Sunday, January 17, 2010

Maternal great-grandmother

Wow, don't I come up with exciting and imaginative titles! As I've mentioned a few times before, the Title Queen I am not.

Anyway, I spent yesterday and today working on a layout about my mother's mother's mother (heee -- isn't "maternal great-grandmother" easier to visualize?). We have some beautiful photos of her, so I thought it would be fun to make a page using those photos.

First, I hunted for a layout template to use. For some reason now that I've started using those I rarely ever just make a layout up off the top of my head. I guess I figure that someone else has done the balancing work for me, so why not use their experience, expertise and efforts? I never stick 100% to the template anyway -- it's sorta cheating to do that (in my book). So, after going through every template I have, finding one that was okay but wanting more choices, searching online for an hour, then deciding the one I had picked was just fine, I had the template settled on and was ready to go!

This is the template (PageMaps October 2009):

Except that I first had to rearrange the order of the smaller two photos. I wanted the larger photo first, rather than the smaller first as they had it. Once that was done, I set to work making the layout.

So here's the result:

The journaling says:
Nina Maud Reece must have been a very strong woman. She had many hardships in her life to make her that way. Her father was a harsh man, her mother had a nervous breakdown and died in a state hospital. Things were better after she married Wilburn F. Reece, but when two of her children died of diptheria while still very young, she had to become the strong one again. Her husband simply could not handle their deaths and he had a nervous breakdown. Maud, as she was always called, was the one who had to hold the family together, and by the grace of God she succeeded quite well. Eventually Wilburn pulled out of his funk, and they had two more children, one of whom was my grandmother, Dorothy. Maud's father asked her forgiveness in his later years, which she gave even when some of her siblings could not do so.
In the later part of her life, Maud was diagnosed with cancer, first breast,then stomach. She fought the battle bravely, but succumbed on 19 September 1937 at the age of 54 years, a great loss for all who loved her, but a wonderful gain for Heaven.

Personally, I think the journaling is lame, but it's hard to write about a person's life in such a small space! And it was also difficult because I didn't have my mother right next to me retelling her story. I've got a couple of layouts still unfinished because I'm waiting for my mother to feel like reminiscing for me, so I decided I would just write what I knew without her help this time.

The reason the journaling is lame is because the sentences can't tell the story without being expanded upon! "Her father was a harsh man" doesn't really tell that he beat the children regularly. I didn't really want to make that a point, though, since he did repent in later years, after he was rocked to the core by the suicide of his wife in the state hospital. We don't really know the story of why Maud's mother (Laura) had the breakdown -- my mother says she was a clean-freak, probably OCD by today's understanding, and we know that played a part. She was also undoubtedly profoundly angry at her husband's treatment of the children. Her obituary says she had been suicidal before being "convicted of being insane." What a horrible label to have to wear, especially since I doubt highly that she was "insane," but more likely had some mental illness (like OCD) to deal with.

So that must have been incredibly hard on Maud. And then, just when things in life must have been getting better (her husband was a very kind, loving man with a good sense of humor), she lost her second and third children within just weeks of each other from diptheria. One was 2, the other 4. Her husband really fell apart, and she had to hold everything together as well as tending to him, all while her own heart was broken to pieces. Wilburn did recover, as the journaling says, and went on to be a wonderful, caring father and grandfather -- but he could never, ever talk about his two little boys that were lost to diptheria. Nor could he visit their graves. So now we can't find where the little ones were buried, although we know where the family was living at the time (Duffau, Erath County, TX)

And, as also mentioned, Maud developed breast cancer in her 50s, which then developed into stomach cancer. I don't know exactly when. I do know that my grandmother, who was married and had my mother by then (my mother was 5 when "Meemaw" died), spent a great deal of time tending to her while she was sick.

So I couldn't tell the whole story in that journaling block. And I didn't exactly use my best writing skills, but for some reason this was the best I could do. (I promise you my fiction stories are MUCH better written!)

At any rate, I am otherwise very pleased with the layout and I think both my grandmother and her mama would be pleased, too.

Before I forget, here are the "ingredients" I used:
Jean Daugherty -- "Memory Box" [Digizines Studios]
Teri Hanson -- "Magnolia Lane" [Heritage Scrap]
Across top -- Cheryl McCain -- "Hint of Summer" -- recolored [Digizines Studios]
In cluster -- Diana Burton -- "Heritage Helpers" -- recolored, resized [Digitals]
Brown -- Lynn Griffin -- "Southern Porch" -- resized [Heritage Helpers]
Cream -- Cheryl McCain -- "Spring Bonnet" -- recolored, resized [Digizines Studios]
Roses -- Wetfish Designs -- "Dreaming of Paris" -- recolored, used Vintage Photo action
Cameo -- Jean Daugherty -- "Family Roots" -- resized [Digizines Studios]
Swirls/flourishes -- Diana Burton -- "Helianthus" -- probably resized [Digitals]
Oval frame -- Katie Mann -- "Antique Brooch Frames" -- [Digitals]
Journaling book -- Jean Daugherty -- "Memory Box" [Digizines Studios]
Brad -- Dana Zarling -- "Vintage Artistry" -- resized [Scrapbook Bytes]
Tags -- Cheryl McCain -- "Vintage Memoirs" -- recolored, altered (bow removed, used Vintage Photo action) [Digizines Studios]
Fonts -- Edwardian Script; CK "Legacy"
Actions: Ariadna Wiczling -- "Scrap Simple Tools: Actions -- Warped PSE"
Sarah Batdorf -- "Scrap Simple Tools: Actions -- Vintage Photos 6502"
Sarah Batdorf -- "Scrap Simple Tools: Styles -- Basic Shadows 6501"
Page template -- Becky Fleck -- October 2009 PageMaps

Well, this weekend has been pretty boring. Aidan has been under the weather since yesterday, and I had a brief atrial fibrillation episode that unnerved me a few hours ago. It only lasted for about a minute or two, but now I'm worried that I'm going to have a Big Episode like I did 1-1/2 years ago when I ended up having to go to the ER. My cardio doc says I don't really need to worry unless it's gone on for four or five hours, but, um, no -- I'm not going to sit around for that long while my heart is pretending it never heard of the word "rhythm" and is going ninety-miles-a-minute. Two hours is my maximum limit before I head off for the ER! So, anyway, those two things combined have made me a bit depressed this evening. But I do know God is in control, and I can trust Him to be taking care of us.

So, off to start another layout ... after I feed the kitties and decide what to feed the sick one for dinner!

Hope you have a great week!

1 comment:

Diana said...

Stacy, another stunning layout! Your journaling isn't lame. I think you did a fine job of telling her story succintly.