2009 Maggie Holman - Plano, Texas
Words of Women 2009 Essay of the Year
The Most Influential Woman in My Life
I look at her and I see the triumphs and the terrors of decades. With every wrinkle come a thousand stories of the past. Her smile is the hope for the future and her fears based on a life lived through depression, war, and hope. My grandmother is not just a person I go to for hugs and home cooking, she is a symbol of the triumphant mother, teacher, and friend. With every cookie and glass of milk comes a story about what life was like when simplicity was treasured and technology was scarce. I learned from her the joys of family, a farm, and a good life.
Most predominant are her tales of the great Depression in which she always begins with how hard life was, but in the end sharing how her family made it though everything, and were simply grateful for what they did have, not lingering on what they lacked. My grandmother will tell of times when all there was to eat was turnip greens, cornbread, and tomato based products. She then will give me an impish smile and say ďI still canít eat turnip green or tomato soupĒ. Sure I may laugh it off at first, but next time when I am having dinner, I look at my plate and realize not only all she went through, but how lucky I am.
I also admire my motherís mother because of her ultimate multi-taking skills. She managed to teach home economics to teenagers, work in the community, raise two very busy kids, and still be home at night to cook a homemade meal. In the sixties, or even today, it seems that the hardworking housewives of the world are being overlooked so often. We focus on the women who are first in their respective job fields, and who show men that women can not only do a manís job, but do it better. Even though these are impressive accomplishments, letís not forget the housewives that hold everything up. Doesnít even the richest and most successful man in the world simply want food and a clean house when he comes home?
My grandmother was part of this group of overlooked, hardworking citizens. I am amazed at all she did and how easy she made it look. When the going gets tough, many people, man or woman, will give up, but she never did. Even to this day when my grandfather had to have some very scary surgery, she went on with life and helped my grandfather get well. For simply this perseverance, the very theme of her entire life, my grandmother deserves so much more than what society gives her. I love her with all my heart and she is truly a role model in my life.
Maggie Holman, Age 16 - Plano, Texas