Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Looking back to 1916

Today is my Grandmother's birthday.

Grace Madeline Scott was born January 30, 1916.
I never knew her.
In honor of her day, I received a lovely tribute in the mail a few days ago, written by my mother, Grace's daughter.
What a treasure.

"January 26, 2013

In four days it will be your grandmother's birthday. Grace Madeline Scott Glass was born January 30, 1916.  That makes her 96 if she were living.  She was 10 years younger than her husband, Richard Irving Glass.  For the most part, they had learned how to be happy together.  They rarely had unpleasant words.  She was a naturally happy person and I do not remember her complaining.  Her mother had died when she was two years old.  She endured two step-mothers, who felt burdened with the ten children that their mother had left at her death.  You would have thought that the baby would have been loved, if not the other children.  But in the early 1900's there were few conveniences, such as indoor plumbing, electric lights, and cars.  There were such items, but not for the average family.  The head of the house was Malcom Douglas Scott.  His livelihood was milking a number of cows and delivering the milk by wagon with the help of his children.  My mom remembered on Saturdays, if they were lucky they would stop at an ice cream parlor for a treat.  But mostly she remembered that her two step-mothers did not like her.

I do not know when she left her father's home, but I do know when she graduated from the 8th grade, she was living with her sister, Maude and Maude's husband Clarence Washburn in Needham (Massachusetts).  He was a teacher there.  Maude was also a teacher, but I am not sure just where at that time.  I discovered an autograph book which Grace had for the occasion of her graduation in which her friends, family and adult relatives would write something.  Her dad just signed his name.

So I wondered: did he miss his baby not living at home?  Was he proud of her for finishing at a school where she was a stranger and had to make new friends?  Was he grateful to his older daughter who had taken her in?  Was he experiencing all these feelings and due to pride was not able to express them?

How did my mother feel when her dad only wrote his name?  What would she have wanted him to say?  Did that change how she viewed her graduation?  So many questions I would ask my mother if she were still here.  She died when I had just turned 18... 

When she died, I was a senior.  March 21st, 1958.
I was president of the Honor Society.  I had a lead in the school musical.  I had a major part in the church's annual play... (Dad was also in it).  I was treasurer for our Walpole High School class.  I was working every afternoon after school from 2:30 to 5:30pm at Kendall Company as a filing clerk.  I was a member of the Future Nurses Society.  So life was busy and on I went.

My mother's passing did not really hit me until I was alone attending Simmons College in the Fall.  (I was a freshman in a five year nursing program)  I missed her so much.  My dad was not one to communicate much... never called or came.  I could have called him, but it cost money for every phone call back then and I did not have a lot, so I did not call either.

...The day that my mother died, I had been a typical teenager.  We had had a blizzard so we had no school, so I went to work for a whole day.  In the afternoon the Future Nurses were to go to tour a hospital.  I wanted to drive and believe my parents said that I could.  But since that decision was made, they had changed their minds due to the storm.  I was really upset and let my mother know!  (As a mother, I would now have made the same decision.)  So the last words which I had with my mother were those of anger.  That conversation still rings in my mind.  It took me 13 years of nightmares arguing with my mother before I could forgive myself and know that she also had forgiven me.  That should be a lesson for me to measure what I say and only say positive things... not to say that I have been perfect in that area, but I am trying.

My mother did not have a lot of opportunities to develop talents as a child.  But I watched her after working all day in an office come home and go off to various classes which I knew she really enjoyed.  One was tray painting... Another talent which she pursued was cake decorating.  She had a knack for such things...
So on my mother's 96th birthday, I thought I would give you a small picture of a wonderful lady, whom you will meet someday."

I am excited to one day meet my Grandmother Grace.  I know that she is a fun lady. I imagine that her job in heaven is making sure that our dearly departed are meeting their laugh quota.  
November 2008
In the kitchen of the Temple house in Belmont

I am especially grateful that I have had decades of time with my own mother that she was not able to spend with hers.

I love you Mom.

Happy Birthday Grammy Grace!