I was watching tv the other day and there was an interview with Robin Roberts and her mother, who had just written a book together. Watching Mrs. Roberts reminded me so much of my one grandmother - she was a pianist and had many of the same standards and, well, she said some things that were just so much like her. The memories came flooding back. And I found myself thinking about Grandma and wondering about her life.
She told me once that her father was an alcoholic and life was difficult for her and her family because of it. My grandmother was born in 1898. Recently I learned that life was life difficult for women back in the early part of the 1900s because of rampant alcoholism among men - and the fact that women had few rights on their own so they were often victims of domestic abuse, with no way out of horrible situations. It's the reason that the suffragette movement started - and the temperance movement as well. Cady Stanton, one of the leaders of that movement, was a huge warrior for women's rights. So, my grandmother would have been growing up right in that era, when women could become virtual prisoners in their homes, not much more than unpaid labor who suffered abusive treatment. What was her life like?
Did she see her mother beaten? Did she get beaten herself? She had 4 siblings ranging in age over twenty years, so her mother - my great-grandmother - was a busy woman for sure. The poor woman must have suffered terribly.
Sometimes I wish I could time-travel to visit my ancestors for a day in their lives. How much more appreciative would I be about the people they were, the challenges they faced, the fact that from them I have come, becoming the person I am in part because of their experiences. (For instance, my grandparents and then my parents were all teetotalers ) And how I wish my grandmother were still alive so I could find out more about her early life, and appreciate her history so much more.