These Two

By Anita Garner Gramma K (Zula) and Mother (Fern)
Glendale, California 1960’s

These are the women I come from. The one on the left liked a cocktail or two and danced the night away.  The one on the right left her job as a honky tonk singer to run off with her love, a situation that never was forgiven.

These two couldn’t get along but also couldn’t do without each other. When my family traveled the Deep South, we took many three-day trips on Route 66 from wherever we were performing to Southern California because Mother’s mother migrated there.

Tears at our kitchen table from Mother until Daddy said let’s go.  Within a few hours of our arrival, these two started needling. Each knew the other’s vulnerable spots.  Then the cloud blew over and they were laughing, remembering, acting like schoolgirls with a shared history.  And that’s the way it went all our lives.

Talented.  Bossy.  Emotionally unpredictable. Both of them were all that and each thought the other was more so.

When I was growing up, I’d have told you if it was nurturing you sought, you might want to try another house on another street.  Through the years I’ve seen all kinds of moms, many of them equally as colorful as the women in my family. I’m not sure anymore what  a traditional mother looks like, but if you want examples of what strong women can accomplish, look no further than these two.




4 thoughts on “These Two”

  1. The more I learn of the women who preceded you the more I understand about you.

    That’s funny and delightful because you’ve always been reluctant to share yourself in first person. But it does come out in your wonderful prose.

  2. You’re a smart one. It took me years (okay, decades) to admit that I share many traits with these two women in this photo, some I’ll gladly claim and others I’d just as soon not list here!

  3. My sister Lisa once said that we get concentrated as we get older. I’ve seen that with the women in my family – my mother, my aunt, my grandmothers. Attitude galore. I was hoping it would be the other way – that we mellow with age. I think I’ve become more mellow by accepting myself, by getting comfortable with my talents, feeling confident. Some of that is a result of seeing pictures of myself as a anxious teen and young mother, and realizing it’s all working out. But Lisa is right too. I’ve become concentrated in my personality in how I relate to others, how I stand my ground. Because I have more power to choose my environment, I’m better at getting what I want, more generous to those I love and to those who need my help, and less willing to suffer fools.

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