“ Don’t show your good side only when dating, be who you are.” – Florence (My Grandma!)
There is no question that the foundation for my understanding of love came from my maternal grandparents, Julius and Florence. My grandparents had nine children (eight girls, one boy), 15 grandchildren and over 20 great-grandchildren. My mom and I lived with them for the first nine years of my life. I spent most of my time at their house before leaving for college. My grandfather is no longer with us, and I miss him so much. He had such a presence and a pure heart. As I walked into her house for the interview my heart was swelling because this was very personal for me. True to form, she was sitting at her dining room table working on a puzzle while her old western movie was playing on TV. She was ready to talk to me. To say that I am grateful for the love I was able to experience from my grandparents is an understatement. Their love was the first romantic love I witnessed. Here’s what my grandmother had to say about love, marriage and family. Please enjoy.
Woo Forever- Love is?
Grandma- When you get down to it, love is an action not words.
Woo Forever- How long were you and Granddaddy married?
Grandma- We were married for 45 years before he died in July of 1999. I still miss him to this day.
Woo Forever- Did you have an idea of what marriage was going to be like?
Grandma- I had no idea what marriage was going to be like. Your grandfather and I used to hang out with two other couples. We would celebrate each other’s birthdays, anniversaries and just have fun together. Things changed once we started having children. It was hard to find babysitters.
Woo Forever- What did you love most about Granddaddy?
Grandma- He was a good man, father and husband. Whatever we needed he would make sure we had it. He was good to everybody. Our children really loved him and would greet him at the door when he came home from work.
Woo Forever- What lesson did you learn as a wife and mother?
Grandma- I learned how to cook. I started by getting recipes from cookbooks. I now have my own recipes and I won’t be sharing them.
Woo Forever– What about your fried chicken or your potato salad recipe?
Woo Forever- What advice would you give to others about marriage?
Grandma- When you are going to get married make sure that’s what you want to do and that you’re in love. Make sure you get all of your running out.
- Things will flare up but don’t fly off the handle.
- Keep your house and bed clean.
- Compliment each other.
- Whatever goes on in your house, let it stay in your house and with your family.
- Keep yourself clean and looking nice for each other.
Your Grandfather would come in the house from work and ask if was I was going someplace and I would tell him I am looking this way for you.
Woo Forever- What was your favorite memory between you and Granddaddy?
Grandma- The entire marriage. We were always joking. We would sit together at night, hold hands, talk and watch television. He would help me clean and take the kids to visit his mom and family just to give me a break. He was good to everybody. I loved greeting him at the door, asking him about his day and having dinner with him. I would set the table flowers or candles just for us. He enjoyed buying me candy. It was his way of telling me he was thinking about me. He made sure our children had food on the table. When your grandfather died I prayed to God not to send me another man. No man would ever be able to satisfy me like he did. We spoiled each other.
Woo Forever- I felt that Granddaddy was so in love with you. He was compassionate towards you. How did it make you feel?
Grandma- It made me feel good. He was a good man and everyone knew it. Your grandfather was the nicest man. He was not a pushover though, don’t push him now, you will have something on your hands.
Woo Forever- How did you get through the hard stuff?
Grandma- We were good at apologizing to each other when we were wrong. We showed the children how to act and love one another. It was only when we were alone that I would talk to him about something I may have disagreed with and ask to think about it. We always dealt with any issues before going to bed. We didn’t go to bed upset. The children never heard us arguing. We discussed our issues behind closed doors.
Woo Forever- What would you tell others about love?
Grandma- When you get in a relationship with someone there’s a lot to consider. It’s not just about you. Always try to make each other happy.
“If someone loves and cares about you their actions will show it.” – Florence
Woo Forever- How are you doing?
Grandma- I’m doing well. I find things to do to occupy my mind. I put together my puzzles, clean, cook, read, watch TV, go to church and enjoy word searches. I don’t sit around thinking about junk and sin.
Woo Forever- What do you need from your family?
Grandma- More love towards each other. Think about how it used to be. Remember how your parents treated you. Have fun together. Your mom had a way of coming in the house and messing with your grandfather, making us all laugh.
Woo Forever- What do you look forward to?
Grandma- I look forward to living on my own.
Woo Forever- What would you like for me to know about love?
Grandma- If you really love someone, there’s a feeling in your heart. Share your love. Hold hands and continue to be nice to each other. That’s what love is.
Woo Forever- What do you want our family to always remember?
Grandma- Always remember the good things about me. How you all were raised and what I taught you. I love all of my children and I pray for them. My grandchildren do right by me, they hug and kiss me when they see me. They make sure I’m okay.
The love I witnessed at the beginning of my life has shaped the person that I am today. I hope I am able to express love the way my grandparents did with each other and others. I recently spent time with my cousins and we were all sure that we were grandma’s favorite. What I am sure of is that our grandparents loved us. I do believe that I was their favorite though. No matter where I am in life, Grandma’s house is always home for me. When she heard me come in the door of her house she said, “Hey Mainey, I thought that was you.”- I’m home.
Grandma- thank you for everything you’ve done for our family. You are a strong woman. I love you more than words can express. You call me and I will come running, always. – Mainey.
Love is Julius and Florence. Thanks for showing me how to Woo Forever.