The challenge words this week were tight and warm.
When I was young we would come to town and drive to Aunt Rosie’s Home.
When we would stop and go in, it was always neat as a pin with hot tea and white lemon cookies displayed on the table. I’d always heard it was a spinster’s house, but all I really knew was the kind woman who lived there always made sure I ate till I was full.
In The Spinster’s House
glass covered pictures
held tight to the parlor walls
kept reflections warm
beside a polished table
sat hot water for her tea
– Clarence Holm
I posted a picture yesterday of two of my Aunts holding my father as a baby. All three plus their younger siblings have passed away. This picture is such a wonderful reminder of them. That is why sharing this with family and friends brings me such pleasure.
I spend so much time collecting and sharing genealogy, I do it as a way of keeping people I love with me. I look at the picture of my father and his sisters and they speak to me. The older girl seems to be holding her little brother so tightly as to protect him from the world. The other, the second oldest, is close, but is holding back a little bit, perhaps unsure of what this little boy is going to do to her position in the family.
Both girls are beautifully clothed, with their hair up in bows. What is unseen is the fact that these children live on a farm in North Dakota, miles from the nearest city – No running water, bath water warmed on a stove. Their mother, my grandmother took great care in getting them ready for this picture.
That tenderness my grandmother shows through this picture. It’s could be easy for me to remember only her as working in the garden, pulling weeds or yelling at us for chasing and bothering the cattle in the pasture. She had a tough life, her father along with three sibling died before she was five. Her mother remarried a widower who had 5 children from the previous marriage and then 10 more before dying in childbirth with the 11th. My Grandmother helped raise them all.
She could have been excused for harboring some resentment because of a tough life – but she didn’t.
As the eldest boy, my father worked hard on the farm and I would like to think I have inherited some of his North Dakotan stoicism allowing me to accept that hard work is part of life.
But mainly I would like these people to know that through and because of them I am able to see beauty in so many parts of my life.