Remembering

As I set out to photograph the flowers around my apartment complex, I couldn’t help remembering my grandmothers: Lela (paternal) and Marie (maternal). Both are dead now, one as recent as 2011. Seems fitting to think of them on Memorial Day. Though neither fought in a war—Memorial Day being a day to pay honor to military service people—they were soldiers nevertheless. Just not in the military.

    

In keeping with my habit of not posting family photos (I’m writing this blog under a pen name after all), I will not post photos of my grandmothers. (Sorry to disappoint.) Instead, think of the flowers I photographed as representing my grandmothers. 🙂

Now, what do I mean by soldiers? Imagine being dirt poor and having kids to raise. You fight a battle against despair every day. But you have to win this battle for the sake of your kids. Both of my grandmothers had large families—my paternal grandmother having nine children, and my maternal grandmother having fifteen. You read that right. Two of my mother’s siblings did not live to adulthood.

My grandmothers didn’t go to college. One grandmother didn’t even go to high school. But all of her children did. College too. Both grandmothers wanted their children to have a better life than they did.

    

When I was a kid, my family spent many a weekend traveling to Pontiac, Michigan, to visit my paternal grandparents, and many a summer’s day driving to see my maternal grandmother in Lake Providence, Louisiana. We never thought about the fact that my grandparents were poor. They loved us, and we loved being with them.

My paternal grandmother taught me to crochet. My maternal grandmother taught me to be generous even if I have next to nothing to give. That was how she lived.

Some people talk about antiques or trust funds passed on to them by grandparents. Neither of my grandmothers had much to leave anyone. But they left something money couldn’t buy—a legacy of resilience, faith, and unselfishness. Not to mention precious memories of time spent with them. Their personalities imprint just about every story I write (and even one that I ghostwrote under a different name).

   

This Memorial Day, I also remember the people of Manchester and the victims of the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert on May 22. My blogger friend Laura said it best in this post. She provided excerpts from a post and comments by another blogger friend, Andy, who lives in Manchester. Many of you follow his City Jackdaw blog.

Memorial Day also is a day for me to remember that I’m giving away two books.

    

Thanks to the random number generator, the winner of The World’s Greatest Detective is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Nancy Hatch!

The winner of Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L. M. Montgomery is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Jill Weatherholt!

Nancy and Jill, please comment below to confirm. If either of you would prefer an eBook to a physical copy of the book, please let me know.

Rosie Bloom is shocked to discover that the flowers she planted came up crocheted. She plans to contact the seed company to demand answers.

Photos by L. Marie. Rosie Bloom by Moose Toys.

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47 thoughts on “Remembering

  1. Your grandmothers were both heroines. And it is great that their attributes and life lessons carry on in you.
    Thank you for the link.

    • Thanks, Louise! I wasn’t sure anyone would read this post on the holiday. 🙂 Yes, I often think of my grandmothers, since I have a character in a middle grade novel that I’m querying who is like both of them.

  2. What a beautiful piece! Thank you, Linda! And we have your paternal grandmother to thank for all those lovely flowers over the years. I still wear mine on my cattle rustler’s hat, which maybe I’ll bring to Chicago next month.

  3. Lovely tribute to your grandmothers – an appropriate ‘memorial’. It brings to mind a favorite poem which starts out – “My grandmothers were strong.” (The poem, Lineage, by Margaret Walker)

    Thanks also for the link, fellow ‘Manc’!
    🙂

  4. Inheritances like yours are far more valuable than any others, L. Marie, and you truly honor them with your words here. This is such a lovely post and so evocative of other generations.
    I remember many Memorial Days, at the cemetery, with a picnic, next to railroad tracks that first brought my grandfather’s casket and remains to rest. He died long before I was born, that the idea of a funeral train somehow stays with me.
    Your grandmothers were among my favorite flowers – and the crochet lessons. It reminds me of a story about my grandmother, Yia Yia. She spoke English and could communicate well, but, one day, one of my cousins was being disrespectful to her mother. Yia Yia admonished her saying “Mary Janey, you don’t crochet your mother”! 🙂

    • Thank you, Jill. 😀
      Do you use the same email that I already have as the email you use for Amazon? If so, I’ll have the book sent via that email.

  5. I love hearing about your grandmothers. The giving, sharing out of their own scarcity. Being a mother to so many, in and out of their own space. A wonderful Memorial that inspires me.

    • Thank you, Martha. 🙂 I’ve been thinking of my grandmothers a lot lately. I miss them. I think that’s why I include so many feisty grandmothers in my books.

  6. Lovely tribute to your grandmothers! Life was indeed tough for those generations of women, but a lot of them were tough too. Sadly, I never met either of mine – both were dead before I was born. So all I know about either of them is what my parents told me, which means I know more about my mother’s mother than my father’s, since Dad wasn’t really one for passing on family stories. It’s one of the regrets of my life – I’ve always envied people who knew their grandparents. It always seems like a very special relationship.

    • Thanks, FF. Wow. So sorry you never met your grandmothers. I look at my niece and nephew who can talk to both sets of grandparents anytime they want. All of my grandparents are dead.

  7. Lovely tribute to your grandmothers . . .
    It sounds like they bloomed where they were planted!

    And Woo Hoo! I’m excited to read The World’s Greatest Detective. I’d love a physical copy of the book. You should have my address. If not, let me know. And THANKS!!!

    Sorry for the delay in seeing this post ~ we had a mini reunion for Memorial Day and on-line time has been a limited resource. By Friday, things should have returned to an even keel.

      • You figured right ~ we drove out to Colorado (2000 miles each way) to visit my mom (who lives with one of my brothers). It was a great visit, but not much time for computer stuff. We got home Thursday night and I am slowly “catching up” with posts, mail, e-mail, and piles of travel stuff.

        I look forward to reading Caroline’s book.

        Thanks so much . . . you are a generous spirit (just like your maternal grandmother, Marie)!

      • Yay! Glad it arrived. Yes, Amazon has Sunday delivery, as I discovered one day when I found a package outside my door. XD

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