Grandmothers: Mary and Golda

December 16, 2010

Mary (Nini) and Golda (Mamma)

These are my grandmothers, Mary Caroline Caldwell Martin and Golda Faye Taylor McElroy. My Aunt Dot recently gave me this photo, and I just can’t quit staring at it. To me, it’s one of the most beautiful photos in all the world. I would imagine this was taken in the late 1970s when I was not much older than George and Elijah or maybe even before I was born.

I love Nini’s glasses and her near-laughing smile. I love the way Mamma has one hand placed over the other in a way that reminds me of the way my mom used to place her hands in her lap during church. It’s also unexpected to see Mama look so serious and contemplative as she was usually so giggly and smiley. 

My grandmothers were a central part of my world growing up. My paternal grandmother lived with us, and she was really more like an (much) older sister in that she borrowed my clothes, read my books, and sometimes even told on me. She had a wonderful mountain dialect you seldom hear in our area these days, and would say things like “you’uns” and “dreckly.”

My maternal grandmother and her husband lived less than five minutes away, and I went to their house every day and spent many evenings there as well. She taught me how to drink coffee, sew things by hand, sing alto , and hang clothes on the line to dry. When you hurt yourself she would hug you gently, pat you hair, and say, “Oh, did you hurt yourself? Well, God love it!” I can remember her picking splinters out of my feet after I would run around barefoot on the discarded boards in the backyard.

Spending my days with them I learned to conceptualize family as an intergenerational entity and am beyond thankful for their influence in my life.  Mamma died in 1993.  Nini died in 2003.

There is so much I would love to say about both of them, and I will in upcoming posts. For now I just had to share this photo of two of my most favorite people.

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5 Responses to “Grandmothers: Mary and Golda”

  1. Jo Ann said

    I am thinking that you are quite rare in your appreciation of your extended family and their wonderful influence on you, Meredith. This is lovely. I’m sure they are smiling at you with great love!

  2. Maci Powell said

    Hey, Garret’s wife here. Guin posted a link to your blog on Facebook and I had to let you know I’m your newest fan.
    You’ve brought tears to my eyes with your touching words and your funny words.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Can’t wait to read more.

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