This is my memorial to the grandmother I never met, Rinda Hoskins Wilson. I found this chair at one of my favorite shops, wrapped it in a shawl grandma made, and added her pictures. Rinda died when my mom was two. I have her name, but not much more. Here’s what I’ve pieced together, like a quilt. It’s nice to have a grandmother, after all these years.
Growing up I knew that Rinda’s father disapproved of Richard. He separated them, like Romeo and Juliet, except Richard married someone else. She died, their baby too. Fact-checking with my mom, I learned her name, Melinda, and that grandpa’s first family died in the 1918 flu pandemic. I’m glad I know Melinda’s name. She’s family too.
My grandparents met again. Mom said it was because Rinda invited him to a party. I met my husband because I asked him to dance. It’s nice to discover I’m like my grandma. They married and had six children: Opal Lee, Grant, Leo, Mary, Don, and Hazel, my mom. I married and had three: Alex, Andy, and Ashley.
Rinda died when mom was a toddler. I didn’t know till now, mom was barely two years old. My grandpa, age 42, was a single parent with kids from 2 to 16. I can’t imagine! Three kids and a job was hard enough when my husband traveled. Richard remarried. His third wife was 18, and unfortunately, a little like Cinderella’s stepmother. I never realized till now, how much sadness my grandfather survived.
Growing up I never saw Rinda. Ever. She disappeared. That happens a lot when a parent remarries. In middle school I wanted a picture for my mom. I asked till I got the first picture. I’m not sure when it was taken, but I didn’t care. I was glad to meet my grandma!The second picture is Rinda holding a toddler, my Aunt Opal Lee. I wish I had asked her about Rinda, but I never thought of it. Mom was the same when her grandmother tried to tell her Rinda stories. It’s good to be like your mother.
My house near Lafollette, Tennessee brought me, unexpectedly, closer to Rinda. I discovered she lived and died there in Lafollette, not at the family farm in Middlesboro, Kentucky. I also learned her doctor wanted her to stay in Middlesboro, but Rinda refused. She wanted to be with her husband in Lafollette. Reading this, mom remembered her brother, Leonard, was the doctor. He wanted her safe in a sanitarium. Rinda said no, people go there to die. Leonard got mad, and they never saw each other again, ever.
In Tennessee, I learned three stories mom didn’t know, till now. Whenever my uncle Leo got in trouble as a kid, Rinda made him break a branch off a tree. It’s bad enough to be paddled, but to have to get your own. URGH!!! Mom thinks Rinda learned it from her mother. Mom remembers getting switches. I’m glad I didn’t have to!
My favorite Rinda story is the one about the rabid dog and her kids. The dog was preparing to attack, but someone ran for Rinda. I don’t know how it ended…because my uncle told it two ways, on the same day. I’d have been scared, but not Rinda. She raced in and…tied up the dog’s head…or maybe she whacked it off…depending on which version you believe. Either way, she saved the day, and her kids. Imagine never hearing this story, and your grandma was the hero!
The saddest story is about tuberculosis. It killed her. Today we have vaccines to prevent it, but back then, it was deadly. Your lungs filled with infection. Breathing grew difficult, then impossible. It was so contagious that a cough or sneeze sent thousands of germs air-born. Leo remembers taking her handkerchief full of infection, folding it just so, and throwing it into the fire. I can’t imagine having something so deadly inside you, that a cough or sneeze could infect your children. Mom was amazed no one else got it.
My biggest fear in my 20’s was that I would die young like Rinda, and that I’d be forgotten. I always thought she died in her early 30’s. Every year I celebrated my birthday, grateful to grow older, never fearing aging. I am so glad to discover she made 40. I think she’d be glad to know I searched and found her. I gathered her stories, and now she’ll always be with me, and with my children. If you’re lucky enough to have grandparents, find their tales, write them down, and they will never leave you. Ever
My dad did. In 2nd grade he taught me a huge lesson that stuck— don’t lie.
