I was the grandchild of three women. They all had an influence on me....even though I never knew two of them.
From my father's mother I took the name Anna that I use here. I know very little about this grandmother who has always left me with the feeling of a great hole in myself when I think about her. She died from appendicitis when my father was only 12. I never remember him ever speaking of her--not even once. And now it is too late for me to ask him as he is also gone. But I'm not sure that he would talk about her even if he were still here. He just wasn't that kind of man. There weren't any pictures of her in our house, so I don't even know what she looked like. I do know I got my asthma from her...but what else? This is probably one mystery of my life I will never solve. But it is a mystery that I have spent alot of my adult life thinking about. What parts of her are me? Did I inherit any traits of hers that have made my life what it is? I don't know. But, in itself, not knowing has influenced my life.
My grandmother on my mother's side also died before I was born. My mother was only 16 when her mother died. But I do know alot about this lady. I have spent my whole life hearing about how I look like a twin to Ethel and that she will never be dead as long as I am alive. Through the years, relatives have spent a lot of time looking at me and talking about it. My grandfather adored her. He more than adored her...he worshipped her. He spent many afternoon's telling me stories about her and her wonderful disposition. He'd say, "If you couldn't get along with her, you couldn't get along with anyone." I really wanted to be like her in this way, but failed miserably at it. Although I may have inherited her looks, I certainly didn't inherit her disposition. But I tried hard and still do sometimes. I think that was her greatest influence on my life.
My third grandmother was a lady I knew well. My grandfather married my "Nana" two years before I was born. And even though she was my grandfather's second wife, she definately was my grandmother. Just thinking about her brings tears to my eyes. I miss her alot. She was so, so good to me. She never treated me as anything other than her true grandchild. Even many years later, after my grandfather had passed on and she had remarried, I was still her granddaughter and "the most beautiful bride she ever saw".
She was quite a remarkable woman in many ways. She had four husbands (my grandfather was her second) and she outlived them all. She was full of so much life. There were always places to go and things to see. She loved to take trips and loved to have fun. She wanted to do everything. I think this is what I took from her life and hope that I continue to do so. Three weeks before she died, at the age of 85, she came in second in an evening gown contest at the Senior Center. She died one morning in the middle of getting dressed to go out, having never had a moment of being sick. When it's my time, I want to go just like her. She was a wonderful woman who, though she was not my grandmother by blood, was definately my grandmother in my heart.