You've heard that saying "the best thing since sliced bread?" Well it's funny you see because sliced bread came out the same year as my Grandma, 1928. In July of 1928 the Chillicothe Baking Co in Missouri was the first to sell bread sliced. It's funny to think of this as a "modern" notion in the era of ipads, internet and Starbucks drive throughs. My Grandma, Vernalee, turns 85 today. I love spending time with her, she still leads a VERY FULL life. I have always taken for granted that she will have her birthday 10 days after mine, but this year has made me pause and reflect. I also should point out that my middle name, Rose, was after her middle name.
To call my Grandma "strong" would probably be an understatement because her strength is reflected in so many ways. Some things I think of when I think of her.... strength, perseverance, peach butter, sewing machines, love, joy, faithfulness, and so much more. She's definitely someone you want on your good side because she will be the best advocate you ever have! She can whip you up a pie or dress, depending on your need that day.
When she is in the spirit to tell a tale, you might hear a story or two about growing up on a farm in Kansas during the Great Depression with four brothers. Two of her brothers were twins, 5 years younger than her, so she gets a giggle now and then about me dealing with my twins. She tells tales of teaching in a one room school house, putting cardboard inside your shoes to keep them going long after the soles go out or her hatred for corn bread "because that really meant you were down and out." I have had the privelege of growing up close to all my grandparents. Thankfully, my dad owned a hardware business with his parents so I saw them almost every day after school and lots on weekends. I grew up watching my Grandmother work hard as a book keeper (& much more) in the hardware store. She has also long been a community advocate and did things like "Business and Professional Women's Club" as I was growing up. You will laugh to know she still has many weekly meetings between community volunteering, her rotary club, church, etc. I have learned a lot from her about being confident, not taking no for an answer and "when the going get tough, the tough get going."
I have far more memories than a blog post can contain but I think it's important that when someone leaves a legacy in your life, you should tell them. I am going to tell her that I have precious memories of just spending time with her and my grandfather. I can barely breathe when I think about the fact that I will some day exist on this earth without her so I had an idea for this birthday... I want to give her a journal to write her stories down in. I want to remember everything even when she's not here to remind me. She is a part of the "greatest generation" and it's no accident! She has lived and loved and lost much, yet she presses on and makes the most of every day. She's every part of the American Dream, working hard to create success, etc. Even at 85 she texts with me, yet says things like "After you ride in the back of a model T or a farm wagon, you learn not to get car sick." I hope I can be an ounce of who she is!
I have a few photos to share... I would also say that my love of photography started as a kid looking at all the pictures she and my grandfather had from growing up. It was rare that they had so many for relatively "poor" families. It was fascinating to look at these images.
This was her on the far right with her family in Kansas (not sure of the year but she was a teenager)
Here's one from when my dad was small, he's the little guy :) I think this is Dallas in the 1950's, so classy!
This is me with her in 1983 (I was 2 :) Don't be jealous of the mustard couch and chevron crochet!
And this was in more recent years when my Grandfather was still with us... They were just shy of their 65th wedding anniversary when he passed away.
I feel like this post is so inadequate but I thought it better to try than to not....all my love to you on your birthday Grandma Frey!