Friday, February 25, 2011

Homesteaders

This is a picture of my great grandma, probably taken in the 70's.  This is pretty much how I remember her.  I was a teen-ager when she died.  I remember being sad but as I think back, I don't really remember having a lot of interaction with her.  I saw her only as she was then, an old lady.  I don't remember her being terribly cuddly or warm but she was always nice to us.  I do remember her Southern accent with a voice that stood out in a crowd.  We didn't have any cute name we called her.  In fact, I remember that we called her, "great-grandma".   It seems strange now that we didn't call her anything warmer or shorter.  I wish we'd called her Grandma Rhoda.  Too late now.  I'm sure at the time she was wearing this dress,  I probably just thought of it as an old lady's dress.  Today, as I look at this picture, I'm thinking, "Is that Orange Paisley?!"  

This is her in her younger years.  She and my great-grandpa were Wyoming Homesteaders.  They left North Carolina and arrived in Wyoming on an emigrant train.  My Grandma Rose was just a baby at that time and the homestead was so far out in the boonies that Grandma Rose was an adolescent before she ever got to come into town! 

Now, I am awed by what they did and how their life was.  I wish I'd had sense enough as a child to ask her questions about her life.  I really know nothing of her life before Wyoming.  I've heard stories of their homestead years but not from her point of view.  What was it like to live in a drafty log cabin on the Wyoming prairie?  How in the world did they provide food for all their children during the long winters?  Was she ever scared?  Did she ever have a moment to herself?  Did she have a chance to have fun or was her life always a struggle to keep up?  What about her faith?  How much contact did she have with her family in North Carolina?  Who helped her when she gave birth?  What was her grocery list like when my great-grandpa went to town maybe once or twice a year?  How did they make money?

So many questions.  Too late.