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  • Meredith Whiteley

Listening

Updated: Mar 6

It’s sad how we don’t think of our grandparents, or even parents, as ever being young. Grandma Ollie was just “Grandma” to me-- gray-haired drier of my tears when I scraped knees, chauffeur when Mother wasn’t available. She was the one who let me drive the old Ford pickup week after week behind the milk barn when I was only 14. It scared her white when I almost drove us over the edge of the in-ground silo, but we were out there again the next week. She had courage.


Grandma was quiet, humble, strong. She was up at four every morning to help milk the cows, slapping cows in line before hurrying into the kitchen to make the big breakfast, do the housework, maybe watch the grandchildren, run to town, or Women’s Missionary Society. I had to learn later from other people that she was she was a cutup with her girlfriends when she was young. That she was in love with a boy whose family considered her beneath him. I didn’t know she quit school at fourteen when the School Board did away with girls’ baseball and basketball because they believed vigorous physical activity was harmful to girls’ health. I can see now how that decision set the course for the rest of her life.


I wish I had talked to her about these things.

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