Portraits of My Grandmother
Cue the Scarlett O’Hara accent. The stone pineapple statues on the front porch to symbolize that you’re welcome. The goodies on the kitchen table and rice cooking on the stove. Don’t forget the pound cake, old photos, stacks of books, and the History Channel playing on the TV. Oh, and the legendary catfish stew. Let’s not leave that out.
Welcome to my grandmother’s house.
My grandmother, Betty Anne, lives in rural South Carolina, just miles down the road from where I grew up. She grew up in Charleston during World War II and really does have the antebellum lilt of Scarlett O’Hara. So, for instance, my dad’s name is Robert, but when she says it, it’s “Robuhht.” And Charleston becomes “Chahhlstun.”
She’s in a wheelchair because of a fall and hip fracture from years ago, but her mind is still tack sharp. When I visit her at her home, I can usually find her in front of the TV watching the History Channel or Gunsmoke. And every time I go home, she has a history lesson for me and anyone else who will listen.
We also get a lot of stories of her growing up during the war era. Her father worked at the Navy yard at the Charleston harbor. We’ve heard so many fascinating stories about growing up in such a strange time.
When I visited her last month for Christmas, she was deep into research on the multiple assassination attempts on President Truman. She was perplexed that she had one of the dates wrong, so she had her caretaker look up more information on her smartphone and read the findings out loud.
I knew I wanted to get photos of my grandmother this trip; she is my only surviving grandparent. And she told me that she searched her closet specifically for a red blouse to wear on Christmas day, and she had had her hair curled for the occasion. She even brought out her good pearls. She was very enthusiastic about having photos taken with my sister and me outside.
I’m excited to share these photos with you. And I hope this inspires you to take photos of the ones you love.