As the story has it, at least in my mind, I as an infant rebelled so strongly against the intended babysitter that my Papaw Herby was recruited to look after me. Soon after my Granny Tressie retired from school teaching to see that looking after me was done properly. Tressie and Herby were my dad’s parents and lived less than a half mile from us on the family farm.
I was a lucky toddler. I followed Papaw as he moved cows from one pasture to another. I snooped on the bee hives from a safe distance. My ponies lived in the barn behind their house.
Their garden was a masterpiece. If they grew it, I ate it. More praise has never been heaped on a child for eating greens and turnips.
Sure I was their pampered only granddaughter but they could be tough. As a first grader, I knew better than to show Granny a worksheet that didn’t have a smiley face on it. I showed her all the good ones. The others I stashed in my mom’s car. Then you know it, we drove her to the fall festival at school. The “talking to” I got when confronted with those minus 2’s and 3’s….she waited until bath time when I was spending the night. Naked, lectured and getting scrubbed to with in an inch of my life. That was Granny.
Papaw died seventeen years ago but Granny she passed away just this week. Being the oldest of eleven surely made her the tough gal that she was. Besides keeping me honest, her life included a long teaching career, much of it in a one room school house. During WWII she worked in a Michigan factory. And of course there was her passion for gardening. As a child I didn’t think we lived on a real farm because we didn’t earn our living from it. As a grocery shopping adult I know we had quite the farm. More than once I’ve heard, “They fed half the county.” A big garden with plenty to share brought them both great satisfaction.
In a changing world they lived life on their own terms….leaving a cherished legacy for a stubborn granddaughter.