Mother’s Day 2010
Tomorrow will be Mother’s Day and I’ve been thinking of my mother, my grandmother, and all of the women who give so much to their children and family as caretakers.
My grandmother had very little in the way of material possessions for most of her life. She knew how to be frugal in order to feed her large family and while I’m sure she often dreamed of what life might be like if she was wealthy, she never expressed those thoughts to me.
I do believe the phrase I heard the most from my grandmother was, “You need to save away for a rainy day!”
My grandmother often wore stockings knotted above the knees to hold them up and she never complained about not having a garter belt. It was not at all unusual to discover her wearing two pairs of stockings at the same time, each pair with a wore out heel that was turned so the holes were on opposite sides.
When I landed my first job, I made it a point to buy my grandmother new stockings for Christmas and I bought her more for each special occasion, often purchasing as many as six pairs at a time. Still, I never saw her wear anything but the worn out stockings around her house.
I often asked if I was buying the right size and color of stockings and every time my grandmother replied, “Yes, Child, they’re just fine. I’ll wear them to church sometime. There’s no sense in ruining good nylons doing chores.”
I had no way of knowing that many of my aunts and cousins were also buying stockings. It wasn’t until she died and the daughters got together to clean out her clothes and personal belongings that drawers filled with brand new hosiery, most of it still unopened, was discovered.
They also found old cigar boxes filled with buttons of every size and shape you could imagine and jelly glasses pushed into every nook and cranny of her kitchen while boxes of new drinking glasses were stored unopened on cabinet shelves.
She had little embroidered hankies in shoe boxes under her bed since that was another gift her grandchildren had been quite generous in giving. One lace hankie was placed in the center of her Bible. It was the one she had carried the day she married my grandfather and she carried it with her to church every time she attended.
She never threw anything away that could be repaired, made over, or used to patch something else. She also never parted with Christmas cards, or birthday cards, or hand-written letters she received in the mail. The attic was full of cardboard boxes that contained those. Maybe she was frugal and holding onto her memories at the same time.
Maybe she was saving them for a rainy day that never came.