Wednesday, January 18, 2006


This is a picture of my grandmother, Olive A. Jenkins (1920-2000). She’s the short one in the middle. She died five and a half years ago today, so today I’m going to blog about her just a little.
This picture was taken September 20, 1940. She was a few months shy of her 20th birthday. That hefty 15-month-old she’s holding is her son, Jerry. If you look very closely, you can see a ring on her left-hand ring finger. I don’t know where she got it, because in 1940 she wouldn’t be married for another two years yet. I never met her parents, but since they were Irish-Catholic and French-Canadian-Catholic, I imagine they weren’t too thrilled with this order of things.

I’m about to turn 23. When Olive was twenty three, she had already had a child, gotten married, and lost her husband to cancer. Mostly I’m just ruminative today because it’s such a stark comparison. Olive at 23: child, one dead husband, waitressing in Worcester, Massachusetts. Emily at 23: college degree, teaching in a foreign country, with no children nor husbands, and no definitely prospect of either. Still, I think it’s more a difference of generation and circumstance than it is of choice and personality. At least, I hope so.

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