My great-grandmother: a classicly trained pianist from Juliard, she brought five children through the depression with music.
My grandmother: the person I’m closest to besides my mom. She is my role model for just about everything. The lost middle child, she lived through the depression, played baseball with the boys, picked up an oboe at age 18 and by 22 was playing in the symphony. Got the only job wrapping christmas presents at Frederick and Nelson’s in the depression when there were no jobs (the significance of this would be obvious if you had ever received a gift wrapped from my grandma…lots ‘o’ scotch tape, not so much a martha stewart on the domestic goddess front, but she makes damn fine apple pie). Married the hottest guy in college and wouldn’t date him until he went from academic probation to the dean’s list. All the while not caring one way or the other how hot he was, just interested in being herself. Can you imagine that type of independence in the 30’s? Raised 6 kids, all musicians, and athletes at the same time. Lost her mom when she was 18, miscarried two babies, lost her closest sibling when she was 40, lost her husband when she was 54, taught me how to fish, climb trees, build camp fires, fix an outboard motor, stay calm, be fearless, bake excellent pie crust, marinate in the sounds of the woodwinds section, and never ever forget what a “great life” it is.
my mom. my best friend. through and through. She’s someone I respect and cherish, and absolutely love. She allowed me the freedom to make my own way in the world, fall on my face, and I’ve never once heard “i told you so.” she loves the man my father was, and when she lost him to the maddening addictions he still fights, she never once spoke against him in front of me. She lost her marriage of 11 years and never once showed me that level of unhinging that I know she must have felt. My earliest memories are of the joy in her voice. What herculean effort it must have been to have a 2 year old and no income and suddenly be alone. While I mourn the recent loss of the child I don’t get to have, I cannot wrap my head around how I would have faced a sudden ending and then have to hold it together for my baby. Damn she’s stronger than me. She’s also smarter than me, but that’s ok, by the time I catch up, she’ll be on the downswing into senility and I’ll finally have a fighting chance.
Yep, cool women, all of em. 7 years ago