For Momma - Memorial Slide Show (Turn Playlist Music off before watching)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Tribute to Women - Carnival of Genealogy

In keeping with the month of March being National Women's History Month, and March 8th being International Women's Day, the topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will once again be: A Tribute to Women. Write a tribute to a woman on your family tree, a friend, a neighbor, or a historical female figure who has done something to impact your life. Or instead of writing, consider sharing a photo biography of one woman's life. Or create a scrapbook page dedicated to a woman you'd like to honor. The next edition will be hosted at Creative Gene. The deadline for submissions is March 15th.

My life has been enriched by five women each in their own way. My father was in the Air Force the first 10 years of my life, so traveling to grandma's house when we were "on leave" was very special. The three day road trip from Massachusetts to Nebraska was excruciating. Traveling in the late 1950's, in a car, in July, with no air conditioning was no picnic for any of us. And I'm sure us kids continually asking "how many more miles" had to drive my poor Dad crazy. We knew we had arrived when we heard the sound of the gravel road against the tires. Those last few miles were the longest of the entire trip - I can still feel the excitement building in my heart as we would turn into grandma's driveway. Oh my...... Grandma and grandpa would be so happy that we arrived safely and to finally see us after a year apart. My grandma was the best hugger in the world, her beautiful smile would light up her entire face, her blue eyes would twinkle as if there were stars shining in them. Oh how I long to see that beautiful smile again.

One of my favorite times of our visit was bed time, because it was our custom that I slept with my grandma - now she was all mine. She would tell me stories and listen to mine. She would sneak little words of wisdom into those stories that I can still remember. And when I grew up we had many conversation that gave me insight into life that I know I would not have gained without her. Grandma worked side by side with my grandfather in the fields, raised six beautiful children and was very involved in her community. In her retirement years she ran the local library and put together the activities surrounding the book mobile in her community. In spite of dealing with loosing her mother at the age of 2, the pains of the depression, two world wars, the black blizzard and sending her oldest son to war, her faith grew stronger and she relied on that faith to provide better days ahead. In spite of her own pain and grief when my grandfather died, just 4 days before I was to be married, she set that aside for the moment, to be with me in celebration. She was a strong woman and generous with her love and affection - almost to a fault.

Grandma & Me in 1974

What can I say about my Momma - she is my rock, my anchor in the storm - she is the one I turn to for comfort when I'm lost or sad. She is the one who shares my triumphs and joy. The one who never fails to cheer me on and the one who reminds me to go to the dentist - ha ha (That's one of a mom's responsibilities.) Mom grew up in the '20's and '30's and as the oldest daughter in a family of eight it was her job to take care of her younger sisters. She would keep my aunties busy, having them dancing and singing to her. Saturday night before church she would wrap their hair into candles to make long ringlets, similar to Shirley Temples, so that they looked their best for church in the morning. When she completed the 8th grade her father felt that she had had enough education and was needed at home, but she was determined to go to high school. He finally consented, but she had to find a way to get there on her own. Her determination helped her find ways to accomplish her desire. Not having the $1.00 it cost per week to ride the bus she would hitch a ride with the mailman. But, when the mailman said he was not allowed to give her a ride anymore, she boarded with one of the school teachers where she washed dishes for the other boarders before going to school. I think that was when she adopted the attitude of "where there's a will - there's a way". She married my Dad in 1942. They spent the first few years of their marriage apart. Then when they were finally able to be together she followed him from one Air Force Base to the next until 1962 when my Dad retired from the Air Force. In spite of working a full time job she still found the time to sew all of my clothes as well as her own, was a Cub Scout Leader, attended all of our school programs and played the organ for Church. I know I may be partial, but she is an incredible woman. At 87 she still drives, takes care of my Dad and still worries over her children. How do I express the full impact that she has had and continues to have on my life I'm not sure I could find all the words, but, to be blessed with this woman as my Mother is something I thank God for every day.

Mom and her brothers going to school with the pony cart.

My Moma

The next 3 women that influenced my life were my Mom's sisters. Oh sure sisters always have their little squabbles but I've never seen four sisters who were closer than my Mom and my Aunties. From taking care of each other's children to standing vigil at a sick bed - they are always there for each other. None of them ever wait to be asked for help they just say what can I do. Each one of them have influenced me and probably never realized how or that they did. Some of my memories are silly ones. I remember when my Aunt Lee came to Nebraska for a visit when I was 4 years old. She had all this white luggage and beautiful blond hair, she really was a vision. I was just sure that she was really Marilyn Monroe - oh my......... My Aunt Mickie liked to spoil me. She knew at 3 years old that I loved to talk on the telephone - so she would walk to a pay phone to call me - just so I could talk on the phone. She would let me wear her earrings and save all of her almost empty perfume bottles so I could have them. These three woman are so extraordinary - always willing to listen, to give advise and to love. They faced life fearlessly and met every challenge that was put before them. From managing the entire appointment system for Fitzimmons Army Hospital to going to her sons baseball games my Aunt Marji taught me that you just put one foot in front of the other to accomplish the task at hand.
From my Aunt Lee I learned that no matter what life hands you in the way of sorrow that there is always a brighter tomorrow. And from my Aunt Mickie I learned of how the little things you do really become the big things in life.

Marji, Mickie, Lucille, Me and Lee - 1994

So to the five most influential woman in my life I salute you and thank you for all you have shared in my life..............


  1. Wow, what a fantastic tribute. It makes a person want to be part of your family. A wonderful and inspiring post!

  2. What a wonderful way to honor the women you love. Thanks for sharing - I feel like I really know them!

  3. Great post,Terri,about some great people!

  4. Beautiful story about the most very important and significant women in your life Terri, my favorite photo is the one of you bending over and kissing your Grandma. Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories, they touched my heart.



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