Thursday, April 7, 2011

In high-heels and pearls...

So, I know this will be the third time I have changed directions with my blog, but this time I think I have found a direction I can sail with. I got to thinking the other day about what truly inspires me. What lights up my face when reading about, or viewing? It turned out to be anything domestic. I am a true blue, modern day poster child for the 1950's housewife wanna-be. And then I started thinking about the real 1950's housewives I have known in my life: my two grandmothers. Neither were the type of housewife I have envisioned from the reruns of Leave it to Beaver, or I Love Lucy. Nor were they the type of housewife I have envisioned myself one day becoming; the kind that gets her kids ready for school, bakes a pie in a frilly apron, and then sits around by the pool playing poker and sipping margaritas with the other housewives of the neighborhood. To explain to you what kind of housewives they were I will have to tell you the background of each.Minnie Frances Hamilton Guinn, (I affectionately refer to her as Granny) was born on December 31, 1929, during the time of the depression. She had 5 brothers and sisters. Her father worked on the railroad; hewas gone during the week, and came home only on the weekends. Granny once told me that when she and her sisters heard the whistle of the train coming through town on friday, they would promptly run inside the house and replace their trousers with dresses, because their father believed that true ladies only wore skirts and dresses. Granny was married to my grandfather at 16 years old. At this point, she took on the duties that were expected of a "housewife" during that time. She woke up with the rooster (literally), and prepared a large breakfast for the family, usually eggs, bacon/sausage, biscuits and gravy. She milked and fed the cows, raised chickens, and plowed and tilled the crops right along with my grandfather. In the heat of summer she would strip tobacco along with the men, wearing long sleeves and a large hat because she did not want her pale skin to freckle. Although she worked out in the field, she was a tiny woman with auburn hair and bright green eyes, and took great pride in her appareance. She would return to the house to cook a large meal for my grandfather and the work hands. For this she usually cooked fried chicken, mashed poatoes, corn bread and vegetables. She always had a cake or a pie, as well. She cooked just as large of a meal for dinner every night too. She also made her childrens clothes. In fact, if they had had Project Runway in her younger days, there is no doubt in my mind she would have taken home first prize. She knitted elaborate doilies, and made quilts. She gardened and mowed and planted the entire 2 acre lot their home sits on. She did it all, and looked absolutely stunning while doing it too. Her beauty, and poise are still talked about by all who know her.
Norma Lea Courson Martin, (who I affectional call Ma) was born in Raleigh, MO on February 11, 1927. She always joked that she was a day older than Abraham Lincoln. Her father also worked on the railroad and died when she was young. Ma had her fair share of tradgies in her early days. Her older sister died during childbirth, and her mother and little sister died during a large flood in the 1940's. Ma met my Nandaddy while she was working at a local soda fountain downtown Raleigh. He was a soldier stationed in the area, and when he saw her he spilt a milkshake all down the front of his pants. They married and she moved to a large farm with a tiny farmhouse in the boonedocks of Horse Cave, KY where my Nandaddy's family was from. They lived in a tiny civil war house on a 30 acre farm, that had no running water, and no heat. The fireplaces in the room served as the only sources of heat. My grandmother was said to have farmed that entire piece of land on her own, milking cows, and raising crops, while my grandfather was out "loafing", or politicing since he was a public offical in our county. She was an involved member of the Waterloo Homemakers club. She did it all. She made ceramics, pottery, quilts, jewelry. She had a green thumb that is still talked about in our town to this day. She always had english roses and bleeding heart plants. She could make anything grow. She was also a phenomenal cook. Her angel biscuits, meatloaf, and apple pie were some of my favorites. And I have recently inhereted her recipe for homemade pralines, that I will always regard as a deep family secret. She was one of the most giving and loving people I have ever known in my life. (I see so much of her in my father.) Both of my grandmothers were complete and total SUPERWOMEN!! All of the talents that they perfected are quickly becoming dying arts. They did everything a man did, AND everything a woman was expected to do, and they did it all in pearls, dresses, and high-heels. Therefore, my mission, is to live up to the legacy that these amazing woman paved for me. I plan to learn the trades they mastered, and do them with as much grace, poise, and style as they did.
Wish me luck, I have big high-heels to fill!

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