Grandma Georgie, Beatty Family Matriarch

remember grandma georgie, who turned 99 in february? don't worry, she's okay!
it's just that she took ill a few weeks ago and had to go stay in the hospital for a couple weeks.
well now she is back home (begrudgingly accepting a little extra care) and while amy and the kids were in town we paid her a visit. i love the proud look on her face above; it tweaks at my heart.

grandma's house has been the same since i can remember.
 like her pink bathroom fixtures, shell collection, and clowns.
all her little things, each earth-toned afghan, the little plants in her kitchen, the shag carpet, the stacks of photo albums... are forever part of my childhood and engrained in my soul.

she was kind of mad that while she was in the hospital they (my dad) moved some things around like a little hallway table so that she can get through more easily with her walker. quite the stubborn little lady! just like how she insists that the strawberries on her morning bowl of oatmeal be cut up just so.

it was good to spend an afternoon at her humble little sacramento home.
darin and i filmed her telling stories to start the mini-bio-documentary i want to make about her.
 for a little old lady, she sure has energy for a couple hours of storytelling!

the kids loved playing out in the backyard. she has a friend who keeps her roses healthy and her lawn watered and mowed. i remember this bright red bottlebrush tree and all its accompanying buzzing bees. there was an old dusty pigeon coop from my dad's teenage years in the back corner of her backyard, half hidden by shrubs and trees. i felt like it was a secret hideaway. it kind of haunts me out there.

i look at these lovely little faces and think about time past, and ancestry and connections.

i think of this little lady 80 years ago. just starting out, fresh and spunky and full of love.
going to college for teaching. falling in love with the older brother of her high school sweetheart, who died at 17 in a tragic car accident coming down the mountain from yosemite after a senior picnic.

everything is meant to be.
buck was such a good husband. when she tells me that, she pats my arm gently, she repeats herself. "he was a wonderful man. a wonderful husband." i imagine their marriage full of kindness, peace, a little sparkle in their eyes.

their first baby was born in 1934, fred. my uncle who passed away quite a while ago from cancer.
(i wish he could have lived to see his grandkids getting famous!)

the family grew quickly, along came uncle robert...and then grandma got her beloved daughter, my aunt mary elaine. my middle name comes from her.

as a baby i think mary looked like my older half-sister jeanette, and her daughter, my niece whitney.

what a sweet little california family.
after a few years, they were blessed with two more bundles of joy.
my dad:

and two years later to the day, his little brother stephen:

now a mother of five kids, grandma g was still wearing pretty dresses!
i noticed looking through all her old photos, that she favored puffed sleeves and full skirts with cinched waists and square necklines. a style i am rather fond of myself.

the five beatty kids. who sprung forth many, many more.

my pops and grandma. kind souls.
these days she relies very heavily on him and he helps her so much. i love the jokey fun relationship he has with her.

one last oldie. i think she is a teenager here and this one is labeled "goe bake."
on the back someone (looks like a dude by the writing) wrote "the sheba of livingston."
for some reason that prissy little face, that flirty assigned nickname, almost makes me want to cry.
i am just happy that families exist, that our old folks tell us all about the years before we were born,
that we are part of intricate circles of love and life.

i will be visiting her regularly to record as many of her stories as i can. all these future generations of beattys need to know the lovely woman who started it all.

if she's still alive, i hope you soon get a chance to talk with and hug your grandmother.

white dress with rainbow belt: vintage from crimson and clover, same one i wore this night
red corduroy vest: thrifted $2.50
flower scarf: thrifted years ago
beaded necklace: cost plus imports
boots and earrings: gifts from marmy


Milla said…
Oh sweetness! I can't wait to see the footage on grandma G and her tales. Just the other day after sauna C and I were lamenting that no one had ever recorded the Alaskan pioneer tales of his World War II hero grandfather, who's now dying in hospice care.

Thank goodness you all are doing just that, making sure those stories remain to be told. Tears literally sprung to my eyes reading this, thinking of my own grandma, long dead, who practically raised me.

