If older women were in charge we would have more beautiful gardens and would learn to take more time for tea…

CMM_GrandmaToday on the blog, just in time for Christmas some thoughts (and a beautiful video) from Christine Mason Miller a Santa Barbara based writer and artist who has been creating, writing and exploring ever since she was a little girl.  I ordered myself her book Desire to Inspire as a Christmas present to myself and I am looking forward to reading it over the Christmas holidays.  You can find Christine at  www.christinemasonmiller.com and contact here via christine@swirlygirl.com

What did the older women in your family or close circle teach you about life? To believe in myself.

How do you feel about getting older yourself? How do you want to feel? I want to experience it with acceptance. I want to be grateful for all the years I’m given.

Tell me about an older woman who inspires you (could be someone you have read about, know of have heard about) I traveled to Argentina with a large group a few years ago, and there were two women in their early 70s on the trip. I loved that they were still traveling and having adventures, and I remember thinking, “I hope I’m adventurous like they are when I’m older.”

What do you think your 70 old self would say to you now? Be grateful – for ALL OF IT.

How do you think the world might be different if older women were in charge? We would have more beautiful gardens and would learn to take time for tea.

Did you know your mother and grandmother if so what were there names and where we’re the from? what did they teach you? If not how did you lose them? Did you miss their presence in your life? One of my greatest influences is my grandma. Although she passed away in 2005, she is still a constant presence in my life – the woman I turn to for guidance and encouragement on a nearly daily basis.  I celebrate her in quirky little ways. I use old photographs of her in my mixed media pieces, have a cabinet of curiosities filled with small objects that once belonged to her, and have made videos from old footage of her and shared it on my website. I have a picture of her on my dresser, so I think of her everyday.

Lovebirds from Christine Mason Miller on Vimeo.

If you’d like to feature on the blog do get in touch with me maryannmhina@gmail.com.  To buy a copy of Listening to our Grandmothers click here or to stay in touch join the Facebook page here. 

 

 

Ravioli, Relations and Remembering family stories

Sally

It’s an exciting time of year and when better to be able to share a wonderful Guest Blog from an amazing woman who I consider a big sister (in the truly inspiring sense) a mentor and also a dear friend.  Sally Bartolameolli a coach, teacher and consultant.  She has worked with individuals and groups using powerful bioenergetic and emotional healing and release techniques that restore balance to the body, mind and heart. She runs courses for women both online and in Texas where she lives. She is a certified Shadow Work Coach, Holistic Health Counselor and Yoga teacher and is also author of Blessings from Mary and Co-Author of Relationships: From Addiction to Authenticity.  You can find out all about her offerings at www.blessingsfrommary.com.

I did not grow up with grandmothers. My mother was the last of eight children born when my grandmother was in her late 30’s. My mother was in her early 40’s when pregnant with me. I was the last of 26 grandchildren born to Italian immigrants on both sides of my family. Unfortunately, all grandparents were deceased by the time I arrived. Still, the village was there to meet me, greet me and have their hands in my upbringing. I had 11 maternal and paternal aunts. We lived upstairs of my Aunty Ann and I shared meals with at least two other aunts and families each week.

From the Italian women in my family, I learned about strength, perseverance, drive, accomplishment and generosity. Several of them owned businesses; started in the 1940‘s and 50’s. In addition to running any businesses or outside work my aunts and mother had, they cleaned and cooked for their families, tended to the summer gardens, canned for the long winters, caught-cleaned and cooked their own fish and attended church every Sunday. Whatever stories of impoverishment they shared growing up during The Great Depression, there were always others less fortunate and when you had enough, you gladly shared your surplus. While I could expect to be fed well at every meal, while being reminded of children starving around the world, I was also expected to contribute to the clean-up afterward. Memories of standing on a chair at the sink rinsing dishes next to my mother, an aunt or cousin, brings joy and a sense of cooperation and belonging. We were a family and we worked, played, laughed and cried together.

