Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Come From a Long Line..

..of really strong women. I wish I had more pictures to share with you - but I am at work..

In Short - my Mother's Mother, Ruth Alice, immigrated to America all by herself from Sweden. She could not speak a word of English. She had secured a job as an upstairs maid for an affluent family. To make sure she got to the exact address when she arrived, she wore a tag about her neck advising where she needed to be 'delivered'. While she was was here, she met and fell in love and married another Swedish immigrant and together they started a pipe fitting company fulfilling their own American Dream just before having a child. Sadly the depression caused that business to collapse. My Grandfather, Eric allowed that financial catastrophe to ruin his life. Instead of starting over, he settled for a mill working job that he hated, began to drink and took it out on my Grandmother and my Mother, their only child.

My Mother was told on a regular basis by her Father that it was a waste of money to educate a woman. She was denied financial assistance to further her education and although she held up to 3 jobs at a time trying to pay for it herself, she could not make the money needed to continue. Upon the urging of her Mother, she looked to better her life. She refused to date men whom she thought resembled her Father and shared his attitude towards women. She attained a position at a prominent hospital working in the blood lab. She dated a very prominent doctor, but had an unsettled feeling about him as she accepted his engagement ring.

Then it happened. She met my Father. Within the week, she broke off her engagement and ..well - the rest is history!

My Father shared this story with me again shortly before he passed away. He added that all of the nurses hated my Mother citing that she was not 'good' enough to date a doctor, since her lab position was lower than a registered nurse. He told me that she had a brilliant mind and if given the chance she could have and would have become a doctor herself. I believe that! However, I believe my Mother knew something else too; women who devote themselves to big careers such as that, often do not make good Mothers... if for nothing else, lack of time. In marrying Dad, she left her medical dreams behind and did an amazing job raising her children and was a wonderful Grandmother as well. She did go back to college though, only this time pursuing something she had a natural talent for, Interior Design and later opening her own business called Classic Design.

I know that throughout my Mother's life, she had to fight for her self esteem. It was not only her Father and those nurses who kept trying to put her in her place. She again had to deal with it from some family members on my Fathers side and from of the other doctors wives! Looking back, I remember details that now make sense, but she ALWAYS got back up when she was knocked down...ALWAYS!

Today would have been my Mother's 85th birthday. I miss her so. It is hard to believe she has been gone almost 6 years, but there is one thought that makes me smile. She is in heaven. She is in heaven wearing her beautiful 25 year old body... and I am sure Dad (who joined her in May of this year) is enjoying the view!

1 comment:

Helen said...

Julie, I really enjoyed reading your post! I was reminded of a charming film that won the Indie Spirit Award five or six years ago ~~
"Sweet Land" ... I think you would really enjoy it.