Always An Artist

My grandma, Zora Mae Barron (most people who knew her called her Jerry. She said that started when she was a teenager, and all of her friends decided to give themselves nicknames that were typically men’s names. She said that was popular then…hmmm), passed away on December 4th, after fighting pneumonia for about a week. She was born on November 11, 1916. When I realized that she would have celebrated her 95th birthday on 11-11-11, if she had lived one year longer, I was extra bummed. I think she would have thought that was pretty cool too.
My Grandma’s life looked pretty “average” to the casual observer. But you know, I think that every single person on earth has an amazing story………something better than most novels on a library shelf. I won’t tell the whole story of her life right now. I don’t think I know all of the details to do an adequate job. But, I do know one thing, and that is that she was always an artist. I remember when she told me proudly about the day she was told that she would be sent to a special art school for girls. She didn’t get to continue further study, because her family was unable to afford to send her. I am pretty sure this was devastating to grandma……..because she had big dreams. Honestly, I think that it had an effect on her, for her entire life. I know that she loved my grandpa, and she loved her kids, but I knew she was always a little bit sad, a little bit distant.
I do think that grandma did her best with the life she had. Times were hard, with the depression, and WWII, and she lived through them all. Grandma was a very talented cook….and made delicious pies, too. She quilted and tatted, and cuddled with her very needy granddaughter, and also 3 sweet little girls (and later a sweet little boy). She lost one child in infancy, and one of her daughters to a brain tumor at 41. I can’t imagine how terrible that must have felt.

Mom told me that one thing Grandma asked her, a few days before her death, was if “she could still draw.” That kind of broke my heart a little. Toward the end of her life, and she was still an artist, compelled to draw, to create. I completely relate, and I wonder what I will be wanting to create those few days before my life ends? Will I want to sing, photograph, scrapbook?
On my way home from visiting Grandma for the last time, I paid homage to her love of painting landscapes, and I did what I could…..I photographed different landscapes I could imagine she would have loved to paint. I hope my images would be something she would have been proud of.

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