I was blessed to grow up with the love of two grandmothers. On my mom’s side of the family, Mary Elizabeth Blandford Algren. Granny. On my dad’s, Elsie Hannah Royce Boardman. Gramma. Occasionally, Gramma Board.
Each of them, in the current vernacular, badasses.
Granny was a wife, mom, and grandmother who worked outside the home in the late 1940’s and 50’s. She looked like a model. Almost like a pin-up girl. She loved dancing and card games and Jeopardy.
Gramma quit high school to marry Frank Boardman, forgoing the gold beads promised by my great-grandfather to each of his seven daughters who graduated. She raised six children, two orphaned nephews, and fed all the farm hands, while baking 40 loaves of bread a week on a wood burning stove. And raising flocks of poultry for her income.
We never lived close to either family, but I knew, from my earliest days, that I was loved.
Elsie and Elizabeth were strong women. Bright. Funny. Ahead of their times, though almost a generation apart in age. Elsie was 30 years old before she won the right to vote and, I’m quite certain, never voted for a Democrat. Elizabeth worked for the State Republican party in Minnesota.
They would both be aghast at this moment in time. And, they would adamantly support me, even though I’ve made different choices.
Granny’s came from a family entranced with photography. Pictures of fishing trips to the woods in northern Minnesota. Pictures of beautifully roasted (and rapidly cooling!) Thanksgiving turkeys. Pictures of houses and cars and dogs from my growing up years.
Gramma was a storyteller. Not nearly so many pictures. Vivid stories of an Indiana farm wife. Daily life, with the occasional spell binding tale of a tornado or a flu epidemic or a child burned in a fire. Don’t ask about my uncles and the outhouse! There were times when I thought she was borrowing material from Little House on the Prairie! And, once, an alligator!
All their pictures and stories live inside me. As much a part of who I am as their DNA.
I was listened to and loved. I was enough–just the way I was. A chubby kid with crooked teeth and two left feet who couldn’t carry a tune. Enough and then some.
I think about them a lot. Especially at holidays. And when I’m writing. Their stories part of mine. Their strength woven like shining threads through the fabric of my hope for my girls and your kids and all the world.
In thanks for Elsie and Elizabeth (And for your grandmothers!) you can get a Kindle version of my book, Grandmothers Are In Charge Of Hope, the new expanded 2nd edition, for FREE. Just click below. You can also give them as gifts, for FREE.
Oh, and a minor Ooops!!! There is a bit of a glitch with Amazon for folks who already have the Kindle version of the first edition. (Yes, I am still learning. Just not so sure Amazon is!) Anyway, no worries. If you click on the photo, below, and they tell you that you already own the book, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you one as a gift. FREE! (Or leave me a message in the comments section of this blog post.) The second edition has lots more good tips and information and I don’t want you to miss out. (Also, and I’m not supposed to tell you this yet, but there’s a paperback version of the 2nd edition coming out in about 2 weeks.)
Tell all your friends. And hurry! This special offer is only good through Saturday, Nov. 26th. (Amazon has a lot of rules!)
I honestly believe that empowering a community of grandmothers to build more love, stronger families, and a kinder and more hopeful world is a huge part of what we all need in this moment. You can help!