Friday, July 16, 2010

"She's A Lady....."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, she's a lady.
She always knows her place -
She's got style, she's got grace..."
(Paul Anka)

I don't know how Grandma would have felt about Tom Jones singing "She's A Lady" to her though I think she would have gotten a kick out of it.
I've always thought of Grandma Bessie Lynam as a 'lady'. Specifically the definition "a woman of refinement and gentle manners" as opposed to the definition "a woman of superior social position".
This picture of her was taken in front of her house at 811 10th Street in Corning. It was her last visit to her home. She had been in the care center for several years but when her house was sold and was going to be torn down, we took her back for a last visit.
I've always loved this picture of my grandmother. Her sweetness and gentleness show through her slight smile. When my hair was long I wore it twisted up in a knot just like she wore hers because I wanted to be like her.
Growing up, we were much closer to Mom's mom than we were to Dad's. I suppose it was natural that we spent more time with Grandma Ridnour. I can remember when I got old enough to reason, I questioned why I thought I liked Grandma Ridnour better when Grandma Lynam was so much "nicer". From reading my diaries I can see I spent much more time at Grandma Lynam's after I started high school - sometimes going to her house for lunch, other times spending the night. Her house was a block from the high school.
Bessie Lucille Duncan was born one hundred nineteen years ago today - July 16, 1891. Her parents were farmers. Her Grandmother Aggie was a 'grass widow'. She raised her little girl alone. (Bessie's mother, Flora.) I doubt any of Grandma's family ever had much money. Had she been born in different circumstances, I'm sure she could have quite easily been a LADY.
Years ago, I had a dream about Grandma and Barbara Graham. Barbara was the wife of the owner of The Graham Group where I was employed in Des Moines. Barbara really was a lady - rich and refined and so very nice. In the dream I walked into the dining room of a fancy country club and there was my Grandmother having lunch with Barbara Graham. When I showed surprise that Grandma was there, Barbara said she didn't know why I was surprised - that my grandmother was a delightful woman. I analyzed that dream pretty easily - two ladies enjoying one another's presence.

This picture of Grandma Bessie and her first grandchild, my brother Ronald, was taken in April, 1941 on the front porch of our house. Ron was almost a year old. Grandma had seven grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren at the time of her death August 14, 1987 - less than a month after her 96th birthday. I doubt Brock, Zachary or Katrina remember her but we do have pictures of them taken with her.
If I could choose any relative to really know, it would be my Grandma Lynam. She was a rather private person, maybe not much different than others of her generation, but she didn't talk about her past or her feelings.
She was more likely to drink her tea out of a saucer than to hold her teacup with an extended pinkie - she was still a lady in my book.

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