June 10, 1913 – October 30, 1990
She was my father’s mother. She grew up in Missouri and went to school to be a Cosmetologist. I have her business card from 1935 when you could get a manicure or a hair cut for fifty cents or even a Henna rinse for a quarter.
And then she met my grandpa and fell in love. They married and she had three strapping boys. The oldest is my father.
Grandma Edith was diagnosed with tuberculosis and taken from her family to a sanitarium in Los Angeles. She had to stay there recovering, away from everyone she loved for a whole year. During this year, letters were their only communication and they went freely back and forth.
Grandpa still had to go to work so he would hire women to come in and care for the mischievous boys. I heard a lot of stories about the boys being a handful, repeatedly scaring off the women, so grandpa called his sister who came in and took control of his home and children until grandma returned.
When Grandma Edith finally returned to her home, husband and boys, she had three more children. A daughter, a son and then another girl. They raised six children who grew up, married and had children of their own.
This is where I come in. My dad had three girls. I am the middle one. When I would go to grandma’s house she got me started on my lifelong habit of cocoa and toast for breakfast. Although it is quite different now from what grandma gave me. Her milk came straight from the cow in the back yard and I believe she put a whole cup of sugar into the heating pan of cocoa. That was cocoa.
She knew my favorite cake was chocolate with pecan frosting and she would make it from scratch. I think it was the fourth of July when the whole family was there and grandma made several cakes. Mine she covered with foil and set aside. I remember someone lifting the edge of the foil and her telling them it was Terri’s cake. Yes, that was my grandma. Don’t tell my mom but I remember a time or two eating cake and milk for breakfast. I don’t think my grandma could tell me no.
Which reminds me of another time. I think I was seven. Grandma and my aunt took me to the store to let me pick my birthday present. I picked this beautiful doll with a red velvet dress. The bonnet and muff were trimmed in white fur. She actually wore nylons and little black velvet slippers. I watched my grandma and aunt dump their change purses onto the counter and count out change.
Yikes! Even at seven years old, I felt guilt! I was afraid it cost too much but they didn’t say that to the seven year old girl. I am sure it made my grandma happy to give her granddaughter the doll she wanted and my aunt counted out her change too, wanting to do whatever made her mother happy. I still have that doll today, she’s missing a leg, one nylon and one shoe. But she is beautiful and loved because my grandma gave her to me.
Grandma and grandpa lived five hours away and in the 1970’s when I was a teenager, my sister and I ran away … several times. (Hitch-hiked) Not just anywhere, we ran to grandma’s. My sweet grandma would take us in and call our mom.
They called my sisters and I and said if we wanted to see her that we should come now. They told my grandma to hold on, the girls where on their way.
We jumped in the car and drove the five hours to spend what few precious moments we had left with our grandma. She waited for us and passed away not long after we arrived.
I am sure my sisters also have stories of how grandma made them feel special but I kinda like to think that I was her favorite.
All images provided by Terri Underwood
Terri Underwood has always written women’s fiction because she finds it so much fun. Love, sex and relationships all have their ups and downs but without the downs, there would be no ups. She likes to look for the good moments in life and she learned that from her huge loving family who get together often for some of the most hilarious times. Terri is a professional who enjoys hiking, fishing and even camping. She’s a California girl who lived in Arizona for six years before running back to California. She didn’t come away empty-handed though, she learned to look at the sky in Arizona. The billions and billions of stars against a deep black sky, the clouds, beautiful sunsets and thunderstorms, isn’t that what romance is all about?