Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Women Before Me

Left to Right: Margaret Ann Lambing (baby), Dorothy Margaret Fife, Elizabeth Fife, Mrs. Bonnekamp at Leasburg MO, 1942

Recently, my mom loaned me a photograph of four generations of women who came before me.  I look at the firm lines of their mouths and I can see the grit in their craw.  People only crossed these women at their own expense.  Truly.

Mrs. Bonnekamp came to Leasburg MO with money in her pocket and a general store which she ran in this whistle stop of a town.  Her daughter, Elizabeth, married a tall Scotsman named Fred Fife and the two of them ran the local tavern.  Elizabeth and Fred Fife had five childern, but only one was a girl, my grandmother.  Dorothy Margaret Fife was spoiled by her father, brothers, and grandmother.  However, Margaret and her mother would often fight, which always ended with Margaret hiding under the bed and Elizabeth poking her with a broom to get her out.

Margaret's own daughter, Margaret Ann, is my mother.  I knew only my grandmother and mother, but I like to think I must have something in me from my ancestors.  Maybe I got a love of shopping from Mrs. Bonnekamp whose first name I don't know.  And I am sure I got my friendliness from Elizabeth.  I have been told she loved the constant stream of people into her tavern and that she never met a stranger.

Today as I say happy mother's day to all the mom's in the world, I also say thank you.  Thank you to the women from which I am descended.  Thank you for giving me the genes which have come down in my DNA to help make me who I am.  And thank you for teaching me to not frown so sternly in photographs.  Those faces are so rigid, I have to wonder if their gridles were killing them.

1 comment:

Tempest ina Pot of Tea said...

Dora my great grandmother Bonnekamp was named Dora.