wocket in my pocket

Looking for the unexpected in the mundane.

My Grandma Heroine

on January 20, 2013

Today we had fellowship meal at church, which is what we call our potluck/carry in. Not only is there lots of great food, there is also lots of time to visit and connect with others. I love fellowship meal! Sharing tales of life over a leisurely dessert and coffee is hard to beat.

We were discussing empty nesters, and how people tend to go through a rough patch when the last of the children leave home. I have to admit, it is hard for me to even imagine a perpetually quiet house. 🙂 I won’t delve into the conversation, but just say that I suddenly remembered Grandma Moses and something I wrote about her in the Blog that Crumpled. Here it is, reposted:

And then, there is Grandma Moses, the most intriguing of all. I have to confess, the first time I saw a painting done by Grandma Moses, I was disappointed. This funny landscape with tilting houses and barns, with people who were little more than stick figures with tiny heads… this was famous art? Recently  I read her biography and I saw the quality in her that went far beyond her lack of perspective and vanishing points. She painted cheerfully, with great joy in the ordinary things that cram life so full we easily lose the wonder of them. 

As a child in the 1860’s, she loved to draw and color her pictures with berries and carpenter’s chalk. But at age twelve, childhood ended when she began working as a hired girl in a series of homes, going from place to place until she married the hired man at one of the farms where she was staying. She was almost 26. Life became much too busy to do anything just for personal satisfaction. Five of their ten babies died, and the seasons on the farm demanded all her time. At one time she improved their family’s finances quite a bit by making “the best butter in the Shenandoah Valley” to sell. Not only was she undisturbed by hard work, she actually seemed to like it!

When her husband died, their children took over the farm and Grandma Moses had extra time on her hands for the first time since childhood. She was nearly eighty when she scrounged together some odds and ends of paints and brushes and masonite boards and tried to convey her ideas in colorful sketches. She painted from memory all the scenes and happy times, all the landscapes that had lifted her heart with their beauty in the hard years. 

So what was her secret? She was a sort of peppery little Pollyanna who had absolutely no time to feel sorry for herself. And when she finally had time to express what was inside, out poured all the stored up beauty and kindness and gratefulness. Over two thousand paintings from age 80 to age 101, when she died. Her final work was titled “The Rainbow”.

I think the reason I like Grandma Moses so much is because of how cheerfully she accepted the seasons in life, embracing both the limitations and privileges as they came. I want to be like that when I get big!

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