Sometimes I long for the times when all families lived together under one roof, the old and young and mothers and fathers and cousins all in perfect disharmonious harmony.

Coming from a small family, I definitely enjoy the adventures and stories of your big one. Family, big, small, extended, adopted, it's all such a blessing.
Missa said…
Oh Grandma Georgie, what a peach!

I never knew my grandmas. My mom's mom died when she was eight years old and my dad's mom died when I was a baby. How lucky you are, and it's so wonderful that you are recording her stories for future generations! I hope we get a peek into your family history through her twinkling eyes :)

The part where she touched your arm and told you "he was a wonderful man. a wonderful husband." brought tears to my eyes.
um, i love grandma georgie. you are so awesome to be filming her. my biggest regret is not talking to my grandma more about her life. i love granma g's house. great stories, great pictures. thank you for sharing.
Still Blooming said… have gotten my soul tears flowing with this one. Your grandma is beautiful! I was raised by my great grandma Mayme. She passed about 15 years ago and lived to be 92. She certainly was a hard working farm gal and mother of 7. The pictures of your her home reminds me so much of my grandma's little house, all the trinkets and dusty candles that were never lit, oh and the zenith console television:) I was the last child she raised and her oldest great grandchild. Now, with not much family to speak of outside of my own beloved, I am truly happy and touched to see all the beauty within your family, the ripple is reaching so many. Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to hearing more about the love story. HUGS and KISSES xoxo
Tina Dawn said…
Loved all your old pictures and the new ones too. Kiss your Grandma a little extra for me since both mine are gone now. She definitely looks like a love. Thank you for sharing your love (and her great clothes!) in this post. Love Tina
Claire said…
This piece is so genuine and heartwarming. I saw a NOVA movie once where a scientist was showing a display in a museum. It was a timeline that wrapped halfway around a fairly large room. It was the scientifically known history of the universe. Human history was the width of a human hair, suspended in all of that cosmic existence. Yet pictures of our grandmothers seem as if they were from ages ago.

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I am touched by you love for your sweet Grandmother (Sheba! What a wonderful nickname, even if to have it only for a moment) your love for her reverberates through the distance and my heart is touched by it.

My own Grandmother is seventy and we are very close. I lived with her (and my mother) when I was little and she shaped who I am so deeply. She's a Mississippi girl who made it out of the patriarcal south to pursue life on her own terms.

This was really sweet and wonderful,
Amy Beatty said…
She melts my heart over and over again!! I'm so glad and thankful that you and Darin and recording her - it is a MUST!! We love Grandma xo I'm hoping to visit her again in May, maybe she will feel well enough to go out to lunch :) I LOVE the few stories and pictures you told. Matt KNOWS NOTHING about his family history he is always amazed at the little tidbits I know, so keep them coming. I love you xo
mooncowboy said…
love all these photos and comments. she is so full of story. i want to visit her more often, and listen to her, in fact that part is the most interesting part to me, to just and hear stories of olden days that relate to us and our past (and future). thank you for doing this documenting--pricelessness.
AdieSpringB said…
Bun I love this one so much. I can't wait til Grandma's 100th party! It is gonna be SO MUCH FUN! I can't believe how much spunk Grandma G has in her. She is a feisty little planet. And to think. Not any of us would exist if it weren't for the womb of that lovely Sheba lady. I am so grateful for us and her. Last Christmas, Dad didn't let me take her to that Galena Street East Christmas special.....he said it would be too difficult. This year, I am MAKING HIM come with us and bring her too! I want her last years to be full and spritely. Not like the last few which have been a bit hard. Let's spunk things up even more!

Cel said…
I last saw my grandmother on Saturday. She's nowhere near your gram's age though, my grandmother is only 65. It was odd because she had just moved from the home I had always known as hers, after my grandfather passed away in February. The old place was too empty of love and too full of sad memories for her I guess, and she told me she misses her partner. Your grandmother reminds me a lot of my great grandmother, a super lady who left home at 13 to work doing house cleaning and such to help her younger siblings. I wish more people paid attention to their elders, they're so full of information and love and life and so few take the time to see it.

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