On this Mother’s Day I want to honor five generations of women. Each with a legacy of her own. My great grandmother died in 1897 at the young age of twenty-nine. Her surviving husband dispersed four of their five children amongst aunts and uncles. My grandmother, May, their fifth child, was only five years old and was separated from her siblings and raised by her grandmother.
The story has been told that my grandmother was not treated very warmly by her grandmother, and she was only able to complete the third grade. She eventually married, had eight children, worked diligently both at home and as a seamstress at a local shirt factory. I didn’t know this about my grandmother when she was alive, but I had never asked. And perhaps I never knew because she didn’t let obstacles stop her and she just persevered. My cousin, Debbie, remembers Grandma telling her that she missed out on learning and stressed the importance of education. Despite the lack of schooling she was able to teach herself. She loved English and words.
My mother was the sixth child out of eight. She was born into this hardworking financially struggling family and raised during the Great Depression. She grew up with little and had a physical obstacle in her life but she persevered. She was the first child in her family to complete high school, and she too loved to learn. She married and chose to be a stay-at-home mom with four sons and one daughter. She encouraged reading as she was an avid reader, loved words and literally studied the dictionary to play Scrabble.
I am the fifth child, the only daughter. Compared to the first three generations, my childhood was considerably easier as my parents didn’t need to worry as much about food on the table and clothes on our backs. I completed high school and attended college but did not complete my education which to this day I regret. In my lifetime I survived life threatening brain surgery, dealt with infertility, and in time was blessed with three children. I eventually became a single mother, juggling full-time work and young children. But as my mother and grandmother did, I persevered and let none of my obstacles stop me. As a child, I loved reading and had a passion for writing. Since I was a little girl I wrote stories and as a teenager wrote for my high school newspaper and have continued writing since then. With my writings, I can share with my future descendants how coming from a strong line of women has enabled me to become a stronger woman. Today I am happily remarried, my children are grown, and I continue working and writing.
My daughter is the oldest child with two younger brothers. She is the fifth generation in this line of women and has already begun to put her mark on the world. She has always been an outgoing, assertive, young woman with goals and ambition. She successfully completed her college education and is currently a first grade teacher and has touched many young lives. She also loves to read and teaches first graders to read not only for educational purposes but for enjoyment. All of these grandmothers, who were born in 1868, 1892, and 1928 (two of whom she never met) influenced my daughter’s life. I am proud to have been in this line of women.
Are you able to compile the lineage of your ancestors and what they persevered? What memories and/or pictures do you have of your grandmothers/grandfathers? Now is the time to pull out your laptop or grab a pen and paper and start Keeping Your Memories of your lineage and how each generation had a part in your life.