My experience of food and cooking in our Italian family taught me a lot. I was shocked to go away to college and see “canned ravioli” in the cafeteria line. Before my freshmen year at college, canned pasta and ravioli were only a dream, advertised on television by Chef Boyardee.  It was even more shocking to me to see that my fellow classmates loaded up their plates and ate them. This was my first call home to my mother explaining what I had seen with the hopes of making sense of the shocking reality I had witnessed. Growing up Italian with a dozen aunts in any direction, every holiday preparation involved making homemade red sauce and both cheese and meat ravioli from scratch. We didn’t use a food processor or mixer to make the pasta. There was a mound of circular flour and eggs broken in the center that we stirred together with our hands until dough was formed. We kneaded until it was “soft like a baby’s bottom”, as my Aunt would say.  Then we rolled the pasta out by hand, laying the small pile of meat and cheese in row upon row upon row. It was a two day process with at least five sets of hands. At the end of it all, each family would have over a hundred little pockets of scrumptiousness for the holiday meal and then another hundred or so frozen to be used at the discretion of the woman of the house.

I stood as high as the card table that the floured ravioli were laid out upon and there was always a fork in my hand. It was my job to gently but firmly press the three sides of the ravioli to seal them so that they wouldn’t open and lose their filling when boiling. If I got too close to the actual filling, the pocket of cheese or meat would be punctured and that was not a good thing. These were labor intensive delicacies and do overs took precious time. Still, the sense of community comprised of such a harmonious symphony of chefs, was art and science all in one. These were women who were focused and on a mission.

It’s interesting now for me as I write this and reflect on this part of growing up.  I learned so much from making ravioli with my mother and aunts. Somehow a sense of dignity and honor came from cooking. Our heritage and legacy was passed down in these times of coming together. Their energy gave witness to their generosity, commitment to family, precision in their craft and the sense of pride in their own ancestry. Funny how sealing a ravioli with a fork can create such a strong sense of belonging, generosity, connection and community.

Remembering my Grandmother

Liz Kalloch bio photoSo many people have asked me about the beautiful illustration on the front of Listening to our Grandmothers and so today I am really happy to share a guest blog from the artist who created it, Liz Kalloch.  

Liz is a San Francisco Bay area based artist, illustrator,  graphic designer and writer – I love how we are able to collaborate across continents now and am so glad I got in touch with her via Jen Lee because the cover feels so perfect for the book.  I learnt that we have something else in common when I read her delightful blog post because, like Liz I have a middle name, Walsingham, which is a maiden name.

I was named for my maternal grandmother – a Scottish tradition, so that the maternal names don’t get lost – so I am Elizabeth Briggs (my middle name is her maiden name). When I was a little girl, starting school every year, and the teacher would call my name, I’d cringe, waiting for the teasing over my middle name. I remember one girl in my 4th grade class asking me why my parents didn’t give me a “normal” middle name, like Anne, or Marie, like all the other girls had. And each year after the first day of school I’d ask my Mum why my middle name had to be listed for the teacher to call out, and for everyone to snicker at, and she’d tell me that someday I’d be happy that I had her name.

She hasn’t been here with us for a long time, she passed away when I was in my early 20s, but I think of her almost everyday, and she tops my personal list of people who have inspired, influenced, encouraged and even dared me.

my grandmother Elizabeth Briggs Balfour at 9 months old

my grandmother Elizabeth Briggs Balfour at 9 months old

An artist, an inspired gardener, a writer, a reader, a mother and a woman beyond her time. She was not encouraged to be independent, not encouraged to be an artist, nor a traveller, she was encouraged to marry and have children, because that’s what women did in her generation. And she did that, and also painted, and designed gardens and organised reading groups with her friends, and lived a life that on the outside had little in the way of frills or accessories; but on the inside was rich with beauty and ideas, and deep thoughts.

