Sunday, January 16, 2011
The Queen Mother Tells All
Here is what I learned:
My great-great grandma's name was Elsie Belle Kelsey. Yup, Elsie Kelsey. And I learned that she was nice. That might not seem like a revelation to most people, but if you knew her daughter you would be surprised. Elsie's daughter, Jeanette, was my great-grandmother. We all knew her as Grandma Net and she, my friends, was a crotchety old woman. God love her and may she rest in peace, but I'm telling ya she was one cranky woman! She couldn't have been more than 5 feet tall and she was NEVER without her headscarf. Honestly, I don't have a single memory of her without her headscarf on...in or outside the house. She couldn't hear worth a darn in the first place and then to put a scarf over her ears....well, to each her own.
I also learned that Grandma Elsie's husband, my Grandpa Brenneman, was a womanizer. GASP! He left his wife, children, and grandchildren (including my Grandma Dorothy), in the late 1930's. But he didn't just leave. He took the mattress with him! Yup, that's right. He took the actual bed that he shared with his wife. And to top it off, the bed frame made a huge scrape down the stairs as he dragged it out of the house. So Grandma Elsie had a constant reminder of his departure every time she went up and down her own stairs! Grandma Elsie ran her farm with her children to survive, but they never did get running water.
Grandpa Brenneman didn't show up again until many years later (1955) on the night before my Grandma Dorothy's wedding. He didn't even know that she was getting married.
So that brings me to the second topic that we learned about that night. Grandma Dorothy's wedding. She and Papa Norm were married in December 1955 in the chapel of the Christian Church. Grandma wore a red skirt/suit and high heels. They only had two people in attendance, Papa Norm's friend and the friends girlfriend. Papa Norm is a bit of an introvert to put it mildly. Not only did he not want anyone to attend, but he wouldn't even let Grandma tell anyone that they were getting married. I am always grateful that he came to my wedding because I know how strongly he dislikes large groups of people. So I'm guessing I don't get my extreme need to be the center of attention from his side!!