Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Nurse Meme



She was born in a little town in New Mexico that no longer exists. She was seven years old when her family packed up the house and moved away. She came home from the one room school house where she had walked that morning empty stomach with a biscuit bucket in hand. Her hand-me down dress tattered and torn. She reached the place she called home to find the house dark and empty. Not just empty of the family she had shared it with but empty of everything. She sat on the porch crying and scared. Then she remembered what her grandmother had always said “Girl you ain’t never going to get anywhere sittin and cryin. Now get over yourself and get it done.” So little Meme got up dusted the dust of her dress and walked the long walk to her grandmother’s house on the Indian Reservation.

She arrived at her granny’s house to find her sweeping the dirt and knocking the chickens out of the doorway. “What’s happened girl” the old woman inquired. “I’m alone they’ve done ran off and left me here” the little girl replied. “Well, that is probably for the best. Bring yourself in this house and let’s get you cleaned up and get some food into ya. You look like a walking skeleton” the old woman replied.

The little girl settled in with her granny. She got up early fed the chickens and would stuff a tortilla in her biscuit bucket and head to school. There were no buses and because she started at the white school that was where she continued to go. She would walk the three miles to school every morning and back home again in the afternoon. She was a smart little girl and quickly advanced above her grade. The days turned into weeks which passed into months that faded into years. Then at the age of ten she awoke one morning to find that her Granny would never wake again. She sat and cried and then heard her granny’s voice again so “Girl you ain’t never going to get anywhere sittin and cryin. Now get over yourself and get it done.” So she walked the five miles to her uncle’s house and told him that her granny was dead.

She packed what little belongings she owned and they loaded the chickens and the cow up in the truck. She went to live with her Uncle and her Aunt. She moved in to a real house with real floors thinking her life was getting better. She was a hard worker and a smart girl. She wasn’t there long before she realized that her life wasn’t better just different. She became the maid, the ranch hand and the kicking post. She worked hard and time passed. She grew older and wiser. She was fourteen and graduated from high school with honors.
She packed her belongings in her little satchel and went off to college in a little town in west Texas. She had gotten a scholarship at the school far away from her friends. She was scared to be going away on her own away from everything she knew but she heard her granny in her head once again “Girl you ain’t never going to get anywhere sittin and cryin. Now get over yourself and get it done.”

This was the woman who I grew up calling Mom. This was the woman who never took no for an answer and who I rarely saw cry. This is the woman when I was feeling sorry for myself or had something I considered a major drama would say “Girl you aren’t going to get anywhere sitting and crying. Get over yourself and get it done.” Today would have been her birthday. I think about her everyday and there is hardly a night that she doesn’t visit me in my dreams. I hear her words in my head when I feel myself slipping into self-despair “Girl you aren’t going to get anywhere sitting and crying. Get over yourself and get it done.”

Happy Birthday Meme. I hope you and your Granny are kicking ass and taking names up there in heaven.

15 comments:

Katherine Aucoin said...

Very sweet and beautiful post. Brought a tear to my eye. I know one dsay I will have to live without my Mother but I hope it doesn't come anytime soon.

365 Letters said...

What a wonderfully strong woman! Thank you so much for sharing her inspiring story with us!

Wild Boomba said...

That is such a beautiful story. It seems you came from a long line of strong, feisty women, and you are doing them proud.

Toad said...

She sounds like a real sweetheart. Now she is part of our lives too.

lagirl said...

What a wonderful legacy she has left to you. Geez, we have it so easy. What a woman!

Tatersmama said...

What a beautiful post!
I don't know if we ever get over losing our mama's, but if we're lucky, the blessings and lessons live with us the rest of our lives...

Happy Birthday Nurse MeMe.

Cher said...

What women in your family! I think a lot of us will be remembering your granny's words now that you told us her story!

I'm ready posts backwards but glancing at the list, it looks like you were busy over the weekend! Good for you!

The Texas Woman

LiLu said...

Awww, darlin. Don't make me cry at work!

Lovely. Just lovely.

Mrs4444 said...

What a great lady! I loved this post :)

Beth said...

What an amazing woman - and what an amazing life.
I'm going to remember those words - "Get over yourself and get it done."

Shelby said...

Oh this was absolutely precious. Your photos are so very sweet.

Bob said...

Our folks really were the greatest generation. (No, Nurse Meme wasn't actually my mom, but mine was about as tough --- mom's were all made of sterner stuff back in those days.)

Kelley said...

What a beautiful post. You did Nurse Meme proud!

Suzy said...

Sounds like a hero to me.

Anonymous said...

I was googling "carpeting in kitchen" and was led to your post about vacuuming shag carpeting that had me lol'ing, which in turn led me here.

Your mom sounds like an incredible woman. I'm glad I stumbled upon this post by complete accident.