Remember that old song? Seemed our radio station only played it if it were night and rainy. I actually hate rainy days/nights. Being prone to migraines that means I am sensitive to the changes in atmosphere that rain brings with it. But it’s been a very busy week (or at least it seems that way) and I am so tired that I am thrilled that its rainy and I can just vegetate.
I can surf the new genealogy websites that seem to pop up like mushrooms after a thunderstorm, and watch a little TV. I don’t watch much TV, not having cable and all, but occasionally I like a little I love Lucy. Don’t you love those old TV shows. You could watch with the kids without being embarrassed about what people did or said. And it was just funny.
We used to visit my mother’s aunt when I was a kid. She lived in one of those old farmhouses with the tin roof. I loved to play on her side porch when it rained. She’d open the windows to let in the cool air, and I would play while she and mom visited. The rain on that tin would be almost hypnotizing.
When I was nine a tornado demolished our house. We arrived at her house wet, scared, tired, but she took us in, fed us, and put us to bed under that tin roof. That night another tornado tore down some big trees in her yard. But yet I still felt safe in that big old farmhouse. Maybe it was because it had already withstood the test of time and I felt like one more storm wasn’t going to tear it down too.
We stayed with her for a few days and my grandmother taught me to hand embroider while I was there and out of school. It was so cool watching her make those tiny little stitches in the cloth. I don’t have patience for hand sewing. But my mother and my grandmother both were good seamstresses. That week, I got to be in the bosom of the women on my maternal side. They taught me the things their mothers had taught them. Because my great grandmother died when my grandmother and her sister were so young, they learned a lot of what they taught me from the women at the Tennessee Industrial Home, an orphanage for children whose parents could not care for them. My great grandfather had died in 1920, his wife in 1928. My grandmother was 10. My daughter is 10. I can’t imagine what her life would be like without me to care for her. But my grandmother did have a loving mother. She was actually the mother of my grandfather’s third wife. She died in childbirth, leaving her mother without a daughter and when my grandfather married my grandmother (his fourth wife), Ma W. took on the role of her mother and was grandmother to not only the children he had with his third wife, but those of my grandmother as well. Ma W. was one of those women who loved children. Despite no blood relationship, she was my great grandmother.
So the next time you have a good rainy night, think of the women who raised the woman who raised you. What were their lives like and how did that affect you? Were they related to you, or did they just take an interest in your ancestors life, enough to make a difference?
And if you see any Eddie Rabbit fans, tell ’em you “love a rainy night.”