In honor of this special day I thought I would share with you a few (i.e. a lot) of pictures from my archive of family photos. Some are from my parental side, some my maternal, and a few are even from my hubby's side of the family. All of them helped to shape my life, to make me who I am. All of them blessed me.
This is my Granny Ray, my paternal great-grandmother. I don't remember a lot about her, but when I see her picture it always gives me a since of peace and love. Also, she made the BEST apple cream pie!
This one is rather blurry, it's Granny Ray, me (dressed in something polyester, no doubt) and my Mama Mac and Papa (my paternal Grandparents). My parents divorced when I was young and I didn't get to see my dad or that side of my family much, so any pictures I can get my hands on from that time are extra special to me.
I am going to switch gears for a second and introduce you to my Great-Grandmother Heise. She is the woman in the forefront of the photo with the young man in the straw hat and tie. He is my biological maternal grandfather. I never actually knew either of them, he died when my mother was still a child, she died in the late 1960's. She was a strong, independent, stubborn woman. Believe me when I say that she legacy lives on in her granddaughter and great granddaughter.
Next we have my Nanny, my other maternal great-grandmother. That's me in her lap with my Grandmother at our side. Mostly what I know of her comes more from family stories rather than memories. She was another strong willed woman. I tend to think of her as a difficult person, one who bullied her way through life. But then, who am I to judge? She lived a hard life with an alcoholic husband and still managed to raise my Grandmother and her older brother Lynn to be good, upstanding members of society. No small accomplishment for a woman of her generation.
So far it seems I have been sharing pictures of people that I didn't even really know. So, let's proceed forward a generation and introduce you to my grandparents. This is my Mama Mac and Papa on their 50th wedding anniversary. They lived out their lives in West Virginia, raising a daughter (my aunt) and a son (my Dad). Papa was a quiet man, the steady rock of our family. Mama Mac was the driving force, the one to get things done. He seem content to let her lead, but when he did take a stand she always stood with him. They were a great team. He passed away in 1988 and she in 2009.
Mama Mac teaching my cousins basketball. Had to be 1973 or '74.
Papa and Mama Mac talking on the phone. I don't know for sure who they were talking to, but I like to think it was me. As the grandchild who lived so far away in Texas and was not seen as frequently has the other grand kids I remember talking to them on the phone a lot. In any case, I love this picture!
Now we have arrived at my maternal grandparents, and things get a bit more complicated! I had 3 maternal grandfathers; Fred Heise who died when my mom was an infant; Bob Baird who adopted and raised my mom and who I called Grandaddy; and Jack McKenney, my step grandfather. Let's get started, shall we?
This is my Grandaddy Baird and Grandmother on their wedding day in 1946 or '47 (I am too lazy to double check my dates, sorry)
Grandaddy is the grandfather of my childhood. He is one my most identify as MY grandfather. We weren't especially close though. I don't think he really knew what to do with a child, we were alien to him even after raising 3 of his own. I remember he used to pick on me, asking me if I had "had my Johnson grass juice" to help me grow. Of course, the thought of drinking juice made of grass totally grossed me out! He passed away in 1991, just a few months before I got married.
In 1996 (once again guessing because I am lazy) Grandmother married Jack and they spent several years together until his failing health forced him to move to Florida so his family could care for him. I took Grandmother out to see him a couple of times and let me tell you, watching them reunited was something beautiful to see. Jack passed away in 2010 and she passed in 2012. (I miss her most of all, she was so much more than my grandmother, she was a dear friend)
Me and her, some Christmas or other in the 70's.
This is them from the 1930's or '40's
The gang's all here for this picture! This one is from the 1980's and shows my hubby (smiling boy on the right hand side in front of his grandmother) his siblings and cousins, his mom and aunt and grandparents.
This last one is one of my favorites, it is 3 generations and was taken in the early 1990's. On the left is Great-Grandad Charlton who lived to be 101. Center is my hubby, and on the left is his grandfather, Shorty.
There you have it! The long list of the people who helped shape me and the people I love the most. In writing this I am reminded of how little I know about some of these people. It is the way of the world, the people who influence us the most in our formative years are often a mystery to us. What they impart into our lives is only a tiny piece of who they are and such a large part of who we become. I am grateful for each of these people, whether I knew them or not, for the parts of them that have shaped my life.
Happy Grandparents Day.