Born October 11, 1903, she was the oldest of 9 children, so she was "motherly" at a very young age, helping out around the house and with her younger siblings.
|My Grandmother, bottom right, circa 1905, with her parents and baby brother.|
|My grandmother, second from left in back row, circa 1915, with most of her siblings.|
|Grandma, circa 1920|
That same year, 1924, she married my grandfather and they wasted no time starting a family, but she suffered the loss of their first seven children, most all of whom were born prematurely.
Just when it looked as if she would never have a child of her own, her eighth pregnancy resulted in a full term healthy baby girl. She lost two more children to premature birth, suffered an additional two miscarriages plus lost a son at 12 years of age due to complications from Rheumatic Fever. The last child she delivered was when she was 42 years old and he was a special baby boy born with Down's Syndrome. All in all, she experienced a total of 21 pregnancies with only 9 of them producing a child to live to maturity.
|Grandma, circa 1930s|
|I love this hat she is wearing - Circa 1930s|
It was during this period of time that the family left city living and moved into farm life in the hills of Virginia. My Grandfather worked at jobs that kept him away from the home for much of the time so my Grandmother was left to raise the family and run the farm, essentially alone. During the time he was away, my grandfather stayed with his brothers and sisters in the city. He would usually come home to the farm on the weekends, gathering up what little food there was, taking it with him when he returned to his family in the city.
|My grandfather, far right, and his brother next to him, working for a logging company.|
|Grandma and a baby me, 1964. This is my most cherished photograph and it sits proudly framed on my desk at work.|
|My maternal grandparents, circa 1965.|
In the years after my grandfather's death, my grandmother remained on her farm, caring for my uncle, and became an integral part of my upbringing. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve my grandmother - joining her at the barn on those early mornings to milk the cows - which she did by hand, laying by the wood stove at night while she cut out my chosen "paper dolls" from an old Sears & Roebuck catalog, having her explain to me why Morning Glory's only bloom in the morning hours, watching her take a plain feed sack and transforming it into something wonderful - the list of memories could go on for hours.
|My Mom and Grandma, circa 1995.|
|Grandma, in her late 90s, a few years before her death in 2002.|
Happy Birthday Grandma, until we meet again, you will always remain in my heart.