Thanks to the Green Bean Incident of 2nd Grade, I don’t. Ever! Back then, I hated green beans, and dad knew it. He asked that fateful night if I’d eaten my green beans. I did what kids do…I lied. I said I ate them. Dad couldn’t possibly know the truth. He wasn’t in the cafeteria, but my teacher, Mrs. Metzger, was and somehow, they talked about green beans. I know, it seems improbable, but, dad had her son in 7th grade Ohio History. Oh, the horrors of being a teacher’s daughter! OUCH!!!
So when dad asked about those green beans, he already knew the answer, and I got paddled for lying. That was the 60’s when parents could paddle. Ouch again! But the good news is I never lie…well except for when I tell someone they’re getting underwear for Christmas instead of their real gift. In 2nd grade I learned it’s better to face the truth and one punishment than double trouble when you lie: #1 for the lie, and #2 for the misdeed.
Interestingly enough, as an adult I discovered dad learned something from the Green Bean Incident too. He never again asked me about green beans and lunch. He learned that he put me in a corner, and in a way, pushed me to lie. He never put me in that corner again, pretty much. I’m grateful for the character lessons he gave me growing up, and for the role model that he was. I’m who I am because of dad’s lessons.
Happy Father’s Day to my dad where ever he is. He died 2 years ago. I miss him, but he’s never forgotten, because he got it. He just did!
PS- Have you ever wondered? I did— if my dad lied about paddling? I never believed him when he said, “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” It couldn’t possibly! I was the one getting whacked! I don’t think I ever used those words on my own kids, because, dad taught me not to lie…Green Bean Incident of 2nd Grade.
Have you ever had an ache or pain for no reason? I have one in my left ankle. May 10th I noticed it was sore for no reason. I thought it’d go away. It didn’t! I even babied it, walking a little, and sitting lots.
When I got back from Tennessee on the 16th, I gave up and saw a doctor. I expected an x-ray, a cast, maybe medicine for swelling. SURPRISE! My doctor wanted an ultra-sound. Not a big deal…till she said blood clot. If you have swelling in one leg, sat in a car or plane for hours, you might have a clot. I googled and discovered blood clots can be deadly. YIKES!
I got permission for this photo. It doesn’t look impressive, but it is! It’s the latest in ultrasound machines. When I got mine done, only two US hospitals had it. My ultrasound was at Lima Memorial Hospital. Wow!
According to the sales rep, the top’s the best part. It’s glass, flat, and looks like a tablet. All the other machines have roller balls for scanning, kind of like game machines. It sounds cool, and it is, for germs. They hide in the goop that slides down and around the roller, growing hundreds, maybe thousands of new germs. With the flat glass top, germs can’t hide or grow. They get cleaned away! Lovely!
The sales rep guided my technician on how to move the scanner to look inside my leg. They talked more about the new machine than me, but it was fascinating to listen and watch my technician learn how to operate a new machine, magnifying, changing color, or saving images. I asked questions about the machine, the procedure, or anything that caught my eye.
You’d think they’d look at my ankle first? Nope! They started with the top inside of my right leg. I guessed, correctly, to look at the “good” leg. Then they went to the top inside of my left leg. This time I asked, "Why there, not my ankle?" The answer, because blood clots show up first in deep veins. You can’t find them in your ankle. You follow the vein down the leg. They followed mine and said, “Pretty vein.” I wasn’t sure what if "pretty" meant a clear picture, great colors, or super magnification. Usually I ask, but technicians can’t explain what they see. That’s the doctor’s job, and blood clots are serious. I couldn’t leave until I got the diagnosis, just in case. NO CLOTS!!!
They did my x-ray while I waited. I haven’t had one since 3rd grade. This is my x-ray machine. The scanner’s in the ceiling.
This is where they put me. It was like laying on a
cafeteria table, except I put my ankle on a big black square (sorry, they moved it). My technician ran to the hall, flipped a switch, and the ceiling machine moved back and forth, taking my picture. I left without results, but within two hours…no broken bones. YES!!!
I’m a retired teacher, and I love learning. Here’s what I learned this time: 1. Know when to go to the doctor. Don’t wait too long! 2. Ask questions so you know what’s happening, and why. It works for all ages, like my daughter when she was in 4th grade. She was scheduled for foot surgery. She peppered me with questions I couldn’t answer. I got her to write them down for the doctor, and Presto! She wasn’t afraid of surgery anymore.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!