Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

I've already written about my mother on her 85th birthday last Thursday. Today I'll write about my grandmothers.

Lola Frances Barker was a petite woman. She didn't quite reach five feet tall. Her husband was over six feet and her son, my father, was six-five. She never cut her hair. It was so long that she could sit on it, but she kept it swept up in a bun most of the time. When we were little girls, she would sit for hours and let us brush it, braid it, play with it. Surely we must have hurt her when we pulled the brushes and combs through all that hair, but she never complained.

She was so sweet. I always compared her to Melanie Wilkes. It was so ingrained in her not to ever tell a lie that when she eloped with my grandfather, she told her parents she was going to a wedding. She could crochet beautifully. Even when her eyesight was gone and her fingers were curved with arthritis, she still worked that crochet needle all day long. She made bedspreads for each of us and gave them as wedding presents.

Annie Mae Hoyal was tall and slender with auburn hair. Her husband left her when her children were tiny, but she managed with the help of her brothers to raise them well. She lived with us my entire life and is the reason we never knew what Day Care meant. While my mom ran the household, Mae was the laundry lady. She could catch a piece of clothing before you let it hit the floor and have it washed, dried and pressed and hanging in your closet by the time you got ready to go to school the next day. All through college and a few years after when I lived in my swinging singles apartment complex, she did my laundry for me. Just before I got married, my dad took me aside and told me I couldn't bring my clothes home for my grandmother to wash any longer.

She loved to read. Her favorites were Emilie Loring and Grace Livingston Hill. Together we learned to love Kathleen Woodiwiss. It disturbed me a little that she would read the explicit love scenes in those books, but she told me, "I close my eyes when I read those parts." She would be so proud of my published works today. But she'd have to close her eyes much of the time!

I won't be back to the Blog for a few days. I'm taking my mother to the beach. See you later in the week.

Don't forget to call your mother today.


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