Weekly Photo Challenge: Hands

This is my hand holding my Great-Grandmom’s hand.

By the time I was born, she was already 71. She had already lived a full life and had been retired. She’d be a widow a year later and I only knew her to be one. She would take me to bingo and we would play board games. She’d teach me things about cooking and tried to teach me to crochet. She was one of my favorite people and her hands always fascinated me, even the way she twiddled her thumbs.

Her hands had what she called “liver spots”, though most of us know them as age spots. She had been an avid gardener all of her adult life, so it was likely sun inspired damage. After she ate, I remember how she’d sweep her fingers over the table to gather any crumbs. Her fingers were strong and crooked and her fingernail and tips were oval. I just remember always thinking how unique they were. They weren’t thin and ladylike, though her movements were not harsh; they were the result of lifelong hard work.

I took this picture one morning when I sat alone with her before she passed. She was unable to speak, but she knew I was there as she squeezed my hand in response to my words. I knew I’d never forget her hands, but still I was afraid that I might. I haven’t forgotten, though it’s only been two and half years, but I like to know that I have a picture of one to remind me.

She would’ve been 100 this week. Happy birthday Grandmom.

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One Hundred Years Was Not That Long Ago

As we approach the on 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, I think to myself how recent it was, but just how different life was; or was it?

My great-Grandmom was born in 1912, one month after the sinking and she only passed away two years ago.  Her little sister is still kickin’ at ninety-eight and there are several people alive today that are well over one hundred now.  Think about the transitions they’ve made in life.  We laugh about teased hair from the 80’s and disco music at Studio 54 but this older generation changed fashion, music and pretty much everything life had to offer, repeatedly.

It wasn’t that long ago that women wore corsets, couldn’t vote and got picked up for a date in a Model T.  Most people who served in WWII were born about ten years after the Titanic sank, and just like that generation, soon they will be gone as well.  We only just lost the last WWI soldier in the last year.

It put it in perspective for me when our little town newspaper mentioned that a Titanic survivor lived a couple little towns over.  He was the head barber for the White Star Line, who operated the Titanic.  The man journeyed over seven hundred times on transatlantic ships and nearly perished that night in the cold waters of the Atlantic.  The article touts him a hero, who assisted the crew as they tried to get as many as they could to safety in the few lifeboats available.  He was eventually swept off the ships edge when it split in two and after clinging to dining chairs in the water, Continue reading

Little Old Soul or Burden to Elderly Society?

I thought I was a pretty normal kid.  I was the first of my generation on my Mom’s side.  I was the only kid for the first six years across the board.  I also grew up without many kids around in my neighborhood and by the time they were there, I was still the only girl.  I’d like to think I’m an old soul, well, because I feel like I am.  Part of me also wonders if it’s because my favorite people and maybe my best friends during those years, were my Mom and my Grandmoms.  I had three of the later, “two regulars and a great” I’d always say.

I never lacked a childhood.  I played games, had toys and knew the basics, Sesame Street and Smurfs.  It might be kind of odd that a lot of my favorite toys can be found at antique stores, but they were obviously both amusing and made well, so who am I to question that.  Mister Rogers was one of my icons, still is, and I get teased for wearing a Mr. Rogers sweater on occasion to this day.  They are so versatile.  But honestly, I’m not weird.  It’s not like I go to a public park bench and start singing while I change my shoes or anything.

It has recently come to my attention however, that some of my regular childhood memories are not so regular for children of the 80’s.  Well, maybe child-like people IN their 80’s, but I was born in the early 1980’s.  Apparently there’s a difference?  Here is a sampling.

  • Lunch dates at Wanamaker’s with patent leather purses and hats
  • Bingo with the Widow/Widowers at the Senior Center
  • Lawrence Welk sing-a-longs with Gram (The real show, not the SNL parodies – which are excellent by the way)
  • Carol Burnett repeats on PBS
  • Anne of Green Gables and/or Romance Novels (Yes, I realize this was quite varied)
  • Senior citizen bus trips to anywhere and everywhere
  • Sewing and crocheting lessons during 2nd grade summer

Ok, so either I was ancient, or I was often taken to places I wasn’t supposed to be.  Making this list makes me wonder if I was ever a burden to elderly population, but I made such good friends with every old lady I met that I was always invited back.  There was one lady named Dolly, I thought she was the greatest because well, her name was Dolly.

Anyway, there is something proper about a little girl with her tea cup and saucer, legs crossed while she listens to her elders talk.  I don’t remember ever feeling like a kid.  Maybe it’s because no one spoke to me like I was one, but in fact they treated me like a little lady.