My grandmother Marjorie by Janice E. Davis
She was born in 1907 in Ames, Iowa, the only child of a railroad man and teacher. Her two aunts were also teachers that were very close and helped in raising her. Her grandparents also lived close and were a big part of her life. These influential women in her life instructed her cooking from scratch recipes that would be later handed down through the generations. She was taught to sew and make clothing without a pattern, crocheting and knitting, proper manners and etiquette, and stressing the importance of education from which resulted in her graduating from the local university.
She met and married my grandfather, in 1930, where he had just also graduated from the same college. After 7 years of marriage and struggling through the depression era, they found better opportunity in Los Angeles, California. He went out first with a promise of an engineering job at a ironworks foundry for the Navy’s fleet. After a year, she and my mom, who was 4 years old, joined him and found work at UCLA, in the library department. Her parents also came with her to take care of the children. She worked for 6 years, until their second daughter was born. Her husband felt it was more import.ant to stay home as a homemaker for their two girls. She remained a homemaker for the remainder of their marriage of 57 years until he passed.
She was an important role model in our family, gentle in nature, and a true lady in all sense of the word. In the early years, she made all of her daughter’s clothing, they raised all their own food, (chickens, garden, etc.), and she was very aware of the importance of nutrition and made all meals from natural ingredients. She loved nature and was a Girl Scout leader for not only her girls, but for many years after. She was also very active in her church that my grandfather founded with a group of men, she held bake sales, volunteered at various community charities and was a part of a quilters group sewing quilts to auction off for fund raising.
As a child, she would take me on short driving excursions to the local mountains, and I would go with them on camping trips to the Pacific High Sierra Mountains. She could recognize wild plants and wildflowers by name, and taught me the love of the outdoors and all it has to offer. I spent a lot of time with her as my caretaker. My mother was divorced when I was two years old and worked two jobs to make ends meet. I have many wonderful lasting childhood memories with my grandmother. She passed on a wealth of knowledge to me of cooking, sewing and the love of nature at every opportunity she could. During her life, she loved knitting and crocheting in the evenings and tried her best to teach me, but I was quite an active child, and would get easily frustrated and bored, so unfortunately didn’t end up with the talent, which I now regret. She knitted hats, scarves, blankets, ponchos, and even crocheted a bunting set for my newborn daughter to come home from the hospital in, (after 37 years, I still have it!). She crocheted doilies, and tablecloths and table runners, but most were given away so regrettably, all I have left is two doilies from her. She passed in1993, but she left me and my cousins, so much knowledge and memories that we can never put a price on. Her memory of lives on in me in everything I do in a daily basis.
And here is the finished piece that I created for Janice....A wheel thrown porcelain plate with Marjorie's lace doily pressed into the clay.