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Grandmothers

May 16th 2024

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day.

Joan was the proud recipient of a couple of pretty plants from our boys. Grandsons really don’t count and again they were missed on the Saturday for many reasons. Family life is not what it was when I was a boy.  Mother’s Day was the big day for the stay-at-home mom. Sunday at church was like the debutante coming out party. All the women of the church who were mothers and some that were not, were showing off their finest and for some, they just glowed at the attention they got strutting down the church aisle to their pew. These words may not seem appropriate for some church goers but as my memory serves me, that is the impression I got as a boy at our rather stodgy regular Sunday services at 1st. Baptist Church in Brampton. Big hats with spring flowers and a new colorful dress and shoes. I once saw a lovely woman take her shoes off while leaving the church, I suspect they (the shoes) would be returned on Monday for a refund as they would appear they had never been worn.

After church we would gather for a special lunch that our mother would have prepared ahead of time. Rarely did a family darken the doors of a restaurant, also, rarely did a husband remove his suit jacket, white shirt and tie to do any semblance of cooking or food preparation. If the mother of the house was a bad cook, all suffered in silence. My mother was a great cook and baker but my mother-in-law was not as good.

This little ditty is not so much about mothers but Grandmothers. The Grand must be emphasized in their case as I was a very lucky guy with two Grandmothers that were as different as one could imagine, but equally as interesting and loveable in their own special way. By the time my two brothers came along, two were gone. Wayne lamented that.

Grandma Scott ---- Jemima Hannah Scott-nee Smith was born in Ipswitch, Suffolk, England in 1870.  Grandma Scott was the most beautiful soul, intelligent and wise, soft spoken with a lovely English accent and silky skin. She raised nine children, 6 boys and 3 girls. She was educated by her mistress while in service, she was wise beyond her years and wrote a journal that was so impressive, I transferred it into a book called “The Victorian Garden”. Her mother-in-law, my Great Grandmother, Hester Scott lived to be 106 years old in Tottenham, England. I received a Christmas greeting from her into the 1950’s. She married at 16 years old and had 12 children. She had almost 70 grandchildren and great grandchildren living in Canada.

 

Grandma Franklin ---- Alice Rosina Franklin nee-Peppiatt was born in Sheppards Bush in London, England in 1883. She had two sons and my mother. Grandma Franklin was also in service in England. She was also a wise woman but was a lot rougher around the edges and loved to keep a clean house and was a skilled woodswoman, her nickname was “Bushwhacker Al”. She could swing an axe and keep up with the best on one end of a cross-cut-saw. She stood 4ft.8 inches but was a tough little gal with a terrific sense of humour.  She had a very difficult life with her three men but in spite of all her troubles she was a delight to be around. I spent a great deal of time with her over the years and she died peacefully in my arms at the age of 94.

It has been a great honour for me to have known my grandparents and to have seen them as I am now, approaching the end of the road. For some reason that seems to calm the soul and draw me to realize that all life comes to an end and that we should cherish every moment we can with our older friends and relatives. I have always been drawn to people older than I and have benefitted greatly for it. There is no substitute for the wisdom one can gain from those who have experienced more of life.

Mothers will usually, eventually become Grandmothers so while our gratitude and love go out to our mothers, let us also remember our grandmothers and listen for those whispered nuggets of wisdom.  Grandma Scott said – never go to sleep at night with anger in your heart.  Grandma Franklin said that to-morrow will be better day so be happy.  Great Grandma Scott said, I find staying in bed is tiring and I feel that if I went for a nice walk, it would do me all the good in the world. Pretty special when quoted at her 101stbirthday.

Happy every day to all the grandmothers.

Paul D. Scott.                         rantingsandraves.com

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