Growing up we lived next to my maternal grandparents who had a farm. (ee-i-ee-ii-oo!) I spent a lot of time with them and consider them to be a great influence on my life, and am very thankful for the experience.
My grandmother was truly a strong and independent woman with a wonderful smile and great laughter. I am proud to say that I am taller than she was at my 5’2″ (when I have been doing my yoga that is!) A feisty redhead from a large family, Gram (known as Trixie to her friends in her youth) was in the middle of the brood of eight children and the apple of her father’s eye.
Born in 1893 she was a forward thinking woman who had her own bank account throughout her marriage – at a time when most women did not even know about finances. She was a thrifty saver that used that money to decorate the house or purchase special things from her account. Gram also loved poetry, read extensively and was a good baker.
Gram was also fiercely competitive – I think having all those siblings made her that way! She taught me to play checkers at a very young age. While she willingly taught a child to play, she did not let me win! It took me a couple of years until I could beat her – I endured endless shouts of “king me” while her deep brown eyes danced with joy.
I came very close to winning many times, but not quite. Gram made me a persistent child, and woman, as I tried and tried to beat her at checkers. And finally one day it just happened – no fanfare, no shout, just surprise on my part as I finally WON!!!! I think that I was in a state of shock as I started to realize that indeed I had just beat my grandmother at checkers. There was silence. Silence as she appeared to be sulking over my win. She seemed unhappy to have lost. I do not think that she was unhappy that I won however, just that she did not like losing.
I learned quite a lesson that day. I learned that strong and independent women do not give up – ever. They work hard, they practice the things that they do not do well. And in time, perhaps years, but in due time they do succeed.
Oh by the way, Gram and I did continue to play checkers and sometimes I won, and sometimes she won. She was always patient. And in time she taught me other board games, I do not remember much about who won and who lost those games but I have never forgotten the thrill of winning at checkers for the first time. What a great feeling, even all these years later.