Written for OLWG# 258
My Great Grandma was a strong woman. She, her husband, and their four daughters had a gold mine in New Mexico that they worked together until the late 1800’s when he was killed in a poker game. She took the girls south, where they homesteaded a ranch in the Permian Basin. She was tight, she was stern, and I never saw her smile. Life was hard for her, raising daughters on her own and sending them all to college. College educated women were rare in those days, but all four of her girls were college graduates.
She would wear her shoes on the wrong feet every other day, in order for them to wear out evenly and last longer. She wore long black dresses, devoid of ornamentation, and kept her hair pulled back into a knot at the base of her neck. She died in the 1950’s, at the ripe old age of 100. My sister and I used to visit and sit with her when my Grandma and my mother would go ‘tend to things on the ranch. We’d sit in silence on rocking chairs in the shade of the porch, sipping lemonade garnished with a sprig of fresh mint pinched from the garden. Occasionally she would make a comment about the weather.
“Hot today,” she would say. Or, “I reckon, it might rain.”
We were not expected to react. We might nod in agreement, but nothing more; we were children, after all.
When my sister suggested I write something about my great-grandmother, I resisted. “I write fiction,” I’d say.
“Try it,” my sister would argue with me. “You might enjoy it.” She explained that she had done all the research and could spoon feed me all the information I needed.
“I don’t like writing true stories,” I’d argue back. “Fiction is more forgiving.”
We been going back and forth on this for years. This piece is the compromise, and you, the reader, have to decide how much is fiction and how much is truth. Sorry to lay this burden on you. Let me know what you decide.
This week’s prompts were:
- the world took her smile
- fiction is more forgiving
- brushed your cheek