Warning: Expect foul language. I often blog when sleep deprived, and even when I'm not sleep deprived I cuss.
Warning the second: TMI often occurs. Read at your own risk. Feel free to laugh at my expense (I know I do!).
Warning the third: I suppose I should just put a general Trigger Warning here. I talk about mental illness (Anxiety, panic disorder, depression, social shit), abuse (rarely), and my fucked up relationship with food. And...other things. Actually, just consider this a general warning: If you might be triggered by things, you probably should read no further.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Grandma

I wrote an essay about my late paternal grandmother for english awhile back. Managed to dig up a copy to share with someone and am posting it here so I don't misplace it again
English 098
June 2010
Vincent Van Gogh once said “One must work and dare if one really wants to live.” I have to wonder if my grandmother read that at some point, because that is certainly how she lived her life. Oh, how she lived her life! She lived the fullest of lives and everything I do in my life is prefaced with the thoughts “Would Grandma be proud? Would she have taken this opportunity?” It has proven to be an excellent benchmark.
She was born Agnes Marguerite Latremouille on April 1, 1918. She started out life with a story. The way it is told, her uncle (a notorious prankster) ran to the general store to tell the news. Everyone thought the baby girl was an April Fools gag. It set the tone for her life, which she always met with a wink and a chuckle.
In spite of being the only one of her siblings not allowed to go to high school, Agnes ended up taking over her brother’s fishing camp when he went off to war. She proceeded to teach herself touch-typing and bookkeeping. She kept the books for the camp; she did the hiring, firing and most of the advertising. People from all over the world came to her camp for the fishing, and for the conversations with her at night. There were international financiers, high-powered doctors and lawyers.
Agnes had throat surgery in 1963, which was irritated by the pine pollen in the mountains so badly she couldn’t breathe. She lived liked that for 6 years until she finally gave in and moved to Okanogan. She had always wanted to be a gardener, but spending summers at 4000 feet in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies didn't allow for any crops, just a few flowers. In Okanogan she finally fulfilled her dream. She got organic gardening magazines, read up on the latest techniques, and she and my father built up her soil by hand. A lot of sand was hauled from the hill across the street, and she composted and used worms. She did all this and more until she had the huge garden that I will always remember.
Everything she did she was successful at, because she never quit trying until she succeeded. When my dad was in high school she started a business, selling worms to fisherman. She had famous night crawlers and her method for getting them kept us, her grandchildren, entertained for years. She had two metal rods that she inserted into the ground. They were connected to a battery, so when she threw the switch it would send currents through the ground. This caused worms to frantically squirm to the surface where she, or her loyal minions/grandchildren, would scoop them up. She kept this successful business up until the fishing season before her death at the age of 90.
This self-proclaimed “ignorant peasant Frenchwoman” would raise many children in her lifetime, not all of them her own. Her three birth children would all go on to higher education. Her stepson was in tears at her 90th birthday party, talking about how she’d influenced him, the successful businessman. The neighbor kids talked about how she was their other mother or grandmother, and how she always expected the best from them. Even now, a year and a half after her death, her daring inspires me. Her work ethic is still alive and well in her grandchildren. To me this just proves Van Gogh’s statement, daring and hard work make a life that is both worth living and worth emulating.

No comments:

Post a Comment