Archive for the ‘Feminists: To Be or Not To Be’ Category

“Beauty is only skin deep,” Mama said as we sat in front of her vanity mirror. I was combing out her hair; she’d been in an accident as a young woman, hit from behind by a drunk driver and thrown through the windshield of her car. Her spine was damaged, and although fortunate to be alive, she was gradually losing the use of her hands. They were beautiful hands to me, the hands of a loving grandmother.

It’s funny how words spoken so casually can stay with a person for so long. This memory is over fifty years old, yet I remember it quite vividly as I write. I can still see my grandmother sitting there as we chatted, and feel how loved I was. A precious memory for me, because as I reflect on it now I feel safe and cherished all over again.

Even as an adolescent I realized that with those words Mama was trying to impart a kernel of wisdom to my young mind. But the thought occurs to me now that perhaps my grandmother was sharing a truth she had learned the hard way, and was trying to save me from pain she herself had experienced.

My grandmother was a pleasant-looking woman in her late fifties, and although she was beautiful to me, she would not have been what our society considered pretty. She was raised poor in rural southern Georgia by Catholic nuns, and I am fairly certain she “had to get married,” though she never spoke of it. After her children were reared Mama worked in the family businesses, and she was a talented, skillful professional woman. But this was at a time when business acumen in a female was not necessarily valued. A woman’s worth was all about what was on the outside; very little attention was paid to the inner beauty of the “gentler sex.” They, like children, were supposed to be seen and not heard. It upsets me and makes me angry to imagine that this wonderful and caring woman may have had to put up with slights and insults as a result of her looks and developing disability when she was actually a very sharp, intelligent, and beautiful woman.

So, maybe she was trying to warn me that afternoon, or perhaps she was only repeating a lesson she herself had been taught as a child. It doesn’t really matter now; it’s the memory of an enchanting moment in time that I treasure. Violet Burch Tidwell, a true crone: wise, loving and kind–and my amazing grandmother. I loved Mama dearly, and miss her mightily still today.

Happy Easter to any and all who come across this post.


This Old Crone


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: