Friday, December 12, 2008

My Encourager

Ellen Collins born October 24th, l886 - Parents - Sarah Jane Collins and William Nealy Collins
Married - William Lee Nolen - October 18, 1908 - Parents - William Nolen Sr. and Rebecca Jane
My maternal grandmother "Ma." I believe I was the only grandchild that called her this.
I reach out in love to her with all my heart - this early morning. I reach out with a child and grown woman's heart. Oh how she would have loved my children and grandchildren.
She was left a widow in her early 30s and had 6 children. She moved from her home and built a smaller one (maybe where some of my creative energy comes from). She never drove a car, had a washing machine, central air and heat, and so many items we have in our homes now that we take for granted.
Will not go into all of the stories. She passed away at the age of 81. I cannot think of her without my eyes filling with tears and a deep sense of gratitude for all of the encouragement and love she gave me through her lifetime. I do not remember ever receiving a written card from her (or I would have saved it) or a gift. But she gave me the best gift of all "love".

She loved me in a way that no one else has ever loved me. My parents were young. Mother 17 years old when she married. Now that is a child in my eyes. As I grew older and more mature (which took a while) I realized that I expected something in my childhood that was just not there.
I spent my happiest times with this grandmother. There was always encouragment. My parents relocated to Detroit to work when I was a toddler. I was raised in apartments and my grandmother would come to Detroit and take me home with her. Also when my parents went to Nashville during the summer they would sometimes leave me with my grandmother. I can remember running and hiding at departing time as I did not want to go home with my parents. I wanted to stay with my grandmother. What wonderful memories. Times at my aunts homes, family gatherings and just sitting on her porch on the swing. Memories of home made ice cream, playing under sprinkler, her starching my dresses until they could stand in the corner and no way could we miss church on Sunday morning and Sunday night and on Wednesday night. I can remember walking to the church in the sweltering heat and everyone fanning themselves with paper fans.
I remember night sounds, her brushing my hair, the ice cream man going by in front of the house, a man going by with a horse drawn cart selling vegetables and even chickens. I always wanted a bike but because of living in the busy city I never had one. But when visiting "ma"
my cousin would bring his over. I would ride and ride until my hearts content.
On these visits I would also spend time with my maternal grandmother. She loved me but it was not the same as with Ma. It might have been because there was just the two of us in her home and she could focus on me completely.
It does not sound like enough to just say she loved this skinny little girl and made me feel bright and pretty and just plain wonderful. So many wonderful memories from my childhood visits with her.
Since I lived in an apartment it seemed at that time like her white cottage surrounded by hedge with big trees in the yard was a mansion.
In the past I drove by and could not believe my eyes. I viewed this very small home, hedge and trees no longer there and it looked so small, simple and plain.
My other grandmother lived in the country. I remember times of enjoying the peacefulness, picking blackberries and being covered with chiggers, my grandfathers cows and on and on. Maybe this is one of the reasons I am drawn to nature. I did not have it while growing up and always longed for it and came alive when I would see my grandmother's flower gardens.
I can remember continually dreaming of green fields, trees in the woods and animals and sometimes a pond or creek.
So these dreams have been fulfilled throughout my lifetime. I am so very thankful for this.

Some more memories from this One Woman on Her Journey Through Life

10 comments:

Mim said...

Lovely sentiments to your grandmothers.
And nice you can have Cmas eve with your family.
How will Cmas day be for you?
Mim

One Woman's Journey said...

Mim, on Christmas day I will ride with my son to my youngest daughters home to see what Santa brought my two little granddaughters. It will be a full day - but so different from years in the past. It will be the way it should be at this time in my life.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

She was so beautiful, just like you! I will show her picture to the girls. I will always remember your stories of her and how fond you were of her, and she of you. :)

kenju said...

She was very pretty! I love reading your stories.

Beverly said...

I too have fond memories of my grandmother, Mama Gooch. I lived with her from the time I was five. I know she lives on in me....my mother too.

Tabor said...

She has a lovely peacefulness in her face. You are so lucky to have such a nice memory and it makes me want to be a giving and understanding grandma to my little ones even more.

One Woman's Journey said...

Kenju, thank you. I am documenting these memories for my grandchildren. My children have heard them until they may be bored. Beverly, relationships are special with our grandmothers. Tabor, oh yes these young years are so important. I have found that when they are young I am so important. Then as they grow older hopefully we have a special relationship with one of these grandchildren. You are on the right track.

Judy said...

I think you look like her in your pictures. I never knew my grandmothers but I hope TW feels this way about me someday. What a wonderful tribute.

Irena said...

Wow! She's beautiful! You really so like! It's so good when we have old images of our relatives....

Wenda said...

What a beauty she was inside and out, it seems. I'm glad you had her and her love.

I'm sorry about your loss of your sister. Thanks so much for stopping to offer your condolences on the death of my brother.