Lake – I was warned never to go there. There was quick sand around it and I heard terrible stories about what would happen in quick sand.
Grandma loved me. As the song goes, “she loved me like a rock.” I was the first grandchild on that side of the family and my mother and I had lived with her for a year while my father was in the army. Grandma isn’t just mine. I had two sisters and two cousins that can lay claim to her – but they didn’t spend as much time with her and didn’t know her as well. But that doesn’t make her mine – what she gave me is mine – forever. Her love was imprinted in my brain and in my heart and reinforced throughout my growing up. Her love for me nurtured my spirit.
My grandma taught me how to do. She taught me how to use her treadle sewing machine – the kind you pump the large pedal to make the needle go up and down. She taught me how to do embroidery. I also remember her plucking a chicken and I helped with planting potatoes in the muck that made my feet and hands all black. I remember snuggling to her as she rocked me and I watched the fractured image of the telephone pole through the hand-made glass pane in the front door, as it went up and down with our rocking. I fell asleep with her in her bed as Grandpa watched Friday night boxing and then he carried me into the other bed that was oh so cold. She made me fresh beet greens with the tiny beets on them because she knew I liked them. And she made me bread with butter and sugar, cut in thin strips that were fun to eat. That was really special.
Grandma has been dead a long time. But the experiences I had with her became who I am and the memories I have are mine.
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