Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Twelve Things In Tribute To My Grandmother On Her Birthday

My paternal grandmother, Irene Hooper Hutsell, was born on this day in 1902, and to honor her I thought I would share twelve things about her.

1. Her family once owned a significant amount of land in Keller, Texas and what is now South Lake. But when her father died when she was eight years old, her mother sold most of it to support herself and her three children. 

2. She did not have a middle name. 

3. She grayed very early in life (attributed to scarlet fever) and always seemed old to me. By the time I was born she had a full head of silvery white hair. She was 59 the year I was born, an age I have now surpassed, yet I don't feel as old as she seemed to me as a child.

4. She could grow anything, and had beautiful vegetable and flower gardens. A trait that sadly, did not pass on to me 

5. She lived her entire life in Keller, Texas. The house she lived in throughout my lifetime is now the parking lot of a Baptist Church. But at the back of the property where the house used to stand, is a patch of grass that was never disturbed, and every time I visit Texas I make that trip, take off my shoes and bury my toes deep into that soil. 

6. She had false teeth that never fit right and were prone to slipping out of her mouth. Because of that, she would grit her teeth in public when she spoke, giving her a stern demeanor. But the minute she got home, she would take them out and her entire composure changed. She had a soft, wrinkly smile and wild hair. That’s the way I prefer to remember her.

7. She never learned to drive.

8. She was an excellent cook and I have several of her recipes. I will never be as good as her, but that’s a trait that did pass on to me. 

9. She never had much and her house was very old, but I learned how to make any home inviting by her example. Her home was always cozy, and warm. 

10. I was born on my grandparent's 39th wedding anniversary, November 11, 1961.

11. She LOVED magazines and always had several on the coffee table that she was perusing. She cut out the Betsy McCall paper doll from McCall's magazine every month and would have it waiting for me to play with when we came to visit!

12. She was a devout member of the Church of Christ and “disowned” me in 1982 when I married a Baptist. She didn’t have anything, so she basically never spoke to me again. I’m a lot like her in many ways, and just as stubborn, so I told myself I didn’t care and went on with my life. When she died I found out that she kept a picture of me in my wedding dress beside her bed. I also learned a few years ago that her grandfather was a Baptist preacher and her own mother (his daughter), was raised a Baptist. I often wonder how her grandfather felt about his daughter leaving the Baptist church, maybe he disowned her, too? At any rate, if I allowed myself to linger long in regret, not mending that relationship would be one. She’s one of the first people I hope to see again in heaven. We have a lot of time to make up for!

Happy Heavenly Birthday, Grandma!

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