My grandmother was the strongest woman I have ever known. She was raised in rural Mississippi, the daughter of a postman and a seamstress.
As a young woman, she left home to go to business school in Detroit-not a common practice for girls in 1935! She then got a job at Sears Roebucks in Memphis, keeping books.
It was here that she met my grandfather. She caught his eye, and he had her transferred to his department without her knowing. (Romantic, huh?) They married after Sunday School one morning ("Weddings weren't such a to-do then like they are today" she told me.)
As a young mother, she had three daughters under the age of four when my grandfather left to go to war. My grandmother didn't know how to drive, but there was a brand new car sitting in the driveway, so she taught herself how to drive it by driving down the long driveway to get the mail everyday. She didn't know how to back up or turn around, so she would go around the block to get back!
When I was very small, my grandfather got sick. My grandmother rolled up her sleeves and nursed him until he died, leaving her a young widow at the age of 56.
I was always very close to my Memo. I spent a large part of every summer with her. She taught me how to cook and how to sew. She taught me to love my family history. She shared with me her love of reading.
The only thing my Memo would not do was fly. Once, during a very rough flight to visit us when we lived in Texas, she made a deal with God. If he would get her feet firmly back on the earth, she would never get back on an airplane. God kept his end of the bargain, and so did she!
Memo always had her feet planted firmly... both on the ground and in her faith in God. I am so lucky that my children all got to know and spend time with this amazing woman! She loved all of us so much and she especially loved her great-grandbabies!
One time when Christian was about three years old he got in trouble for something and I fussed at him. Memo looked him squarely in the eye and asked him if she should spank me. (He of course said yes!)
Like most people of her generation, she didn't think that anything she had done was noteworthy or particularly important. She just did what she had to do. And isn't that mindset what made them the "greatest generation?"
I will miss her very much.