Monday, January 17, 2011

Through her eyes....a past I never knew

I would like to start this post out with a most beautiful photo of a young lady on railroad tracks located in Jewel Mountain, Tennessee sometime in the late 1930's perhaps? This was a poor coal mining town and this photo was taken before she married. Vibrant, strong, beautiful.

This woman turns out to be my maternal grandmother. I never met her because she passed away at age 40, when my mother was only 19 years old. I think she is absolutely stunning.

Several months back I was digging through my paternal grandmother's hope chest and found an envelope that had a pair of glasses in them. I knew my grandmother never had such glasses, as she was a simple, minimalist dresser. Clean lines, simple styles that were classic. That was the grandmother I grew up with, not one to wear such fancy frames on a daily basis.

I, however, like a bit of fancy and retro, so we made a great team!

I remembered these glasses as my mother showed them to me years ago when I was still living at home. They belonged to my maternal grandmother. The mystery did I end up with these frames? I do not recall my mother giving them to me. I did know my Pop Pop (she married him twice.) He was a rogue, a coal miner, moonshine runner and general hell raiser from Tennessee. Which made him utterly adorable and the man could do no wrong through my eyes. But what was life like through my maternal grandmother's eyes? Would I have called her Mee Maw, or Mom Mom...from the south I doubt "Grandmother" would not suffice. What was life like for her, what was she like, and how did she see things?

How can you not wonder about a grandmother you never met, and are now wearing her glasses and looking through at the world as she did?

I do know she had a hard life, often a single parent raising my mother. She was also sick all of the time. Something that worries me a bit, but we have better technology and medicine these days.

Well I can tell you she didn't see very well with the script that was in there. I could not even look out of them they were so strong! However, I fell in love with the glasses and didn't know what to do with them. So I just packed them away with other little treasures I have. One day I started to see so many folk selling vintage frames such as these so you can get your own script put in.

Isn't the detail on these 50 year old frames just amazing?
And they do look like brand new. Cost me only $40 to get my script and installed in these.

Peek-a-boo! Here they are on me with new lenses. They are just to beautiful to not use.

Below is the house my mother and grandmother lived in during the 1940's in Tennessee. As you can see they lived quite posh. NOT. It is amazing the structure still stands and little about it has changed.

Here is my grandmother - her name is Hattie - wearing the actual glasses I had refitted. And I still cannot help but wonder how life was through her eyes.
I feel very fortunate to find the frames and even more fortunate to ability to wear them. I love them dearly and cannot help but to think I would have loved her so much more.

Thank you Nana....


  1. Love it. I think those glasses were meant to be handed down to. They look like they are in perfect condition for being so old! Amazing. And they are so cute on you!

    I love looking at old photographs or items that belonged to relatives I have never met and ask myself the same questions you were asking about your grandmother. So intriguing.

  2. This is a lovely post! And those glasses surely look good on you!!

  3. Thank you both. I had a serious case of writers block on this one. I wanted to share and write, but it is strange write about a grandmother you never met.

  4. One pair of glasses, 2 stunning, strong ladies.

  5. You look TOP in the glasses, Cher--a beautiful way to see the world. And I am sure your grandmother would have loved you! What a wonderful post! XO

    PS I'll grab your link tonight!

  6. All of my grandparents had passed away by the time I was about 14 or 15, so I am with you on finding new connections with those we have lost... I have always wished my grandma {my dad's mom} would have lived long enough for her to have really taught me to cook. Maybe someday I will share the picture on my blog, of me wearing one of her moo-moo's... dancing in the kitchen. I guess I've been DancingMooney all along, I'm only just now really finding her. ♥

  7. What a beautiful testament to family this is, Cher. You look wonderful in your grandmother's glasses - and just imagine how tickled PINK she'd be if she could see them on your face. This was a truly nostalgia-inducing post. Lovely that you shared this piece of family history with us.

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