Remembering Grethe on International Women’s Day

I just love this image of my grandmother, together with ALL of her siblings. What a crowd! Posing as #3 from the right, she was the oldest of the 11 children, her sister the youngest. You can guess who did the massive amounts of laundry.

From a family of hard-working and creative people, she herself was a warm and spirited young woman, an avid tap dancer who had to break off any plans of “making it” on stage – there was just too much work to do at home. Married with four children, she was widowed early. With no education, she got by as a seamstress, poorly paid and hard work which eventually made her fingers all crooked from arthritis.

I have so many memories from her home. The mixed scent of coffee and cigars, and the humming sound of the sewing machine. Always working as soon as my sisters and I were put to bed.

She had the most wonderful laugh and made cruel (great!) jokes about everyone we met. Always available for all her grandchildren (headcount: 10), cooking, sewing, reading bedside stories, keeping peace among us all. I remember her as a redhead and always found the color of her hair to go well with her temperament. Only later did I learn, this was a dye! She passed on years ago and must now be tap dancing in Heaven. A mover and a shaker for sure.