The One and Only Haddie

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(Mutt and Maude aka Haddie, my father-in-law Tom with Haddie, 4 year old Tim and Haddie)

Today would have been the 114th birthday of my husband’s grandmother, Haddie. Her real name was Maude Snow Hadley and she was quite the woman let me tell you! She gave birth to two of the spunkiest people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting and loved her husband so dearly that after he died she remained a widow for the rest of her life which was more than forty years. She lived all by herself in the same house where she raised her family from the time Mutt died until she was 95 years old (yes, they were Mutt and Maude…hey, the Reeve side were Ellis and Etha!!)

I remember the first thanksgiving after Will was born. Papa, Mema, Tim, Will and I loaded up Mema’s blue Oldsmobile station wagon so we could head to Statesville, North Carolina to spend the holiday with Haddie. (oh yes, we were styling and profiling in that swagger wagon!) At the time she was almost 92 years old but you would never know it to spend time with her. My favorite part of the holiday visit (not counting the hours of amazing conversation and storytelling!) had to be when Haddie sat down at her piano to play from memory The Maple Leaf Rag. It. Was. Amazing. When she first sat down at the piano, she couldn’t remember how to start the song and as we talked, she began to peck at the keys until suddenly in the middle of her talking with us she realized she was playing the song!!

How I wish I had been given more years with Haddie and her zest for life! Imagine a woman widowed in the prime of her life, choosing to live alone and do life her way for the next forty plus years. She was so active, she drove up until her ninetieth birthday when her kids realized that backing out onto a four lane highway was just not a good idea any longer. Haddie even did dying her way. She moved to Carrollton once she realized she could no longer live alone and after charming the entire community, she quietly died in her sleep less than six months later.

The world was a better place because she was in it and my family is blessed to have loved and been loved by her. Happy birthday Haddie! I’m certain that for today, God is doing things your way.

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Nope, Not Normal…

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We’ve discussed my abnormal culinary roots, but I also had some unusual fashion roots. My parents had kids at a young age, so neither set of my grandparents seemed very old to me (probably because they were not!) Oh, they always did the grandparent thing when we’d spend the night complete with yummy food, fun activities and later bedtimes but they keep us in line too. We knew you couldn’t pull much of anything over on either Granny & Pop or Mom & Papa. So for the most part they seemed like everyone else’s grandparents.

That is until designer jeans became chic. Both my grandmothers wore designer jeans way before it was normal and not only did they wear them, they wore them very well. My dad’s mom was a beautiful tall leggy blonde while mom’s mom was a petite dark-haired beauty. No gray haired grandmothers in my family, no sir. And they were super stylish with their Jordache, Calvin Klein and Gloria Vanderbilt jeans let me tell you. Fashionable costume jewelry? Check! Stylish silver thread blouse? Check! Multi strap belt with the gold knot buckle? Double check!

Yes, it took the great designer jean revolution of the early 1980’s to make me realize that I might not be part of normal family after all…..