This is a photo of my grandmother (on the right, a picture of my mom, on the left, and me below). The date was December, 1955 – I was not quite two years old. The auto featured was either a 1949 or 1950 Plymouth. The best car my dad ever owned – according to him.
My maternal grandmother was born on February 29th, 1896. Her birthdate was the subject of many a small town Oklahoma newspaper article – such as – in 1980, Viola Abel able to vote after all these years – hahaha…
My grandmother was born in Missouri, but was raised in Minnesota. Her father was a physician. She always hated the idea that she would be buried in the red dirt of north central Oklahoma, but that was what happened, despite her long years of dreading. She claimed to have the best of lifes – she recalled riding in horse-drawn buggies, but lived long enough to see a man land on the moon.
I have been thinking a lot about my grandmother today, and I am not sure why. She passed away in the winter of 1991. I was a pall bearer at her funeral. The man who is the head of the Sonic Drive-In Corporation was in attendance – my grandmother would have been proud of that.
My grandmother was born at the end of the Victorian era. Health and well-being in her time were not to be taken for granted. I recall that when me or my sister would put our arms out of the rolled down back-seat windows, she’d nearly have a fit – as our arms could be taken off by other autos. She was very anxious about health – all of the time. She was sharp as a tack until about her 93th birthday – after that she was pretty demented.
When my senior high english class read the book “To Kill a Mocking Bird” - I was sure the neighborhood described by Harper Lee, was where my grandmother lived – even though it was Oklahoma, rather than Alabama.
My maternal grandmother was a life-long Republican. To describe how hopeless in this regard she was, she thought Richard Nixon had “a nice smile”.
I miss my grandmother. I hope her soul rests in peace…