Monday, May 9, 2016

A Strong Legacy





Although Mother's Day here in the United States is over, I wanted to share this tribute to my mother and grandmothers. This was a guest post on the Coffeehouse for Writers' blog a while back; I hope you don't mind if I share it with you here.

I'm guest posting at Tyrean Martinson's blog for her 5 Reasons to Write series, so if you have a minute, please hop over and see us! 

A Legacy of Strong Women 

When I reflect on how I became the woman I am today, I think of the women who were most influential in my life. These women were there from the beginning, from my infancy through high school, marriage, and beyond. They demonstrated class and style to my sisters and me as they loved, lived, and overcame obstacles.

Edith Pearl, my paternal grandmother, surrounded us with the kind of attention and love us girls relished. I remember fondly time spent at her home, when my sister, cousin, and I got to dress up in Grandma’s clothes and fancy shoes. She arranged our hair, bought us pretty dresses, and played Canasta with us. With her encouragement, we tried new and exotic foods. Imagine the giggles that ensued when she introduced us to the pu-pu tray at a Hawaiian restaurant. When she and Grandad traveled, they brought us gifts, among them pearls from Majorca (which I still have and wear). She gave us the gift of knowing we were treasured and special. 

Caroline Alicia, my maternal grandmother, wasn’t afraid to try new things. Someone told her that she wasn’t smart enough to learn to sew. What did Caroline do? She took a class and became the best seamstress around. My sisters and I would spend part of summer vacation with Grandma and Grandpa. Though this city-fied girl wasn’t keen on weeding their huge garden, she did learn a few things about hard work. How much did groceries cost in the summer of ’73? I don’t recall, but I do remember Grandma’s ability to stretch a dollar and make good meals. Time with Grandma also included games – Scrabble, Canasta, and one of her favorites, Rack-o. Even my children now think of her when the Rack-o game comes out. Caroline’s loving, caring and can-do attitude lives on. I often pause and wonder how she would handle a situation – sewing, gardening, family, or otherwise.

After I had my three children I told my mother, Linda Rae, that I owed her a million dollars. I take that back. There isn’t enough money on the planet to pay her back for all she did for us. In addition to the sacrifices she made for my three sisters and me, she was the best cheerleader a girl could ever have. As a slightly chubby preteen, she dried my tears in the dressing room at the clothing store, telling me “You just have broad shoulders like your father.” She’d make every effort to find something flattering and suitable for the occasion. 


My sister Wendy and me. I'm the one driving. :)
While she couldn’t instantly remedy my figure, Mom helped make me feel valued and pretty. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that it occurred to me that my shoulders might not be so broad. No matter, Mom’s sentiment still makes me smile. She cheered me on through marriage and motherhood lending savvy, not meddlesome advice. I think of her every day.

These dear ladies each hold a special place in my heart. They taught me to nourish the inner beauty and let special qualities shine, to learn and push through challenges, and to cherish and love unconditionally. Their legacies live on through memories and the generations of strong women they left behind. I miss them all.

Don't forget to visit Tyrean's blog if you have a minute. Thank you! :)

What women were influential in your life?

 Happy writing, 
Karen






Photo credit: Stock Exchange

29 comments :

  1. So great how your grandmothers and mom had so much influence on you and that you have so many memories with them. I'll try to stop by Tyrean's later. Your post isn't up yet.

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  2. You had some really amazing women in your life.

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  3. Natalie,
    It was a blessing to have these women in my life. Thanks for checking out the post at Tyrean's. She's on the west coast, so I'm sure it will be up in a bit. :)

    Alex,
    I did! It was a huge blessing. Lots of good memories. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  4. Such a loving tribute to the strong, yet gentle, women in your life. Love the photo of you and your sister.

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  5. Hi Karen - it's seeing and noting the positive side of life ... that helps us through - and your grandmothers and mother .. seem so delightful ... and what a way to grow up - I loved reading this tribute to them ... cheers Hilary

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  6. Donna,
    Thank you! I was blessed to have them. :) Glad you enjoyed the photo. My cousin came across them recently as they were in storage.

    Hilary,
    You are so right. It's not ever all perfect, but being positive and looking for the blessings really help on the journey. :) Thanks so much!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  7. Beautiful tribute to these women Karen. And also shows how playing board and card games together as a family bonds and creates forever memories!

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  8. Oh, Karen, what a lovely tribute to these wonderful women in your life. I'm sure you've passed their life lessons onto your own children. Aren't moms just the best! Miss mine every day. Hugs and belated Happy Mother's Day!

