Monday, June 29, 2009

Determination

Aunt Nora married young, raised a family, buried a husband, sold a farm, and in her twilight years wanted to acquire something she'd missed...her education. When she announced she was going back for her GED, friends and family generally heard this with hidden smiles or raised eyebrows. The way Nora looked at it, she would be 76 years old anyway, might as well arrive at that birthday milestone a little smarter.


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I was never extremely close to her - liked her, don't get me wrong, but she was one of several much older Indian females in the family who bossed or babysat me, and while I enjoyed her company, I wasn't fond of feeding the chickens or gathering eggs. Chickens pooped too much and were insidious peckers, and once I had seen one of them drop an egg out of its butt, I'd refused to eat hen fruit for some time.
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Little did I know that decades later I would discover something else about Nora - years after she'd passed away, I found out she loved writing and researching family history. She kept in touch with a cousin near her age who'd been adopted and moved to the east coast. Somehow, thanks to the internet and inquisitive minds, I connected with that older woman's daughter, and we've shared photos and information. Annmarie sent me the pic above of Aunt Nora with my great-great grandmother, Alice (Nora's mom), who used to make me drink the most godawful herbal teas whenever I was sick. Indian medicine, don't ya know?
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It's strange, the things we remember from childhood. Stranger still are speculations as to what my descendants will say about me - lol. They won't have to point to my kids and say that I carried them across state lines - literally - walking with a covered wagon, surviving yellow fever, a husband drowning in his twenties, leaving me with three babies, which is what happened to Grandmother Margaret, to the left. They won't be able to bring up the American Civil War, or even Viet Nam, other than to mention I was drafted (Uncle Sam thought I was male, not female, until I showed up in a mini skirt for the physical).
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On days that I whine about how bad I feel or that I have a case of writer's block, during nights when I can't seem to stop writing on what promises to be utter crap that nobody will buy, occasionally I think of the women who walked different paths but had similar dreams of success, ones who loved the written word.
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And I know that while I wouldn't trade places with any of them for all the book contracts in the world, I envy them the raw determination that must've fed their souls, the sheer will power to get up every morning to do what had to be done....
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...without benefit of Starbucks, Sara Lee, Microsoft, Polaroid, or Vera Wang flip flops, which feel great, by the way.
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Here's hoping you all have a good week and find strength you didn't realize (or forgot) you had. Happy writing,

~Sunny Lyn

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3 Comments:

At 5:45 AM, Blogger Michele said...

I swear, your post has got to be THE most fascinating I've read in a long time!
The history! The legacy! Your memories. Truly inspiring. And to find out that the writer's gene runs in the family? How cool is that?
VERY.
What a wonderful thing it is to be reminded that woman CAN do and Have done so much during a time when men thought we couldn't. We just did it anyway.
In our own modern way, we still do.
Have a great week, Lyn!

 
At 8:18 AM, Blogger Liz Wolfe said...

I love looking at photos like those -- even when they aren't of my family. How cool that you were able to hook up with Annemarie and share them.
I don't feel bad for you about the chickens though. I had to slop the hogs.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

aaw, thanks, michele!

hogs, liz? YOU? cannot imagine the smell - ugh.

and yeah, it was great hooking up with annmarie - she's been amazing. it's like we've known each other for years, and she has some fascinating tales about her side of the family. I grew up in what was once Indian Territory, so I had all the stuff her side had missed, and she's added a lot to enrich the history with what she's added.

hugs!

 

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