Friday, July 8, 2011

B17. Grandma: Children, Grandchildren, and Random Musings

(part 8 of 8 of a series written in memory of my grandma, Ellie Irene Nance Vestal, born on the 4th of July, 1914, near Boonville, NC)
In 1986, when Grandma was 72 and I was 24 I gave her a birthday gift that I thought might help her fill her days.  It was a memories book filled with prompts for her to write about her life.  She had lived alone since Grandpa’s death in 1977, and she enjoyed writing.  I forgot about the gift, but months later she gave me a far greater gift, which has become one of my most treasured possessions, the same book, completely filled in with her memories. 
In her honor, and to share this precious gift with others who love her, I conclude here, on the date of what would have been her and Grandpa's 78th wedding anniversary, a blog series of her own memoirs in her own words: 

Grandma and Grandpa stand, surrounded by all 6 of their children.

Some important events I remember:  our first car; the first airplane to come to Elkin about 1924; the first circus also at Elkin.  They led the elephants along the road from the train to the circus area; my first airplane ride in 1928 in an open cockpit.  We wore helmets, and the noise and wind were so loud you couldn’t hear yourself talking even if you were shouting.
The event that occurred outside the family that most affected us:  Viet Nam War
Some innovations and gadgets I remember seeing for the first time:  electric lights, washers, electric irons were almost too good to be true, our first radio about 1929 when we could hear voices so far away, new roads were made of cement.  Then in 1933 Rte. 67 was paved all the way from Elkin to Winston-Salem.
Some famous and not so famous people who influenced my thinking:  my parents, older brothers and sister, school teachers, church leaders, older people in our community, my husband, his family, each of our children, grandchildren, and many friends, the life of Jesus
I have lived:  in only four houses that I remember, all in the area of Boonville.  I lived in the state of Iowa for one year when I was 2 years old.  I saw that house in 1980 when I visited my brother.  I like my house.  We built it in 1938, and I am still here.  (1986)
My favorite place to live:  Boonville, North Carolina
Because:  probably because it has always been my home, but also here we are near church, school, places to shop, not too far from the ocean and the mountains, people are nice and most are easy to get along with.
Things I would go back and change if I could:  I wish I had spent more time enjoying my family and less time worrying about other people’s opinions of my housekeeping and other things that were none of their business.
My plans for the future are:  just simple ones now.  Live as long as possible, try to be a good example to others, keep teaching Sunday School lessons to children and loving them
I have visited:  I have traveled through several states getting to places I visited.  I have been as far west as Omaha, Nebraska, east to Morehead City on the Atlantic Coast, North to Washington DC, and South to Florida.  Trips to Florida, Washington DC, and 3 trips to Iowa were very special.
I would like to go to:  the state capital at Raleigh
Because:  I was there many years ago but didn’t get to see many things for lack of enough time.  A few years ago I was back there but it was a Monday and most of the buildings were closed.
An early story I recall:  When I was little, children were told tales about where babies came from.  Some said out of the cabbage patch, some out of a hollow log.  I was told the Dr. brought them and always kept the prettiest ones for himself.  I disagree with the tales that the Dr. always kept the prettiest ones.  I know now that they were brought to our house and to our children’s houses!!  Your grandpa said we had the finest babies of anybody.  When we visited school or church we always thought ours were the best looking ones in the class.  Of course other parents thought the same thing about theirs too.
I’ll never forget:  the first time I saw each of my children and grandchildren.  To me they were so beautiful and so sweet and will always be special to me.
My children*:  Fred (1934), Frances (1936), Lowell (1939), Margie (1941), Thomas C. Jr. (1947), Becky (1955)
My grandchildren**:  Sharon (1957), Carla (1959), Cheryl (1960), Kathy (1961),  Randy (1963), Lisa (1965), Alicia (1965),  Deborah (1969), Timothy (1970), Daniel (1971), Amanda (1978), Andrew  (1980)
How I feel about being a grandmother:  After being a mother, being a grandmother is the next best thing.  I suppose we get a lot of blame for spoiling the little ones, and I guess we are guilty, for there is more time to do it in by this time.
My wish for all my grandchildren is:  that each will live a full life as a good Christian.  Always be happy in the life you choose, whether it be having a family or a career – or probably both.

*Note:  Although Grandma listed full names and birth dates, I abbreviated them here for on-line protection.
**Grandma also had 2 step-grandchildren whom she loved: Debby and Connie.


Grandma and Grandpa with 5 children, before Becky was born


Grandma in center, surrounded by all 6 adult children



Grandma surrounded by nine of her grandchildren and three of her great-grandchildren


Did you catch the other 7 posts of this series? If not, here's a link to #7, which will include links to all the others: Grandma's Kitchen

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Well now I have tears running down my cheeks - oh Kathy. Thank you for this. I'm starting with the first post and reading all 7. I too have such a book and she made one for Grace as well. I love you, dear Kathy.