My awesome grandmother, Myra Fay Morgan Wheeler, was born in 1892 and lived to be 86 years old. That is pretty incredible, particularly considering that the average life expectancy in the 1950s was 45 - 63 years of age. And she also lived the last 20+ years of her life as a widow, my grandfather having died when I was but a toddler.
I can still picture the humble little two-bedroom home with a cellar, a front porch, and a huge tree out front with a swing attached to it. The garden was off to the side of the house and most of the summer days I spent with Grandma included picking and eating those yummy fresh peas! To this day, whenever I smell, see, or eat freshly-picked peas, I get a whiff of Grandma and can almost see her standing next to me, drying her hands on the apron she wore constantly. I can hear her laugh and crack jokes with my Dad. I can see the collections of salt n' pepper shakers and deer knick-knacks perched atop of the small shelf that sat just below the ceiling where we could see but not touch.
This strong woman from pioneer stock bore 11 children, three of whom died very young. The remaining eight were all girls, my mother the youngest. There were 17 years between my mother and her eldest sister. To realize that Grandma Wheeler carried, gave birth, and then raised all these children (girls!) on a dry farm in Southeastern Idaho is nothing short of miraculous. They had a tiny cabin on the property with no indoor plumbing! Every Saturday they would travel in a wagon from the farm to their house "in town" so everyone could clean up, bathe and be their shiny best for church on Sunday.
In preparing to post this blog, I heard from several of my cousins who share similar sentiments about our beloved grandmother. Here are a few:
"Love, love, love this woman! I can still imagine her distinctive voice and unique personality."
"Some days I so miss Grandma. So level, so sweet, so strong. Take one Grandma Wheeler daily to stay healthy!"
"Grandma was always so happy, even during her 20+ years as a widow. We come from great stock."
A tribute to you, dearest Grandma Wheeler. You have left to me the challenge of what I hope to become ~ the woman of strength, character, compassion, and charity you created. One day in the eternities, I hope to report to you about what I have done with your name, your legacy. I love you truly, I love you fully, and I miss you dearly. Please give Grandpa my love, along with all those other amazing ancestors who have gone before.
Funny how the world sees "real women. . ."
Evidenced by all the Real Housewives of. . . shows which seem to be overtaking our televisions, it appears that the world believes we should all be wealthy, pampered, enviable, catty, curvaceous, gorgeous, and more. While we may be gorgeous, most of us are not rich or spoiled or even catty. We are ~ simply put ~ real.
The idea for this blog came after watching a few of those real housewives shows and realizing just how skewed the views of everyday life can be through the eyes of these women. Particularly to those of us in the trenches, working day-in-day-out to take care of ourselves, our children, our parents, our spouses/partners. Those of us who are out there earning a living, who may be dealing with catastrophic events or troubled children or medical issues or partner concerns.
This is a call to all women everywhere who live everyday lives and who want to simply do their best as they love all, laugh often, and live fully. Let us unite with our whole heart and soul, with humanity and grace, with vigor and hope. We are women and we are thankful to be so!