Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Great Grandma Redfearn

From Left to right:  Grandma Collum, Great Grandma Redfearn, my dad.
My older sister is in the blue and I'm in the pink shirt.
Photo is from my Great Grandma's house.
The past few weeks I've been typing up my Great Grandma Redfearn's history. She was pressured by the family to have a few things about her life written up so us great grandkids could read them. I'll be putting them up on my blog in a little while.

My great-grandmother has always been one of my heroes. As a little child I remember those visits to her little house in Hudson, IA with fondness. Hers was a place full of old things, things I didn't understand; some of the things frightened me and some were endlessly fascinating. And she was a pack-rat so there was a lot of things in her little house.

For some reason I was scared of these dolls she had, they had really long arms and legs and hand stitched faces like Raggedy Ann but they made me uneasy the way they stared at me from the equally frightening couch which for some reason I didn't like, it was a hard couch and it looked like it should be soft, and I think I didn't understand something that looked one way and felt another yet, so I didn't like sitting on it until I was older.

She collected seashells, and those were fascinating. I remember being told Great Grandma never got to see the ocean though she always wanted too, and people sent her shells because she liked them. Over the years she'd gotten a huge collection of shells, and a lot of boxes covered in shells, corals painted bright colors, she even had a bunch of lamps made of shells, one of which I have inherited. Shells were arranged on batting and put on the wall, shells were in little glass cabinets that lined the four season porch... As kids we each got a little box lined with shells on the outside and filled with more shells on the inside and I spent some of my time going through the shells and just being amazed by them.

She lived in this tiny house that was cluttered and full with all sorts of things she just wouldn't throw away. As a child I loved the clutter, I was never bored at her place. I could always explore and find another nook or cranny full or something I'd never seen before. She collected thimbles, so I liked looking at her thimbles that were on a table next to one of the chairs she always sat in. Behind the chair was a huge armoire filled with fiesta-ware plates of bright cheerful colors.

Every where there was color, the carpet was a well worn orange/red, the chairs were all bright quilted corduroy fabric. She had little crafts tucked away in corners, bunches of golf balls glued together to make a little dog with googly eyes and felt ears and a golf peg for a tail. There were animals made out of shells, old plastic fish on the walls of the bathroom which had the smallest shower imaginable stuffed next to a small toilet. She filled the upstairs with all kinds of boxes and items she probably kept since the 1940's.

I remember this pair of boxes, too. They were hinged and inside were stereograph cards and two viewers. I was amazed at these things, 3D pictures would pop out at me as if they were real! She had hundreds of stereograph cards to choose from, and I always searched through them until I found a few that were in runs that showed a lady falling into a pool, another run was of a car driving down the road or something like that. There was also a few of a hurricane, I think. I would sit on her colorful carpet and go through these cards for quite a long time, listening with half an ear to the adults talk about history and hear stories of how Great Grandma would cook pies for the workers fixing the street and how the workers would be so amazed this old lady was cooking pies from scratch for them. (Which was one of my favorite stories.)

Great Grandma Redfearn was always an amazing person to me and I'm very excited to share her story on the blog, hearing her history has only made me respect her more.  She lived a hard life in Iowa but I didn't know anything about how hard her life was until I read her story, she never let on to us grand kids the hardships she endured.

I'm also hoping to get a few more photos of her up and of her house.

No comments:

Post a Comment