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  9. Hi Karen! It's wonderful to have such great memories of your grandparents, you spent quite a bit of time with them! I do remember mine, but our relationship was really more formal. We'd go over for dinners and holidays, but the adults talked together more than interacting with the kids.
    I had a wonderful text session with my three sisters yesterday swapping memories about my mom. She's been gone five years now, but her legacy is very strong in us. She was smart as a whip, and never settled if she thought she was right. I think we are all a little like that!
    I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day Karen,
    Ceil

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  10. Happy Mothers' Day, Karen! I enjoyed your reminisce about your mother and grandmothers. We do owe the world to our mothers, don't we? I'm off to check out your other post on Tyrean's blog. All the best, my dear!

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  11. LOL - you weren't wearing those shirts with the padded shoulders then, were you?

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  12. We have so much to thank our mothers and grandmothers for. Glad you took the time to do that here. I saw the post Tyrean's!

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  13. Lynn,
    Thank you! We owe much to the women who went before us, don't we? :) Board games have quite the legacy in our family.

    Susan,
    Thanks so much! :) I do hope I've passed on much of this to my kids. :) Yes, moms are the best!

    Ceil,
    I do have great memories, and for that I am thankful. :) Sorry about your mom, so glad you have sisters to reminisce with.

    Victoria,
    Thank you! Hope you had a good Mother's Day too. We have much to be thankful for with the strong women in our lives. :)

    Diane,
    No, no shoulder pads, lol. Just those awkward in between years, you know? :)

    Lee,
    We do, that's for sure! Thanks for checking out the post. I think it will be up soon. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  14. Sweet tribute to the matriarchs in your family. Love that photo.

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  15. What a lovely tribute to the women who shaped you, Karen. We played a lot of Canasta when I was a girl, too! Fun memories!

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  16. Linda,
    Thank you! They were all very special. :) I like the photo too, and I'm loving the wallpaper in the background! lol

    Jen,
    Thanks so much. :) I agree, fun memories. Now I need to Google the rules for Canasta. Haven't played in ages! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  17. Such a lovely post for these special women who touched your mind and heart. It's interesting to read background info on fellow bloggers.

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  18. Loving, wise, supportive mothers like yours and mine are truly priceless. :-)

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  19. I'm so thankful for my Mom and that she's still with me. :)

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  20. Luckily both my mom's are still with me but I do miss my maternal grandmother, aka Mimi, who used to take me out to lunch, put rag girls in my hair, and let me eat dog biscuits (altho I really don't understand why I wanted one since they were soooo blah). She was the best and died much too young.

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  21. Medeia,
    Thank you! Glad you enjoyed learning part of where I came from. :)

    Yvonne,
    Thanks so much! Appreciate you stopping by! :)

    Roland,
    They really are, aren't they? Whatever would we have done without them?

    Susan,
    You are blessed indeed! :) She is a treasure.

    MS,
    So sorry about your grandma. It's hard to lose one so close like that. Glad you have good memories, even if they include dog biscuits. lol :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  22. Such a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing, Karen. It warmed my heart. I debated putting my Mother's Day tribute up today, but I pretty much told the women in my life how much I care about them via texts and posts already. Regardless, I come from a line of fabulous women and I'm so grateful for each and every one of them.

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  23. Brought tears to my eyes. Her mother sounds like a lovely woman. Thank you for the glimpse into just how special she was.

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  24. Crystal,
    Thank you! So glad you still have your fabulous women around to talk to! They enrich our lives in so many way, don't they? :)

    Joylene,
    Aww, you're so sweet. It brings tears to my eyes too, as all of them are gone now. I do miss them. Thanks so much. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  25. Thank you for visiting with me at my blog, Karen!
    I love this post about your grandmothers and your mother. It's so beautiful!
    My grandma Pearl Leta Schneider, let me dress up in her fancy dress gloves and hats, and she let me cook in her kitchen, encouraging me but never lifting a spoon to correct any ingredients, which might or might not work. :) My grandma Hazel Gillespie didn't live long enough for me to share enough memories with her, but I remember the way she smiled and the way she always had a drawer full of toys in her kitchen just for my cousins and me. And, my mom has encouraged my creativity and has always helped me view the world in a different way. :)

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  26. Tyrean,
    You are welcome. It's my pleasure! :) Sounds like you have/had some wonderful women who influenced your life too. We are blessed, aren't we?
    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  27. What a beautiful post and tribute to the women who came before you. :) My grandmother was one of the people who has had the greatest impact on my life. She taught me so much! Lucky to have such great memories with her. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Jess, thanks so much! Sounds like your grandmother was a wonderful treasure. You are blessed! :)

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!