Life In My Grandmother's Time

by SidewalkPhilosopher

The world my grandmother knew was quieter and so removed from the world I grew up in, belonging to two generations before me.

Just as a hole is dug to plant a single rose so that it may experience prolonged life, in odd comparison, Earth was scooped out to mark the place of my grandmother’s grave. There she was left to rest in her own peaceful world. Years later, when I found the courage to visit her grave and stood over the cold marble headstone with her name engraved upon it, I felt such loss. The years melted away, revealing me again as that young adolescent girl who had just said goodbye to her best friend.

My Grandmother during her college days.
My Grandmother during her college days.

 

My grandmother, Mary Grace Martin Ledbetter, born September 11, 1896, lived with our family until her death in June of 1965, when I was fourteen years old. The following is based on my personal opinions, memories, and the times shared with my grandmother, when I was a child, growing up in Pendleton, South Carolina. I felt her loss for many years after her death and will always cherish the time we were together and the things I discovered about life from having known her. There is so much to be learned from those who are older and wiser than ourselves. They have traveled the road ahead of us, know the joys, the pitfalls, and the lessons we must learn. They are our roadmap to our tomorrows, if we take the time to view life through their eyes.

The world she knew was quieter and so removed from the world I grew up in, belonging to two generations before me.

It was more than just the clothes she wore. There was greater time for reflection, to really see the treasures God had in store for every living thing.

As a teenager, her mode of travel was a horse and buggy, water was still taken fresh and cold from a well found on the back porch of her home, and the food for her table came from a garden grown by her father’s own hands.

There was more family time after the evening meal and children were cherished by every family member.

My grandmother was fortunate to have been afforded a college degree from Anderson Junior College, in Anderson, South Carolina, where she received an award in Public Speaking. Within the perimeter of this beautiful area of South Carolina, she made her home her entire life. She married my grandfather, Daniel Ralston Ledbetter, after college.

Raising two daughters, Nancy Ellen and Martha Grace, during the depression, was difficult for my grandmother. She sold her diamond wedding ring to buy food for the family during those stressful times.

My grandmother lost her beloved husband, Ralston, to cancer at an early age, when her youngest daughter was only 18.

"MEMORIES' PATH"

Just as a hole is dug to plant a single rose so that it may experience prolonged life, in odd comparison, Earth was scooped out to mark the place of my grandmother’s grave. There she was left to rest in her own peaceful world.

Years later, when I found the courage to visit her grave and stood over the cold marble headstone with her name engraved upon it, I felt such loss. The years melted away, revealing me again as that young adolescent girl who had just said goodbye to her best friend.

But, as I stood there in the misting rain, looking at the exposed clay, the dried flowers at the grave’s head, and the rusty, old wrought iron fence, I realized that she was not a part of this picture. She was alive and well, not only in wait somewhere not yet experienced by me, but alive inside of me.

As I stood in the old cemetery at Townville Baptist Church that day, I began to pass through time, going back to the years she and I had spent together. I remembered all the moments we had shared and all of the things she had taught me. As long as I live, those memories will keep her alive.

Furthermore, as I teach my children and grandchildren all that I have learned, she again lives on in them. This is God’s plan and my grandmother can be proud of her legacy.

When I was a small child, death was never a part of my life. My days were spent simply living out the joys of every bright day. Not until I suffered the loss of my grandparents did I begin to realize how precious life is to each of us and just how much we all take it for granted.

Once I heard that each time a person dies, at the same moment, a baby takes its first breath. In these days, as we know them, where an unborn life is measured by economics and personal desire, people have totally forgotten the value of our most precious gift. A life is to be molded, nurtured, and loved with a higher value than any other on Earth.

Living is, in my time, like a racehorse running through each day at a pace much too fast to enjoy the little pleasures of my grandmother’s day. We are all in a hurry to succeed, seeing in success real happiness!

But, though I see many people with this so-called success, I see few smiling faces.

My grandmother lost her beloved husband, Ralston, to cancer at an early age, when her youngest daughter was only 18.

However, through life’s trials, my grandmother always took time to enjoy her existence, valued life, and enjoyed the simple, God-given pleasures.

She spent summer evenings sitting on the front porch forming pictures in her mind from the clouds overhead.

We sat together many nights when I was a child, quietly searching the moonlit sky for a shooting star so that we could make a wish.

She loved the sunset and marveled at the frightening strength of a storm.

My grandmother’s life evolved around God and her family. If we would slow down a little, we just might find out that we have passed happiness by and, in waiting a moment, we give it a chance to catch up with us.

Through my grandmother, I learned to love the old as well as the young.

Through her, I learned the value of life both when obtained and, in her death, when lost.

Now, as my grandmother lies in her newfound, peaceful world, she waits patiently to be rejoined with me someday.

In the meantime, as I write the pages of my own family’s memories, she walks with me along the path of mine.

My Grandmother at 16 years old...
My Grandmother at 16 years old...
As a young woman...
As a young woman...
With her daughters...
With her daughters...
My Grandfather...
My Grandfather...
Updated: 03/08/2017, SidewalkPhilosopher
 
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Tell me something about your grandparents time!


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Bobski606 19 days ago

A lovely post and a credit to your family.

Veronica 20 days ago

Just beautiful. You are obviously capable great love and have a hug capacity for it . This I feel was inherited from this very beautiful woman.

You are very blessed.

VioletteRose 20 days ago

What a beautiful writing, I am always interested in reading about the life of those who have lived here before we came along. This is such a great tribute to your grandmother and excellent writing. The images from the past are beautiful and much valuable treasure as they show the beauty of life in another time.

dustytoes 21 days ago

This is a beautiful tribute to your grandmother.

frankbeswick 21 days ago

This article combined a lovely subject matter with language that was concise and beautifully constructed. The observations about life blended well with the narrative and were wisely made.

Mira 21 days ago

She sounds like a woman who has known serenity. By the way, you do look like her, Eugenia!

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