As my grandmother though, she told me at a very early age that I could do anything, be anything, have and be a part of anything that I wanted to be. She told me I was special and unique. She encouraged my dreams and my hopes and my wishes for my life. She encouraged my independence and my sense of self. In effect, she gave me permission to be myself all the time, in a world where conformity is the safe and easy route.

My relationship with her was like an open door: it was like walking to and fro from room to room, while in the midst of a never ending conversation, punctuated with other characters entering and leaving, kind of like a one act play, that just keeps going and going. I think of her as my first role model for a generosity of spirit that I since have always looked for in friends, in business partners, in romantic partners, in life. And I think that if I had not had her my whole young life, I might never have known that that kind of spirit existed out in the world.

Truthfully, as we go through school, through jobs, through relationships, as we grow and change and move through our lives, those kindred souls, those open spirits, filled with kindness and generosity and support, and the purest kind of love and devotion, do not come along around any old corner. They are the rare and most gorgeous jewels in our lives, and we are always the luckiest for having found them, or for they having found us.

LK2

I like to think that she found me, that is still my young girl’s daydream, I like to imagine that the first day she saw me, she knew who I was, she recognized me, and I her. I like to imagine she was my fairy godmother, not necessarily finding me the prince, but definitely turning my pumpkin into a carriage, and the mice into horses to take me anywhere I wanted to go.

I still hear her voice in my head, her energy still vibrates in the universe, and she still encourages me, inspires me and dares me to do more, ever more. Oh and my name? Sure enough, my Mum was right. By my late teens I was proud of my “different” middle name, and into my 20s and beyond, {especially after she passed away} I’ve taken pride and also feel much happiness signing my name. Seeing her name in mine.

You can find Liz and her wonderful illustrations and work at ww.lizkallochdesigns.com.  To buy a copy of Listening to our Grandmothers click here or to stay in touch join the Facebook page here. 

My Grandmother’s Table

AishaSo excited today, wonderful Guest Blog from an amazing woman who is my very dear friend and colleague.  Aisha Hannibal and I met through Women in Power and now work together on The Red Tent Directory website.  It’s such a pleasure to work with Aisha.  She is a woman with a big heart and an amazing spirit of openness and generosity. Aisha is also interested in the wisdom of Grandmothers and we hope in future to work together on this in future as well.

I’m in my shorts and an old t-shirt and I am sanding the square wooden table in my kitchen. It’s my first time using a power sander and didn’t quite realise the amount of mess it would make. I am laughing at myself as I see dust on every hair on my arm and wondering if this would have been a better job to do outside as the window clouds over with yellow.

As the wood peels away to reveal a fresh new layer I am thinking about all the times I have sat at this table and the secrets of thoughts, and the grubby handprints of art projects, spilled wine and ink stains. These marks turn to dust and cover the kitchen in a thin layer as the
stories they hold infuse into my thoughts.

I made biscuits on this table with my grandma, they were called handful biscuits
because she measured the ingredients by scooping handfuls of flour and butter, intuitive of the right amount from memory. I can see her face in my mind the day we made the biscuits and can feel the awe I had for her in that moment.

This is her table and I honour her every mealtime with my own cooking and moments of calm. Aisha TableI teach at this table and sew and draw. All of these things she did herself in her life and the legacy goes on or not so much legacy but the celebration of daily creative things continues.

She was an artist, a painter and taught at Slade school of fine art but for me she made bread, she saved old pieces of card under the rug and made me birthday cards with glitter. Through my life I have tried hard to achieve something, be someone, take on roles, show up
when its hard and make my mum proud. But funny to think that my heart lights up when I remember these touches of magic rather than the wider woman of majesty that she was in
the world.

She was a working woman, someone who didn’t follow the call of the librarian or secretary that women of her era were funnelled into regardless of varied interest and skill. She followed her heart, followed what she loved most in the world. This is no easy thing as I am finding out. It’s like drawing a bucket from the depths of a well into the bright light of day and hoping that you can water all your seedlings to life. She did what she loved. She painted and she painted
and she loved to paint. Flowers, trees, stormy skies, and her lesson was that she sat down at the canvas and painted around the white that she left clear. A dance between colour, shape and that which holds it all in place. There is something so wise in this that I am not sure I
fully get it yet, but its the difference between trying to do something and waiting for it to reveal itself.

