Thursday, July 21, 2011

10 things about my Maternal Grandma

1.       Her name was Urath Cromwell Cockey Gibson.
2.       Today, July 21, 2011 would have been her 100th birthday. 
3.       She was born in 1911 and when she was of school age her grandmother insisted that she come live in the city because surely the country schools were not going to teach her much.  Her grandmother was a woman who was born in the 1850’s and so she imparted her Victorian ideals on her young charge.  As a result my grandmother was very Victorian in her manner and attitudes, and yet, she was also very modern.  She didn’t marry til she was 28 years old and she didn’t start having children until she was in her 30’s.  Her last child wasn’t born til after she turned 40.  But here’s the most amazing thing about all that to me…she was living in West Virginia, it was the 30’s and 40’s and she had a FEMALE OB/GYN!  How progressive is that? 
4.       Grandma was always reading and the best advice she ever gave to me was to always carry a book with me and I’d never be bored.  I wonder how she’d feel about Kindles?
5.       Grandma got her college degree when she was 78 years old.  She took a computer course cause she was so curious about what everyone on tv was talking about.  She never quite understood the “information superhighway” but she wanted to know all about it.  She also took a typing class and when she couldn’t type fast enough for the timed tests she would hold up her 77 year old hands and tell the teacher she was going as fast as she could and the teacher would let her off!  (As I had just struggled through typing class in high school I was quite incensed by her ability to get away with this!  Ironically now I make my living typing.)
6.       At her funeral the eulogist said that grandma had “boundless curiosity” and I realized in that moment that I had inherited that trait from her.  She was curious about everything and everyone she met.  She pat the space beside her and say “Come sit here and tell me what exactly it is you do?  Where do you work?  What did you study to get there? Where do you live?  Where are you from?  Where are your parents now? How do you parents like this life you’ve chosen?  What do they do? 
7.       She liked company but wasn’t shy about shooing you out of her house when she’d had enough for one day.  I remember going to visit my grandparents on Sundays when I was a child.  When 60 Minutes came on at 7pm silence was called and all the grandchildren had to settle down.  I remember lying on the oriental rug in front of the tv watching the show.  I didn’t understand most of the stories, but I loved that ticking stopwatch and to this day when I watch it I feel like my grandfather is over my left shoulder.  As soon as the show was over Grandma would order everyone out, it was time to get home so we wouldn’t be driving late at night.
8.       Grandma loved a view.  Her house sat on a hill and her favorite chair was by a window where she could watch the birds and the cows and the traffic on a nearby road.  She passed that down to my mother and to me as well. 
9.       She was fascinated by the weather!  She should have been on the news talking about the weather.  She had a rain gauge always and in later years when the electronic weather stations were small and affordable my uncle bought her one, then she would tell you all about the windspeed and rainfall and anything else you might want to know about the weather that week at her house.
10.   Grandma died several years ago, but she lived a very full life.  She was very independent and died in the home that she and Grandaddy had built back in the 30’s.  She lived alone from the time my grandfather died in 1980 until her illness at the end of her life when she had 24 hour nursing care.  I never heard her express regret about any part of her life.  She always seemed content to me.  I wish she was still alive so I could ask her about a million questions that I never thought of while she was living.


  1. Hi Sarah!
    I love this article about your grandmother, Great memories of her. She indeed was a wonderful lady, and a great imspiration to you. I am also reading some of your blog posts very interesting. I'am trying to lose weight also, hummmn!! welllll trying!! I will look up the book "Eat That Frog" maybe it can give me some tips.. Thanks for posting such great articles. I look forward to reading all of them.

  2. Halo dear Sarah! I read your comment on Andrea's blog and wanted to say a succulent virtual hello;-)

  3. i can see how much you love your grandma. I super4 love my grandma too.. :-)deer antler velvet

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  5. sounds like she would have adored the kindle!