I know where to 'go' to bolster my commitment & courage ...
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
One of the heroes in my life is my great-grandmother, Marguerite. She and her Army officer husband lived in Germany. When she became widowed at a young age, she and her three very young children emigrated to the US in 1892. My paternal grandmother was under age 3 and her siblings were not much older. Those were the days of long months aboard ships filled with other people and families who had hopes of a better life for themselves and their children. Not a trip for the faint-of-heart. What courage!
My great-grandmother and her little family landed in New Orleans. They traveled up the Mississippi River, fellow passengers disembarking in port cities along the way. Finally, they arrived in St. Louis and made a home with some relatives who had left Germany a number of years before.
My family introduced me to 'Oma' at when I was about five. I was fascinated by her composure and lovely soft voice. At that time she was living in an altenheim in St Louis (old folks' home) and had a second husband that she always called Mr. Koch. He had been with the railroad and unfortunately I know little of his story. I wasn't with this wonderful couple frequently but each time was special. My Oma died just before she was 101.
Oma always wore flat mary jane shoes, and loved to wear polka-dotted dresses - a fondness that her daughter, my grandmother, adopted. I myself have had a few polka-dotted dresses along the way. My husband's favorite dress was one I wore when we began dating. It was a hot pink shift with larger polka-dots than either of my forebearers would have worn! Don't laugh - it was the mid-1960's and very chic! (We never, ever wore white shoes after Labor Day so you know that my DH's and my dates began in the summer!)
Whenever I remember that I was working for women's rights in the 60's & '70 (and after), I often wonder where the idea came from that women were dainty and simple creatures who needed men to take care of them. At least in the history of my family females, the women were strong and capable and worked outside the home after being widowed early and even before.
I must keep this history in the forefront of my mind to reject being satisfied with the easy decisions or the less challenging path.
Anyone else have family heroes that have passed on special characteristics you feel bound to uphold?