She was someone’s Mama. That little lady in the middle. I didn’t know her. But I knew of her. I know that when she died she left behind a husband and three young children.
I love looking at her face.
I love that my Grandmother called her “Mama”. In that one little word I can see my Grandmother who always seemed so tall, so posture correct and so orderly-as a little girl. A little girl with a “Mama”.
I never knew my Grandmother as anyone other than my Grandmother. I didn’t know her as the child, the young mother, the first time grandmother. And I didn’t think to ask. I remember things she told me about living through the depression. I remember her telling me about living with her grandparents after her “Mama” died. How terribly sad that must have been for her. She was so young. Too young, to be without her Mama. I was young when my Grandmother told me the things she did. Too young to appreciate them. But I remember. I am so glad I remember!
I remember the time that we were standing under the tree in her front yard. She was so carefree in that moment with me. Carefree and smiling. There was a storm approaching and we were under a tree. She was the first to tell me we shouldn’t stand under a tree when it storms, because of the lightening risk. But we were in a moment. A rare moment. Coming from a family with kids every where it was never easy to get a moment alone with an adult. She told me about bread and candy bars being so cheap when she was young. But it didn’t matter how cheap they were, no one had money to buy them. She said the size of the bread and the candy was so different. They were huge when you could buy them for a nickel. But no one wasted money on candy back when she was a child. Or a young adult. But she reveled in telling me the story of bread and candy for a nickel, there was no somberness that they didn’t waste money on those things. They ate. They took care of themselves. But I didn’t know then that she had gone through so much of her life with out her Mama.
I wish I could ask her about it now.
I remember sitting outside one very dark evening outside of her home, right behind ours. And she told me about how she had to live with her Grandparents when all she wanted was to be with her dad. But she couldn’t. He had to work. He had to entrust the children to his parents, but he came to see them. And he sacrificed to do so. Back then he could make the trip by train and then walk for a few miles. To spend maybe a day with his children. Now a days I can drive it in an hour. Or choose to ride that distance on my bike for fun. I think about the way they lived. The miles he walked for his children. The days he worked and lived away from them after the loss of his wife. Grandmother didn’t say these things. I found these things out later.
I wish I could ask her about it now.
I look at her Mama in the picture above. I look and look. Did she look at it? Looking for comfort? Looking to see if she could see her self in her Mama. I do. I look for Grandmother in her Mama’s face.
The older I get the more I want to know about history. My history. My family’s history. I want them, Mama and Poppa and the others, to know someone thinks about them. Respects the hardness of their lives. The moving forward direction of their lives. The willingness to do what they had to do to survive, prosper even. I like remembering them. I love finding out about them. I love discovering pictures and events and stories. I love staring at the faces staring back still and silent at me. Do I look like them? Do my brothers and sisters and cousins share a chin, or smile or act like them in any way??? Maybe it’s a desire to keep them alive within me. The more I discover the more I can pass down to those after me. My little one’s didn’t call me “Mama”, it was mom and mommy, which is the equivalent. And I have one who calls me “Mamo” which is pretty darn close to “Mama”.
I didn’t know enough to ask when Grandmother was here. I didn’t know to have her tell me about her Mama. I wish I had but I did not. And I’m not waiting on the little one’s in my life to ask. I’m telling them everything I can about me, my dad, my mom, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles. My brothers and sisters. I’m telling them. Because some time from now, many many years from now, I hope someone looks at a picture and asks Grace about her Mamo. I hope they are looking at pictures and wondering about me. About those who came before me. Do they look like me? I want them to love looking at pictures and wonder. I want them to feel a connection. A desire to know about my life, Grandmother’s life, Mama’s life. I want to save these pictures as best I can with the technology available to me. I want them to look at the pictures. Read the words. Wonder. While they look. And look.
She was someone’s Mama. Someone’s Mamo.
P.S….. Dear Mama’s and Grandma’s on the “other side” of my tree, I am not neglecting you! I just haven’t figured out how to get the pictures I have on to here yet! I love you all !