This is my mother holding me, circa 1953. This photograph sits framed in what I call my "nest," the bookshelf-lined room where I nap and read. This four generation photo sits next to it.
Here sits my mother, my mother's mother (my nana Lydia Hueston), I, and my daughter Barbara at three months old, all attending a Hueston family reunion in Gettysburg (Check out the VW Beetle in the background; I learned to drive in one of those!) in 1975. My nana wanted a four generation photograph, and we obliged. I treasure my copy of this family phenomena.
On the occasion of the birth of my first granddaughter last week, I have been pondering the intergenerational bonds between women--what it feels like to have a daughter, how my mom approached being a grandmother, and the role played by both my grandmothers in my life. My mother and my grandmothers remain as my fundamental teachers, guides, and mentors, and it is because of them that women's stories and women's wisdom have always been important to me. Now it is my turn. How quickly we grow from ingenue to crone.
My Grandma (Mildred Herman), when dressing up, would always fasten her gold, "grandma bracelet" on her sturdy tan arm. I remember sitting next to her in church and twirling the bracelet around her wrist, fingering each charm and reading each shiny disk one-by-one, noting the name and birthdate of each of her six grandchildren--my brother and I, followed by my cousins. I delighted finding my name every single time. My mother followed her lead and started a bracelet of her own, this bracelet which I inherited.
Yesterday, Jim and I walked downtown for breakfast at The Corner Room, and I took what has now become my grandma bracelet to Moyer Jewelers (a State College tradition and our family jewelry store of choice ever since my brother worked there as an engraver throughout high school) to add another dangling disk. The disk will read "Rosemary Dow" on the front and "8-19-12" on the reverse side. Her disk will be soldered on the chain, right next to her cousins--Alexander Christopher and James Timothy. I cannot believe I soon shall wear proof of the fact that I am now "Nana" to three amazing children, children of my children. A most wondrous thing.