Tuesday, March 7, 2017

grandma's birthday {solsc day 7}

My great grandmother was the world's most kind and joyful soul.  Despite the difficulties she encountered throughout her life she always kept her quiet strength and her positive outlook. This precious woman, born poor in a small Alabama town on March 7, 1898, lived through care-taking for her siblings for all the years her mama was sick--all while she was a mere slip of a thing herself, two world wars, the Great Depression, marrying young to a man who was by no means easy on a good day, and having 9 children.  She seemed ancient by the time I came into this world and I always loved being around her.  This woman made the best sweet tea!  And her fried bologna sandwiches were just the thing to cure your hunger. She could out-garden any master gardener. She baked delicious cakes and had a smile for everyone around her. She was adored by all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She passed away in 1989, but I carry her with me.  On days I'm feeling especially weary I remind myself that I descend from hard-working wise women like Nettie Ethel Mae McCrary Watwood and I stand a bit taller.

Today also marks the birth of Nettie's daughter-in-law, my grandmother Neva Almeda Shaw Watwood.  We called her Mamaw.  This is a photo of Neva with her siblings (yes, I come from large families) She is the one in the center of the photo.  Of course she is!  My grandmother was a strong woman, full of sass.  Born in rural Oklahoma in 1919, she also lived through the Great Depression and World War II.  She married my grandfather at 19 and theirs was a true love match that survived losing both their sons before losing each other.  She was a tiny thing---stood just about 5 feet tall, but she was a little stick of dynamite.  One did not argue with Neva Watwood.  I remember her telling me often to "remember that the man is the head of the house, but the woman is the neck.---and the neck moves the head, honey.  The neck moves the head." We spent a lot of time together, she and I. Looking back, I miss those days of shelling peas on the back porch and going out to pick peaches at the nearby orchard. She taught me how to crochet and she taught me how to take no crap using only the stink-eye and Sunday-appropriate words. She could make the best Sunday dinner you ever ate in your life, and oh my word, her chocolate pies were a slice of heaven on earth. On days I'm feeling overwhelmed I remind myself I come from strong and sassy women like my Mamaw and that nothing & no one can get me down for long.

So Happy Birthday, grandmothers.  You are loved and missed, and your memories are treasured.


  1. I love this post! The only great grandmother that I really knew or spent anytime with was not an easy woman to get along with. No one really liked her. My granny on the other hand is an awesome woman and nothing like her mother. She's a tough, loving lady!

  2. You come from very strong women! I loved reading about them. It's funny- I do that too- during tough times, I remind myself of my special relatives and that I can do this just like them! Great post.