oh, maw maw betty: a series of posts highlighting old family photos and the stories they tell

5 Jan

*i hope to highlight different individuals from my family over a series of posts and tell their stories. today, i’ll start with the matriarch of our family, maw maw betty.

growing up, she was always grandma betty to me, but the girls said maw maw instead of grandma, so it stuck. maw maw betty she is.

i’ve been meaning to get to a post about grandmother’s and her, specifically, for quite some time, but never did have the pictures i wanted. when i was back in mt. vernon for my cousin’s funeral, we spent a lot of time at my grandma’s house looking through the box of photos i never did get to pore over before i moved in july. she gave me free reign and came home with the mother-lode.

she was born to jesse and lola belle on december 26, 1926, and just celebrated her 83rd birthday. she has been a solid, constant source of love in my life and has held the family together through her stoic grace & determination in her faith. she is an unapologetic southern baptist who regards her family in terms of their own faith, which is why keep my views to myself. i don’t need her praying over me and my 5 jews any more than she already does.

my grandma took care of her family when her husband couldn’t do it, for one reason or another. she supported 6 kids on meager wages because she was forced to and she still works now because she needs to more than she wants to. i still don’t know all of the stories about why she had to work, but it was required and i have an inkling of an idea, but will have to share those stories when i know them.

on to the photos.

aunt mary & maw maw betty
aunt mary & maw maw betty in 1929. desolate times in southern illinois, but they didn’t complain. they had their family and that was enough.

1st grade class - 1932
1st grade – 1932. in the heart of the depression.

8th grade
8th grade, with pin curls and satin.

maw maw betty, my mom, grandpa fred
i’m amazed that she is so teeny-tiny with a 5 – 6 month old. and i love love love this dress.

maw maw betty & my mom
with my mom, otherwise known as sloth from the goonies.

ugh - no words
i die. this is just beautiful. i have no other words for this photo.

cop a squat
i can just hear her giggle as she holds up my mom. i’m also completed surprised she would do this.

pregnant with jay
not sure of the year, maybe 1961, but it’s the only picture i’ve ever seen of her pregnant.

she always was direct
this picture floors me with it’s stark beauty.

lsbc bulletin photo
the clan without my grandpa in the church bulletin. they had 6 children in 14 years and my mom said there were at least 2 miscarriages. the kids’ names all start with J and their middles initials are B, C, D, E, F starting with the 2nd child. my mom disn’t have a middle name until she took her maiden name when she married.

i have this muumuu and plan to refashion it into a sundress before next summer. it reminds me of sunday mornings and golden grahams.

the photos are only memories of a time gone by and a life lived hard. she’s my hero for what she’s done and what she still does. she’d fight tooth and nail for us and is our rock. i can’t bear the thought of what will pass when she does. she held us together when sean died and i wonder who will hold us together when she does.


5 Responses to “oh, maw maw betty: a series of posts highlighting old family photos and the stories they tell”

  1. Molly January 15, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    I just stumbled across your blog and had to comment on this post. These are wonderful photos! Thanks for sharing them.

  2. MDTaz January 8, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    I looked at these old photographs of yours again and again, mesmerized by the details. The immediacy and easy sharing of digital photography is great, but I’m stunned by the way these old pictures can hold your attention for so long. I recently went through a stack of my mother’s photos, with pictures of her mother (from the 1930s and 40s!) and I think I spent hours perusing them one by one. Thanks for this li’l moment of nostalgia for other (seemingly) simple times.

  3. Cheryl Glenn January 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

    Loved this, Jenny! So cool to see some of your family pictures!

  4. Kim January 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    I have a Grandma Betty too, also born in 1926!

  5. Jett January 5, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    This right here? What weblogs are for.

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