When I was young I just wanted to skip my youth and adulthood and fast forward to the years of grey hair and eyes sparkling with stories of a life lived, for me it always seemed the best bit was yet to come. It’s good to have the table to remind me that its not about the grandeur of
achievement but warm biscuits cooling in time for tea that really stays with the senses and the heart. For me its the wisdom of being how we are and loving that part most.

But it doesn’t mean it was easy. She struggled in life with the mundanity of cooking, mothering and daily chores when all she wanted
to do was paint. But there is something special that happens to a woman when she grows older that softens the internal battles and
allows her to just be full of love as a grandma. As a child I had an insatiable appetite for love, it was not sweets I filled my belly with
but love, from everywhere, it seemed the only thing that made sense and she gave it with wild abandon. She was strong and solid and a
great support to my mum throughout her marriage which gave me peace at times of difficulty.

When she became ill I saw an unknown part of her vulnerability because there was not a day in my life I had seen her in bed and I faltered at the words to say. In my mind I have stood at her bedside and written a narrative of the words of love, the thanks, the questions and everything that I could have said. At the time I just starred and felt ashamed. I hope she knew what was in my heart then and over the years when I have spoken to her inside.

It seems apt that her father, a lifelong astronomer, couldn’t resist calling her Stella, because she did shine from the inside and I wonder sometimes the super nova that she might have been if she had not chosen the route of a husband and family to really follow her heart.
But maybe thats the true lesson I can live in my own way, to feel the parts of me that millions of years ago came from the stars and fuse it together for myself.

Writing Listening to our Grandmothers

As I explain in the Introduction to the book (which you can now download along with the beautiful foreward by Amy Palko as a preview), the idea for this project started a few years back. I was reading a life story which Pat, one of the women whose story is the book, had written about a man she had known for many years in Tanzania. My enthusiasm for life stories in general began many years ago when, as a graduate researcher & one of Pat’s students I collected the life stories of mentally ill people in Tanzania as part of a project I was working on.

In the case of Listening to our Grandmothers I decided to come up with a standard list of questions which I would ask each of the women woman – and then when I was listening to them, I would add some additional questions about things that particularly interested me about them. I thought I would share the original questions here for anyone who would like to use them to have a conversation with their Grandmother, Mum (my Mum is in the book!) or another older women in their life.

Listening to our Grandmothers original Questions:

  • Tell me about your early years, where were you born, who were your parents, how did you grow up?
  • Can you tell me something about your mother? What for she do for money? For fun? For love? What did you learn from her?
  • Can you tell me something about your father? What did he do for money? For fun? For love? What did you learn from him?
  • What are your most abiding childhood memories? What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • Did you have siblings? Who w/are they? How have they affected your life?
  • When did you leave home, how and why?
  • What were your passions? As a young woman?
  • How was the world different then? From the way it is now? How did you prefer it? What has improved?
  • Tell me about the choices you made about life partner (s) and children?
  • Tell me about the work which has been central to your life? How did you make choices about it? Is there a ‘central- narrative’ that you feel brings it together?
  • What, so far are your greatest accomplishments?
  • Which things, if any, do you regret?

When I was writing the book I would send these questions in advance.  Four of the life stories in the book were recorded in one long sitting.  I went to visit the woman in her home and we talked, prompted by, but not restricted to the questions above.  I spoke with the fifth woman, Tricia, by Skype and this happened over two separate meetings with a week or two in between them.

On each occassion I recorded our conversations so that afterwards I could go back and listen to them and and start writing the chapters of the book based upon what they had said.  In most cases the final chapter which now appears in the book is a result of many iteractions and edits, a process which took many months as many other life events and commitments turned up along the way.

