Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mary Turpin Edwards, our Grandmother

I say our because I had to share her with my sister, brother, and sometimes with cousins.  My family lived in Corbin the same town as Grandmother did.  Today for some reason I was thinking about her and want to share.  She was an amazing woman for her times.

Grandmother was born on a farm in the Bluegrass part of Kentucky in 1890.  Her father was a fairly prosperous farmer and had tenant farmers as workers.  She told me one time she wasn't allowed to wear shoes to school until after a killing frost.  That was because the tenant farmers' didn't buy shoes for their children until winter.  Grandmother said she would run through the pastures and walk where the cattle had slept the night before, the land was warmer there.

Grandmother was an excellent horsewoman and she had her own buggy.  Once her buggy caught on the train rails and tipped over.  The men around the area pulled the damaged buggy off the tracks.  One of the men was going to take her home, because she was a "frail" woman.  Not my Grandmother.  She pulled her horse out of the traces, jumped on him bareback and rode home. 

She met my grandfather in school.  He was her teacher and at least 10 years older.  He waited for her to grow up and they married when she was 22. During her growing up period, he went to medical school at the University of Louisville.  He took a practice in Corbin and they moved from the Bluegrass to the Mountains of Kentucky.  There were no roads in part of the way and they drove on the railroad track to cross rivers and creeks.  I don't know if this was by car or horse and wagon.

Grandmother graduated from high school and then became self taught.  She was well versed in many areas.  She wanted to go to college but that didn't happen.  But she was learning until she died.

One of the greatest gifts my grandmother gave me was a love of books.  She read to us everyday. Not just fairy tales sometimes grown up books.  Every year she placed a huge order with a bookstore in Louisville for that year's supply of  books..  They were Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, and some were saved for when we were sick.  Then books came out to occupy the sick cranky child.  I was the bad child who so loved getting those books that I held the thermometer against the light bulb.  I would have recovered but I wanted more of those wonderful books.  I was smart enough to only go to 100, more than that and they would know I was faking and send me back to school.

She believed if we could read it, then it was okay for us to have.  She knew we would ask questions about parts that were difficult.  That caused a problem in the library.  Our library had a children's side and an adult's side.  You could only check out maybe two books at a time.   I would devour the books and walk to the library every two or three days.  I eventually ran out of books on my side.  So I went to the adult side.  NO children allowed.  Go back to the other side.  I told Grandmother and she walked to the library and explained I loved to read.  And if the books were not fit for an advanced child to read, it should not be in the library.  I got to check out anything I wanted after that.

Grandmother was a lady raised in the Victorian era.  If she walked to the grocery, bank, drug store, where ever, she wore a hat and white gloves.  We were taught proper lady/gentlmen rules. We were taken to church every time the doors opened.   We could set a formal table, walk with a book on our head, only crossed our ankles (away from home the knees were crossed much sexier)  how to get in and out of a car, how to walk in our first pair of heels (if you wobbled you could not wear them out of the house) and much more.

This lovely woman basically raised me, my sister, and my brother.  My father was ill from the time I was 5 and died when I was 10.  Mother was busy with his care the early years.  After his death she was in and out of our lives.  Grandmother was always there.

We were lucky to have her the short time we had.  She died when I was 17.  She is still missed and loved. 

1 comment:

Lisa Nichols said...

thank you for the history - lots of things i didn't know!!