“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


Grandma's Smile

Sunday, September 25, 2005

In yesterday's "Friday Family Photo" (on Saturday), I posted a picture of my Grandma. Afterwards, I started wondering why it is that I like that photo so much. I've always loved it, but I've never spent much time thinking about it, so I know that it wasn't for any particularly deep reason. Here are a few reasons why I think I like it:

1) I love my Grandma dearly, so pictures of her make me happy.
2) There aren't many photos of her at this time of her life. I've seen a few baby pictures and many pictures of her as Grandma, but there are hardly any photos of her (that I've seen anyway) in the time from her pre-teen years through her motherhood years.
3) I've always been fascinated by what older people looked like when they were young.
4) Family members say I look like her in this photo.

After looking more closely than before, I decided that there is another reason - a bit deeper than I had considered before - that I love this photo.

It's true to her character.

This photo truly expresses who my Grandma was. She had a terrifying childhood which tainted the rest of her life, yet in the midst of her life-long battle against depression she exhibited pure childlike joy. When I look at her eyes in this photo, I can see peace shining through the weight of the worries and troubles of her first 18 years. When I look at her smile in this photo, I see that childlike innocence that she kept all her life.

This was a woman who could have let grief and terror overtake her life. There was a time when she lost her grip and slipped into depression, but she eventually overcame it. That childlike joy and the peace of knowing she was the daughter of a loving God carried her through.

Because of this joy and peace, she was able to delight in her grandchildren, of which I count myself privileged to be one. Some of my most cherished memories of Grandma include laying next to her on the back porch laughing at the cloud formations as we watched puffy, white bunny rabbits and puppy dogs pass above us; waking up on Easter morning to Grandma's voice giggling above me, giddy with childish glee over the funny Easter bunny whiskers she had affixed to her face and the home-made bunny ears she had attached to her head; spending long summer nights playing Dominoes, Sorry, Uno, or any other of the multitude of games in her closet until we simply couldn't stay awake anymore. Times with Grandma may have been peppered with tears, but they were overflowing with pure, jubilant laughter.

This is the Grandma that I remember and always will; and this photo, though it was taken long before I ever knew her, embodies that childlike joy that I always loved about her and always will.


At 9/25/2005 2:59 PM, Blogger Blond Girl wrote:

Beautiful. Thank you for writing it. Make sure Hot Rod Mama sees it - she'll love it!

Oh, and I see you got tired of being spammed, too... ;-)

At 9/25/2005 6:38 PM, Blogger yellojkt wrote:

Your picture of your grandmother looks uncannily like your blog profile picture. It's always amazing to realize what lookers people were if you only knew them as old people all your life.

At 9/25/2005 7:50 PM, Blogger Ginger wrote:

Are you allowed to say what was terrifying in her childhood?

I look forward to reading more.

At 9/25/2005 7:56 PM, Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator wrote:

Here from Michele's.

What a great story of overcoming adversity.

At 9/25/2005 8:07 PM, Blogger Geekwif wrote:

BG, thanks. HRM hasn't been reading my blog, but you're right, she would like this. I'll have to encourage her to read this one.

Yellojkt, wow, you're right! I never noticed that before. Maybe my family isn't so far off after all!

Ginger, thanks for such a sweet comment in my previous post. It delights my heart when people say such kind things about the people I love.

As for her childhood, she watched her mother be horribly and life-threateningly abused by her father. He was finally put in jail after a "last straw" incident. When he got out of jail, in her teenage years, she and her mother had to "disappear" to another city for fear he would find them.

I never got to meet my great-grandmother, but everyone who knew her says she was one of the kindest, most gentle people they ever met. I'll post a picture of her some Friday. You can see that gentleness reflected in her eyes.

Jon, thanks for visiting from Michele's!

At 9/26/2005 7:56 AM, Anonymous maggie wrote:

What a beautiful post! My maternal grandmother does not know where any pictures would be of her, her children or her husband, etc. ...I would love to see what my grandfather looked like (he died a year or so after I was born... suicide).

What a nice, well-written post :)

At 9/26/2005 8:16 AM, Anonymous nancy wrote:


Michele sent me! Good morning!


Post a Comment

I'm having trouble with word verification so all comments will now go through moderation. Don't worry. I check my email often so it won't take long before your comment shows up.

<< Home