AM I THE ONLY ONE . . . . who still misses their granny?

Donna Hale Chandler

My granny, Rebecca Diamond, was a woman born years before her time.  She was a mixture of pioneer woman and refined lady.  She would deliver the mail on horseback over the hills of Kentucky during the week and on Sunday, put on her white gloves, black patent-leather shoes and matching purse and go to church.  Becky, as most people called my granny was born in 1896.  She married my grandfather, Oscar in 1912, at the ripe old age of 16.

I don’t remember much about my grandfather because when I was only 4 years old Granny divorced him, never to speak to him again.  In 1953, a woman filing for divorce in the hills of Kentucky was an unheard of happening.  Being a divorced female in those days carried the stigma of being a ‘loose woman’.  Granny evidently made the decision that getting rid of the womanizer she had married was worth a small black mark to her reputation.

Even though Granny seemed quite ‘refined’ to me, when we would talk quietly and share a cup of tea, she was still ‘country’ through and through.  I can see her now in my mind’s eye as she ‘saucered’ her tea if it was too hot to drink.  I would try to do the same thing but always seems to spill and make a mess.  Pouring just a little bit of tea into the saucer and drinking from that while still holding your teacup takes some practice.  I stayed with her a week each summer.  There was no running water and I thought it was great fun to get cold water from the well.  I didn’t even mind the trips to the outhouse when bathroom trips were necessary.  Granny had plenty of bags on lime in the toilet which took care of any unpleasant orders.  If nature’s call occurred in the middle of the night, there was a chamber pot under the bed that was pulled out and used, then emptied the next morning once the sun was up.  I wasn’t really enthused about making use of it, just as I was not very appreciative of the warm cow’s milk that my uncle would bring to her in quart mason jars after the cows were milked each morning.

As an adult, when I look back on those days, things must have been terribly difficult for Granny, as a woman alone, but I never remember hearing a complaint or a bad word come from her lips.  She always had a smile and a good word for those around her.  Her sons kept her coal house full so she would have coal for her cook-stove and for her fireplace in the winter.  I think she was quite happy in her world.  At least I hope that she was.

I recall my younger sister telling me of a shopping trip with our mother and Granny.  The outing was particularly to have Granny properly fitted for a bra – or brassier as they were called at that time.  The trip ‘to town’ was a special occasion for the three females and included lunch at a small diner on the edge of town.  My mother and sister both ordered hamburgers and French fries.  Granny told the waitress that she would have the same except she didn’t want the fries.  As a matter of fact, she didn’t want the hamburger either – just a bun would do her just fine.

I’m sure an entire book could be written about Granny and her amazing life as a woman on her own after surviving the Great Depression.  I know for sure that when she passed away in 1981 at the age of 85, she had seen much, influenced countless lives and is still missed by many friends and family who loved her.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.