October 4, 2010: Thinking about Grandma B

I do plan to keep going with this autobiography, even though I realize that I am probably the only person that is even vaguely interested in the subject. I don’t expect to to be finished any time soon, and I am quite sure that the story will probably take some interesting detours, side trips , and possibly, perform some loop-de-loops from time time to time. The fact is, as I examine some different part of my life, my history, my story, I’m not sure what I’ll discover. I am just sure that it will be an interesting endeavor.

I’m also sure, that an amazing cast of characters will appear in the story. You see, I’ve been blessed, my life has been enriched beyond my current ability to describe by some fascinating people.  Family, friends, teachers, bosses, I’ve known, and still do know some wonderful people. I will try to do them justice.

Today I want to tell you about  my Mom’s mom; Grandma Butterfield, or, as we usually called her, Grandma B.  Mable Butterfield was born in 1914 in Venus Nebraska. She never lived anywhere but Knox and Holt Counties. I’m fairly sure that she knew most of the people that lived in O’Neill; if she didn’t know the specific person she almost certainly knew their family, and probably the family history going back at least 3 generations.

I never knew her husband, Elden; he died when Mom was twenty. What I do know is that Grandma was 48 or 49 when Elden died. She had been working at the O’Neil Bakery for a number of years, and when she finally quit the job in the bakery she had worked there a total of 30 years. When she quit the job at the Bakery she got a job at a combination Hobby Store/Sporting Goods Store (the kind of store you can ONLY find in small, rural towns). She worked there for another fifteen years. Grandma was NOT afraid of hard work. In fact, I’m fairly sure that she could out work anyone until her body just simply got to frail, and that would have been in her early nineties.

Grandma B was/is a hard woman to describe easily. She would never accept any kind of charity; not even help from her kids. She could be rather stubborn (kind of like the way a mountain can be kind of tall),and she could be rather judgmental. She was extremely independent; she lived on her own, in her own home, until well into her late eighties. When her physical condition and dementia got to the point where she could no longer live on her own, and she had to go into a nursing home the closest one Mom and her sisters could find was in Atkinson, which was 20 miles from O’Neill. Grandma wanted to go home, and she literally walked out the door and started walking toward O’Neil. The facility staff found her walking about two miles from the home. Determined? YEah, you could say that.

However, she was also a woman that never once forgot the birthday of any of her kids, her kid’s husbands or wives, or any of her five grandchildren. She didn’t have any use for people that were not at least willing to work, but she was a loyal friend, and generous when it came to taking care of people that couldn’t work for health reasons.

While she could be rather stern, and harsh, she also had an amazing sense of humor; she was a person that could laugh easily, and could make other’s laugh  as well. She loved to play cards, and she played to win, but more importantly, she played to have fun.

She lived the majority of her life, in Holt County, and while she never had a great deal of money, she was able to travel literally all over the country. In addition to her traveling, she was an amazing craft person. For years we would decorate our Christmas tree each year with ornaments that Granny B had made. I think CormacSis has most of those ornaments now.

Grandma died in September of 2009. She was 95 years old, and she was a truly amazing woman. The world will not see her like again. This description has not done her justice, and I’m sorry about that. I wish you all could have known her. I wish I had known her better.