About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spitfire in My Blood

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my grandparents, specifically my grandmothers.  Neither one lived easy lives, but what I remember most about them is their laughter.  Both had those toss-your-head-back-don't-care-who's-looking laughs that came deep from their core.  Neither had easy lives, my Grandma Marge was widowed with four teenagers while living on a farm in rural South Dakota during a time when working women weren't exactly the norm.   My Grandma Pearl worked hard on a farm and in a candy factory, had a daughter with Scarlett Fever, buried a son and a grandson, and could talk about the 'time the locusts destroyed the crops' with such clarity I am still afraid of grasshoppers.  Yet both women knew how to laugh, drive fast and not take crap from anyone.

Laughter is the secret to surviving life's little dramas.  Laughter combined with spunk and an 'If-You-Don't-Like-Me-Screw-You' attitude is the perfect combination for survival.  I think there is a reason they keep popping into my mind recently.  They are reminding me of where and who I come from.

If they were here--and I often wish they were--I can imagine what they would say to me.  I can imagine Grandma Marge would tell me that tragedy is part of life and would remind me how many times she started over.  She started over from scratch a lot and with far less advantages than I have.  And she did it with flair; she did everything with flair.  I can still see her peeling out of my dad's driveway in her long green car, dust flying behind the wheels, black hair flying in front of her face as red-tipped fingers blew us a kiss from the window.

If Grandma Pearl were here, she would squeeze my hand, say a few choice words about that son-of-a-bitch I married, remind me that I am Norwegian and come from a line of strong women, tell me to keep my dignity no matter what I do in my life and to always stand tall, even when the locusts come.  I can still see her cooking in her kitchen one minute before grabbing a cap gun, going outside, and shooting in the air to get rid of those 'damn Jehovah's Witnesses' once and for all while never breaking stride or messing up her red hair.

Spitfires are my heritage.  I remember these women I was so blessed to know and am inspired.  I think it does all of us good to remember our heritage and honor those who made us who we are.

I am the granddaughter of Marge Ordal and Pearl Thompson.  I come from a long line of Norwegian women who could make lefse and toss back a shot of whiskey at the same time, who drove fast, who lived fully, who loved with their entire beings, and who walked with strength and grace even when the locusts came.

3 comments:

  1. That's precisely who I hope my grandson remembers me!

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  2. Amber, Thank you for sharing about these awesome role models in your life. There is a thread of them that is even evident in your writings. It is no wonder that people are drawn to you. More importantly, there are great words of wisdom in what you KNOW they would say to you. Whatever your Grandmother Pearl's few choice words would be regarding "the elephant in the room", I couldn't agree more! Listening to their voices should continue to prod and surge you forward.

    The element of laugher seems increasingly distant in society today as people tune out others; a disconnect in the midst of cell phone connectedness. Lost moments of humor in the here and now.

    Curious, I have a great aunt whose maiden name was Pearl Thompson! She was a turn-of-the-century, back holler WV feisty pistol herself. What a confidence booster to see such risk takers still having a new penny shine to them, even in old age, while remaining as sturdy as an Amish barn.

    For experiment's sake, can you imagine spending a full week in the mode of, "What would Marge do?" at every turn; then the next week go into the mode, "What would Pearl do?" I dare say your kids might be "scared straight" -- ALL of us! lol
    By the third week, "What would Amber do?" may take on a whole new meaning as you walk with your own unique strength and grace.

    Let the Marge-isms begin...but better get those nails done first ;)
    –slt

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  3. I love you, SLT. :-) I have done your experiment this week, which resulted in my current post. I like the idea of Marge and Pearl walking beside me and giving me counsel even now. It's true...no one dies when they remain vivid memories in our hearts and minds.

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