I wish she was here…

March 8, 2008 at 1:54 PM (Uncategorized)

My paternal great grandomther.

A lively blond child, brightening up the usual still, grim 19th century photograph.

A young married woman, in the jungle with china and mosquito netting, understanding how little control she had when men began drinking. Who had an admirer, who would rather admire than imbibe. But she was married, it was impossible, impossible. So, they had moments of peace in the moonlight with no caress exchanged no improper words spoken.

In Florida, on a farm, with little talent for farming….discovering what strength she had at a terrible price, as her first son died in a dreadful machinery accident.

In ’30 when her husband had headed back to Illinois to sell shoes…and she headed north with her children. He would pass away in 1950. My understanding is that they had always remained apart.

In ’35 when her eldest daughter Jean married…did she know Bob was a bad sort, who would simply ignore his wife and find another in New York City when the war ended?

(“Mommy, why isn’t there any Mr. Patterson for Dad’s Aunt Jean?” I said at six.

“He left her.” Mom said, as usuall, straightforward, but sad.)

The family mood trouble came down from my great grandfather, and made Aunt Jean’s life even tougher, and hurt her younger sister too…

“Mrs. Mac” was a teacher and guidance counselor from the thirties until 1967 retiring from that at age 79. When she was 90 decades of students came to pay respect.

In the 1950’s she helped her son raise his three children, when their mother died.

She always felt all of us were partially her responsibility, even down to great grandchildren….I wonder if that was one of the reasons she carefuly and politely declined to keep company with that long ago admirer when they were both free to do so, and he sent a letter.

From 1931, she lived 36 years as her own mainstay and another 23 with help from her eldest daughter.

My great grandmother was, paradoxically a force for good in this world, and at the same time demanding, or intense, sometimes difficult to live with. Her eldest Jean, no stranger to paying terrible prices went into a depression when her mother died and never recovered from it

I need my great grandmother’s advice. I need to figure out the emotional side of how to do this. How to understand that going it alone is my present and future situation and by God, I have to handle it.

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