my maternal grandmother’s legacy was love

my Dude’s birthday is today October 20, 1898

(d. April 19, 1972)

This picture of my grandmother greets me every time I sit down at my desk – Lots of love, Mother is the inscription on this old photograph we found in my mother’s random pictures when Pretty and I were cleaning out her home for the last time in 2007. The picture is framed just as it was when we found it; I wonder how old my grandmother was when this picture was taken. She looks so very young to me, but then I was born when she was a 48 year old widow struggling to make ends meet – already much older than her years.

When I was a toddler my parents and I moved in with my grandmother who became my closest friend and center of warmth in my family until I became a teenager. Bernice Louise Schlinke Boring was the daughter of Bertha Emeline Selma Buls Schlinke who was the daughter of Sophie Bartels Schawe Buls, a German immigrant from Brandenburg who as a widow married Joachim Buls in Texas in 1869. I am the daughter of Selma Louise Boring Morris Meadows who was the daughter of the woman in the picture above.

I honor the memory of my grandmother today which would have been her 123rd birthday. One day women may live to celebrate more than a century of life, but for today I remember Dude who loved me without reservation, who always had my back, who enjoyed watching I Love Lucy, Groucho Marx and Lawrence Welk on tv with me, who shared my secret of staying up to watch our favorite shows while pretending to be asleep when Mama and Daddy got home from Wednesday night prayer meeting, who baked the best cherry pies on Sunday morning and the best kolaches on Sunday afternoon, who sent me package after package of her homemade red velvet and peach cakes when I was in college, who wrote letters in bizarre handwriting she picked up from her few grades of grammar school…

I wish I had known then what I know now.

You were simply the best.


Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated and please stay tuned.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to my maternal grandmother’s legacy was love

  1. Wayside Artist says:

    We don’t get to enjoy them when we would really appreciate the experience, when we reach their age.
    Happy Birthday in Paradise, Dude. Say hello to my Dad who shares the day with you. He would be 103.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JosieHolford says:

    That’s a wonderful tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Luanne says:

    She looks like she’s on top of the world in that photo! Happy belated birthday to your “Dude.” This post is so special, just like your grandmother.
    Gosh, Sheila, how did I miss all these posts?!!!! Wow, you’ve been on a writing roll!

    Liked by 1 person

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