In today’s continuation of the A-Z Challenge, I give you:
G is for Grandmothers – The Shapers of Me
Not everyone gets along with their grandmothers, but as a child growing up without a mother, my grandmothers were both mother figures for my child-self.
My maternal grandmother raised me when I was very young as my parents divorced, and she continued to do so until I was five-and-a-half. At that point, my father gained custody of me.
Grandma Lanoe was a public school teacher, and by age three, I was reading and writing. She gave me my joy of the written word and encouraged me to question and explore.
I have fond memories of trying to stretch tiny fingers across the keys of her old upright piano and drinking too much grape juice at the Methodist Church on Sundays.
Sadly, she died when I was in elementary school, so she never saw me grow up to follow in her footsteps as a public school teacher. Nor did she see me become a published author. But her love of knowledge shaped me into the reader and writer I am today.
At first, I didn’t get along with my paternal grandmother. She was crotchety and very religious. She was a high-school drop-out (though she later graduated with her GED in her 50’s) and not a fan of questions. But she loved reading and encouraged me to read nightly before falling asleep.
Being raised by a father was difficult for many obvious and not-so-obvious reasons. As I grew older, Grandma Esther was my go-to for a great number of concerns, questions, and ideas about the world around me.
She didn’t always agree with my decisions and often tsked at my purple hair or liberal thoughts, but regardless of what I said or did, she supported and loved me. She invited my husband, Erik, into the family and loved him, too (though she hated his long hair).
Her birthday was April 1. I used to spend April Fool’s Day trying to pull one over on her, with varying success, and she’d laugh at the absurdity of my pranks. As a child, I spent several summers up in Michigan with her, curled up together as we read long into the night. As April 1 passed, I curled up in bed with a book and remembered. She never got to see me published either, but I know she’d be proud.
Two completely different women, yet they shaped the very ridges of my soul in ways that I discover still, long after their passing.
This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays) in the month of May, I’ll be posting about people, places, books, games, and other things that influence me as a writer or add a certain magic to my life. Join me in April as we explore a Hodge-Podge of Influences & Wayward Treks through the Fantastical.