Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Grandma's wedding band....

My condolences to Myron this week in the recent death of his grandmother.

It made me think about my grandmother who passed away when I was 14 years old. She was the first person close to me to die. My mom was the youngest of 10 children so I was one of the youngest grandchildren. My grandma had lived into her 80s and had seen many changes in her lifetime.

Grandma lost her wedding ring when she was in her 60s. My mom bought her a replacement. I was an infant at the time but Grandma said that when she passed on she wanted me to have that wedding band.

Today, I wear her thin gold wedding ring along with my own as a reminder of the hardy mountain people I came from ... the Appalachian Scots-Irish blood that made up my heritage ... a reminder of the hard-working woman who had a hard life but always persevered, did not complain, and did not look to others to bail her family out of the povery of the depression. She and my grandfather took it upon themselves to do something about it.

My grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her father was a wealthy man for that area, a store owner who provided well for his family, and was well known and respected in the community.

My grandmother married a Virginia man from across the state line. He, too, was born and raised in the Blue Ridge mountains in a log cabin on a "knob" in Grayson County. "The Knob," as we have known it all our lives, still has the remains of that cabin which is in remarkably good shape after standing for 150 years.

After marrying, my grandparents moved to a mountainside farm, plowing the rocky mountain soil and raising some livestock. It was a rough life especially with a growing brood of children, living in a rough-hewn cabin. The country was in the depths of the depression. My grandfather, who had been beyond the mountains while serving in World War I, loaded his family on a train bound for Richmond where they settled down and he went to work at one of the large factories. He never gave up farming ... even into his 80s he had a huge garden and some cows and horses.

My grandparents were examples of the pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps fortitude. Their youngest child, my mother, went into business in a man's world, set goals, and achieved much recognition. She passed that work ethic down to my two sisters and me.

And that is why I wear my grandmother's wedding ring. It's a reminder of the hard work and perseverence of my grandparents.

1 comment:

Phil said...

That is a great story. It is real Americana.