I hope that the result of this is a book that is not just a testimaent to the lives and experiences of five incredible women but also an inspiration to you to the listen to the older women in your life too.

 

To the World She Was Grace, To Us, Our Granny

So excited today, in advance of the launch of the book itself on Monday, to be able to share a wonderful Guest Blog from an amazing woman who I consider an elder and a mentor as well as a dear friend.  ALisa Starkweather is the founder of many women’s initiatives including the Red Tent Temple Movement, Women in Power initiations, the Women’s Belly and Womb Conferences, Daughters of the Earth Gatherings and her acclaimed women’s mystery school in New England, Priestess Path. ALisa has 28 years of experience working with the empowerment of women and girls. She is the co-producer of the documentary, Things We Don’t Talk About; Women’s Stories in the Red Tent and a contributing author in the award winning anthology Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership; Where Grace Meets Power. ALisa’s online work will re-open in late October in her five week teleseries, Answering the Call; Birthing Your Fierce Feminine Life. www.alisastarkweather.com

AlisaInside of my own thoughts I harbored more than concerns.  At five years old I was downright indignant that she wasn’t who I thought she ought to be. “I mean look at her” I would say to myself. “Where is her white hair? Where are her spectacles? Where is her rocking chair?”

Everyone knew that a real grandmother was old, dowdy and made you cookies in the kitchen right? What kind of a grandmother would people mistake for my own mother? And to further my case she worked! With all men! Selling insurance door to door she was the first professional woman I ever laid eyes on and she made sure that in anyone’s mind she would be seen as first class.

For the next four decades of my life until her death at 90 I hardly ever remember seeing my grandmother unkempt or being less than sharp as a tack in her mind. Having lived through many of life’s hard and bitter consequences, including the Great Depression she resolved to lay out her adult life like fine white lace, blanketed over her pain with some grit thrown in to the gaping porous holes.

GraceAt the young age of twenty my grandmother gave birth to her only child, my mother. This is how it came to be that my three siblings and I were her one and only focus for under deserved spoiling and often also for overly opinionated critiques.  She also became my Grand Mama who, even up until the time she departed, tracked with care and devotion every detail of our lives and faithfully let us know how much we mattered to her. She modelled independence, financial freedom, and though she did not mean to, her musical free self slipped out between the cracks giving me future passage to my wilder self. Even now I can still see her eyes moist with tears from a good laugh with us.

I was with her in her last hours. From a fall that she took, my mother took her to a nursing home and on her fourth day there when I heard that she was ailing, I promptly, in the middle of the night got on a plane to Florida. Instinctually I knew that once she arrived to a home other than her own she would lay down rather than choose to live a captive existence. That woman was born to be free. My mother said to her the day before I arrived, “Mom, what is wrong with you?” and my grandmother looked at her and replied, “Ginny, I’m dying.”

Like the great tree in the forest, it is unfathomable that she would ever leave us. That night as her kidneys and organs began to shut down and she was between the worlds and no longer open-eyed, I touched her tenderly and spoke to her like she was now my own baby child. I unabashedly wept and wept from missing her already. The nursing home aid came by and saw an old withering woman on the bed, finally the frail grandmother my young immature child had yearned for so many years before, and asked why I was crying so.

This is my grandmother, my rock, my old growth tree in the forest, my sweetheart, my Granny. Can’t you see what a powerful force is leaving us? I didn’t say anything because how can you describe 90 years of her sovereign personage to someone glancing in on her last hours? Instead I lay my head on her still rhythmic heart transfusing my own with her essence – all she ever gave me and vowing silently to live her life forward in new ways as her granddaughter, choosing to forgive her for every hurt and asking her forgiveness for any ways I disappointed her, believing this was death medicine for us both, another way to lift up her heavy anchor on earth.

