Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In Honor of Florence

Today is the anniversary of my grandmother Florence Belle Cunningham Carter Sharp's birthday. The photo above was taken in approximately 1910 so it's 100 years old today. If she were alive today she'd be 110. I don't know why that's important for me to calculate, but she was an incredible woman whom I loved dearly, and she lived 96 incredible years.
This photo was taken at her last birthday celebration here on earth at my mother's home in Virginia. Grandma came to live with mom the last few years of her life and we enjoyed having tea parties for Grandma's special day each year.

Grandma loved getting dressed up for church on Sundays and here she is with me and my brother Jim on Mother's Day in 1963 outside her lovely brick home in Oklahoma City. She was quite a looker and loved her costume jewelry, hats, gloves, shoes and purse to go with each outfit.

Here she is outside the White House Cafe on Robinson Ave. in the Capitol Hill area of Oklahoma City. She bought this cafe in 1954 and loved her "regulars." Those were the folks who came into the cafe on a regular basis, like Sarge the jeweler, and the big guy from Oklahoma Tire and Supply, the Maytag man, the barber, and folks from Oklahoma National Bank. Employees of local stores like John A. Brown, C. R. Anthony's, Emmer Brothers, Langstons, Jack and Jill's. Then there were all the folks from her local church, Capitol Hill Baptist, and the most memorable to me was Wee-Wo, the newspaperman. Burgers at Grandma's cafe filled the whole plate from my perspective, and the pie case was mouth-watering with the peach, mystery, and chocolate cream pies tempting customers right at eye level on the counter. The beef tips were to die for but not before you had a Ne-Hi Strawberry Soda to whet your whistle. Grandma put her heart, body and soul into making the Cafe, or "Carter's" as it was well known, a comforting respite where you could get down-home cooking at a fair price, and a lovely lady wearing an apron and jewelry with her crisp uniform to greet you with a smile.

Before buying the Cafe, Grandma gave her all to helping her husband raise three children while working happily at home baking, cooking, cleaning, gardening, sewing, butchering, etc. Grandpa had a milk route in which he and his sons transported milk from the farmers to the dairy. She did all she could to support their efforts back at the homefront.

In Titus 2:4-5 Paul tells Titus that an older woman should be spending her time " teaching the younger women to be loving wives and mothers, temperate, chaste, and kind, busy at home, respecting the authority of their own husbands." Grandma did this not with her words in a preachy way, but with the kind words she spoke to everyone and the way she lived. She served all those around her, never complained, gossiped, or begrudged the work before her.

Grandpa died when I was five years old, and many years later Grandma married again at age 70 and that marriage was a happy one until her husband Bill died 10 years later.

I can't honor her here on this blog in words and photos to adequately give you a picture of who she was to so many friends and family members, so I'll end with saying, " I love you Grandma and I miss you and want to honor you by remembering you today."


BFC Parents and Fencers said...

Loved the post, Dana. Couldn't help notice the similarities between the way you describe your Grandma ... and ... YOU yourself. Woudja just open the Tea Room already. xoxol

BFC Parents and Fencers said...

"BFC" is me, Dana. Don't know why it comes up like that --Dolly

Renna said...

That was a beautifully written story, Dana. It sounds as if you really captured the essence of who your grandmother was, and the mark she made on this world.

gemini said...

Beautiful remembering our loved ones. great post. am joining WFW. join me too, see you there.