Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stories from my grandma.

Yesterday over a shared basket of hot French fries, my grandma told me a dozen stories of the hilarious and inspirational mother she was in the 1950's. Of course, she didn't say "Aren't I so funny and Influential?" - I just came to that conclusion myself.

My grandma and grandpa - who we called Papa - eloped when my grandma was only 17. After graduating with a degree in education (both my grandma and Papa), they moved to New Mexico. When my grandma was 23 she became pregnant with her first child - my father. She wanted to go visit her parents for Mother' s Day, but the doctor advised her that it wouldn't be a good idea to drive that far. So her parents and older brother drove to New Mexico to visit her. She told me she spent the entire morning baking a hummingbird cake for her mother, which I think sets the tone for the kind of woman she was and is.

While my grandma was pregnant with her third child - her first daughter - she and Papa got into an argument. To "get back" at my grandpa, my grandma snuck into his chewing tabacco and filled her lip with the tobacco and retreated to the swing in the backyard. Moments later, she was throwing up all over the grass. My grandpa came out to help her, but couldn't help laughing, which I think says a lot about my late grandpa and their sweet marriage.

My grandma and grandpa raised four children in a tiny town in the Midwest. My grandfather was the superintendent of the school district, and my grandma was a kindergarten teacher. Together, they also ran a drive-in restaurant. Yesterday my grandma told me that every morning she would wake up and make six pies for the restaurant - "pecan, cherry, and coconut" were a few she recalled - get the kids ready for school and then go to the elementary school and teach until 1. After school, she would work in the drive-in until suppertime, when she would go home and make dinner for their family of six.

Which I think sets the bar pretty high for being a great mother and worker. (My own mother has set that bar pretty high, too!)

So that was my Wednesday. Sitting in a little diner listening to stories about my grandma and her adventures in baking and motherhood.

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