Grace 2Her lessons, some spoken and some not are inside. Put any child before me and the games and songs she played come back to me to offer the young. “With bells on her fingers and rings on her toes. She shall have music wherever she goes” was the spell chant she sung over me not knowing the magic she spun would become my path.  It is her voice that I hear when I push too hard, too fast, too much because she called me one day on the phone and said, “Conserve yourself my dear. You need to think ahead of how long this long life journey is. You need to make it all the way to my age and to do that you cannot use all your energy now.” With no grandchildren yet of my own, I climbed a mountain some years ago and in the tall grasses hidden from me I heard the voice of a little girl child speaking to her grandmother. It was this exact moment that I suddenly understood the hidden message in my grandmother’s words. She was warning me not to leave this life too soon. Bold and loud I heard her now. “You must be here for those coming after you. You will be an important person in this young one’s life. Stick around. You have a big job that you have not yet embarked on and nothing can be so important for you to miss that life appointment up ahead. Your grandchildren need your stories and your wisdom. Take good care of yourself honey.”

It did not help me at all that she was ninety when she died. You can tell yourself she is old and it is time for her to go but it is always too soon. Sleeping next to her I wanted to grasp in my memory even her snores. Her root systems were throughout me and her death was felt in the deepest core part of myself. I cried buckets for a year and every tear was my ode to our love. Over a decade later I still find myself talking to her, so thankful that she left me with a song two days after she died. Driving her car, I began to talk to her departed spirit to I let her know that I was going to turn on the radio and she could give me a message if she wanted to. I would be listening intently. It happened to be a Sunday and of course it was in music that her lesson came. Over and over again rose a chant from the radio station repeating itself until I could learn the tune. These words rose to meet me,

Oh the mysteries of Grace

Some day you’ll see me face to face

But for now, you must live your life

Live it with faith

That you’ll see me again.

Where I see her, is in my self. Not when I look in the mirror, though certainly the white hair and wrinkles are increasing. She is present when I look in my own grandmothered heart. She leaves me with her namesake, Grace, and a log on my heart’s fire.

Listening to our Grandmothers will be released and available on Monday 16th September.  Check back here then to find out how to get your copy of sign up to the mailing list HERE.

 

Listening to our Grandmothers: The Project

Listening to our Grandmothers started as an idea for a book. As the book came to life (it will be released next week), I felt more and more that I wanted to facilitate more opportunities for older womens’ stories be heard. It feels like something we all need no matter our age. I began to imagine more and more manifestations of this. Places where older women share their stories, are heard by each other and by younger women who can benefit from the wisdom and experience in the stories of women who have gone before them and work looking at models of leadership and community developed by older women in different parts of the world.

Then I shared some of my thoughts with a dear friend Aisha Hannibal who in turn shared her vision of researching the traditions of older women in South America and of creating circles specifically for older women where they can share their stories with each other.

I always knew I wanted any profit from selling this book to support projects that worked with women and so was born an idea. Any profits from this book (60%) of the sale price will be used to fund the start up of a longer term project with the working title ‘Listening to Our Grandmothers’.

We envisage this work getting off the ground when we have sufficient funds from the proceeds from this book and other potential sources to support research and development of some of these activities.

If you are interested in and would like to stay in touch with this work please sign up for the Listening to our Grandmothers mailing list HERE.

I wanna wake up with you

My Grandparents gave me an old record player sometime during the 1980s when I first started wanting to collect music.  It was an old one that played 78s and in time they gave me the accompanying record box too (or at least I think the red box I have was theirs). At the weekend I had this great idea for a blog post where I went through the old records that my Grandmothers left me and I found one that I am almost 100% sure that one of them loved and then took a picture of the sleeve.  However I searched all weekend to no avail. So either I am dreaming or I have put it somewhere safe.

Instead I am sharing a You Tube clip of the video of the record that I thought I was looking for. It’s the 1986 recording by Boris Gardner of ‘I wanna wake up with you’.  Whether my memory serves me correctly or not this is for you Granny Walsingham.  It’s happy, colourful and upbeat like I remember you and like you it makes me smile.  I used to call you my ‘super granny’ because you were so vibrant and energetic.

