Monday, September 26, 2011

Great-Grandma Liebeck's Hand Towels

There are few people in the world that I can point to and say, "I am here because of that person. My life is what it is today because of him/her." Of course, Doogie Howser is on the short list.

But, another person is my mother's mother's mother, Ruth Gayman Jenkins Liebeck. She was my great-grandmother and my mom's hero. Ruth Gayman married a dreamboat of a man named Roy and had a baby girl named Judith; Roy died when my mom's mom Judy was a little girl, and later Ruth married a steel girder of a man named Wally Liebeck. That is all of the genealogy stuff that people like to know.

I like to know the nitty gritty details, though. Grandma Liebeck never learned to drive, because she was a lady and liked to be driven around. She hated her naturally tan skin, because she grew up in a time when porcelain skin was fashionable. Her thin ankles were her pride and joy, and she had the most luxurious fingernails up until she died at the age of 95. Grandma was a flirt to the hilt, telling my father even in her most senile moments that he was a handsome man and should come sit closer to her. Her mind left her for the last years of her life, so some days she was back to being a young lady working as an operator at Bell Telephone. She was had a wicked sense of humor and a pin-perfect turn of phrase; her memoirs are so inspiring and achingly funny. She was just a cool lady--and I mean lady.

Grandma Liebeck left each of my sisters and me something for our trousseau. Her contribution to me was a set of beautiful hand towels she had embroidered. Her note kills me:

"These dish towels are to be given to Holly Chatfield for her hope chest. I made them. Love, G. Liebeck

I am so related to her, because I would say the same thing: I made these, they are awesome, keep them. And I will keep them--there are seven towels, depicting a little girl doing something for each day of the week. The embroidery is beautiful and the sentiments are from another life.

 I probably won't be using these as everyday towels, so I need to figure out how to display them safely. Pictures on the blog seem to be the best way to show them, for now.

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