Sunday, October 21, 2007

An inspiration

It's interesting how much you find out about someone once they've left this world. People talk about events and accomplishments that go unmentioned when that person is around. And so it was with my grandma. I grew up in an era of raging debate over whether women should have jobs or stay home with their children. My mom worked and that was considered radical. It wasn't so radical, as it turns out.

My grandmother worked on the floor of a shoe factory as long as my dad can remember. She would get up at 6 a.m. and go to the basement to shovel coal in the furnace to heat the house. Then she'd make oatmeal before leaving for work. All grandpa had to do was wake up the kids and get them to school.

The kids got home from school around 3 p.m. Grandma was there by 4. There was no nanny and no after school programs.

After many years of the factory work, grandma helped start a credit union for the workers. She got it up and running and then became the president and chief executive, a position she held for about 20 years.

Throughout her career, she carried the responsibility for keeping the house clean and the household running all without a dishwasher or a microwave. She had a washing machine, but she had to boil water for it and then run the clothes through a ringer. The clothes were hung outside to dry.

In high school grandma was on a championship women's hockey team and the volley ball team. And in 1981, she won an award for getting a perfect Cribbage hand during a state tournament.

I am even more in awe of this lady. And I'm much more appreciative of my gas heat that comes on automatically before I wake up, my dishwasher, my quick-cooking microwave, and my washing machine and drier. I will no longer complain that it takes almost 70 minutes to get the clothes dry.


loribird said...

Wow, what an amazing lady indeed!

Janice said...

Isn't it amazing all that we take for granted?? What an amazing woman your grandmother was!! Oh that everyone would be willing to sit at the feet of and learn from the older generation who really knew the meaning of hard work and hard times. We are a pretty spoiled nation and generation!!

ninou77 said...

What an amazing life!! I think your grandmother had a pugnacity I never noticed on other people!!

Une grande dame!