Monday, March 25, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 25 ~ A Tale of Two Grammys

I was fortunate to grow up with both my grandmothers, my paternal Grammy Seavey (Mattie) and my maternal Grammy Bustin (Harriet).

Although they were both very loving and supportive of me during my growing up years, I couldn’t help observing how they interacted with their own children (my parents and my aunts). And, as the oldest grandchild who tended to gravitate more to her elders than to her own siblings, I was privy to much family lore about times gone by.

Harriet grew up in a very loving family and was particularly close to her mother. In raising her two daughters, she extended that closeness as well as she could.  My mother was her firstborn and the first grandchild of her generation, so she held a very special place in the family. As such, she was, to a great degree, favored over her sister, my Aunt Norma.

Norma came along a full ten years after my mother, and, I believe, always suffered in my mother’s shadow. Perhaps, as a result, she was more rebellious as a young girl, and ran into difficulties with school and dating.  The challenge of raising two very different daughters took it’s toll on Grammy Bustin over the years. She was a woman with a very big heart, and always tried to treat each of her children equally. She would want to believe she succeeded.

My Two Grammys
Harriet and Mattie

Mattie grew up estranged from her mother, and was raised by her maiden aunt. Although it was a unique upbringing, I believe she was happy as a child. As a young woman entering a marriage, she was probably in awe of the whole prospect of raising a family. But there was no question that she favored my father.

Mattie was definitely a boy-favoring mother, and was known to express the hope that my own mother would have the somehow distinctive joy of having a son. She talked a lot about my dad’s childhood, toys he had and activities he enjoyed.  My dad and Grammy Seavey frequently talked on the telephone, although my dad rarely used the phone otherwise.There seemed to be a son-worship going on at times, whereas I didn’t feel there was a strong mother-daughter bond between her and her daughter Pauline, my aunt. Throughout the subsequent difficulties Pauline endured in her adult life, I never felt that my grandmother lent much support and comfort. Perhaps there was none to give.

I spent many overnights throughout my childhood at both of my Grammys' houses. Although I always had a wonderful time, the experiences were totally different. Interestingly, my two Grammys were born at opposite ends of 1906,  but brought from their own childhoods two very different modes of mothering.




Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.


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