 

You might not know this but the last time I saw you I sat by your bed side, you mistaking me I think, for my Mum and as I drove away I cried deep deep tears because I knew I would never see you alive and smiling again. You brought sunshine in to so many people’s lives Evelyn Joan and that’s the way I will always remember you.

What kind of home did your Grandmother grow up in?

At the weekend I went to view a property that had hardly been updated for years. I don’t know exactly how long but it was decades I think as it had no bathing facilities or hot water.  It moved me almost to tears to realise that someone had been living there until recently because the house felt like a museum to me. There were objects that reminded me of the homes of older people and some of the things I remembered them having during my childhood and yet, even in the 70s and 80s our grandparents had more ‘modern’ homes than the one I visited at the weekend.  It was truly like the place had been stuck in a time warp.

The shock of seeing this place preserved as if time had stood still started me thinking about the homes my grandparents grew up in and how different they would have looked to the homes most of us live in today.  Sometimes we find ourselves lamenting that things and people don’t change but in fact in the last few generations many things about the way we live have changed so profoundly it can be hard for our minds and bodies to keep up.

There is much that I want to celebrate about the world we live in now and the convenience of many of the things that I take for granted; hot water, flushing toilets, easy communication, swift and accessible transport and so on.  I realise that working as I do using the internet and email so much would have been impossible for my grandparents and in fact in Listening to our Grandmothers all of the women highlight the extent to which easy communication has changed their lives.

I am grateful, so grateful that I can use technology to tell more people about my writing and my work and that I can work with women all over the world to make it happen in ways that my Grandparents perhaps never dreamed of and yet, there was a magic in the simplicity of the house I visited in the weekend that made me wish I could step back in time and visit my grandparents in their childhoods and experience even for a few moments the world the way it was.  I hope that in sharing five women’s stories next week as I publish Listening to our Grandmothers I will encourage many many more stories to be told and in doing so my great hope is that magic will happen for I truly think that by sharing our stories we can start to transform the world.

If you want to share a tribute to your Grandmothers you can do so on the Celebrate your Grandmother page.  You can also sign up HERE to be notified when the book is realised next week.

A tribute to YOUR Grandmother

In the US the 8th September this year is Grandparents Day.  My initial reaction was to think that Grandparents day sounded like an invention by the card to extract cash from us but apparently instead it was the brainchild of a woman who wanted to ‘champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes’ and ‘persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide’.  Apparently it has been celebrated in the States since 1978 on the first Sunday in September.

Tapping in to the wisdom & heritage that grandmothers and the older women in our lives can provide is exactly what Listening to our Grandmothers is about and so given that next weekend I will be launching the book website I thought it would be great to invite you to do something to mark this occasion and Grandparents Day.

The invitation is to leave in the comments below a tribute to your Grandmother.  What did you or have you learnt from her?  What is it about her that you remember, have been told or would like to share?  Why is she so important to you?  

It doesn’t matter whether you knew your Grandmother, whether she is alive or died many years ago.  I’m interested in collecting our diverse shared experiences of our grandmothers – these could be something you mum told you or something that happened yesterday.  If you never knew your grandmother you are also welcome to share something about another older woman who meant a lot to you.  Share whatever it is you feel you’d like to contribute.

Your comments will form the first entries on page called ‘Tributes to our Grandmothers’ that I will be setting up on the Listening to Our Grandmothers website next week and the best three will win a signed, first edition, copy of the printed book when it is released on 16th September.  If you’d like to be kept update about the launch please sign up for my mailing list by following this link.

You can also post your tribute on the Listening to our Grandmothers Facebook page or post it on your own website and share it on the Facebook Page or tweet it using #LTOG.  As long as you share your tributes in one of these ways by Grandparents Day, 8th September, you will be entered in to the competition.

I am so looking forward to reading your tributes.

Mary Ann