birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

A Short Tale of Two Grandmothers

My mother's mother I knew like my own skin. My father's mother was an enigma. Both woman were born on the turn of the new century, both to fathers with great, but unmet potential. They were children during WWI, flappers in the 1920's, and married during the Great Depression. Both women were beautiful in a soft, accessible way. Both had many beaus, but they hitched their stars to my two grandfathers.

Grandma Dorothy, my maternal grandmother, was wooed and won by a tall, blonde, handsome Norwegian, the perfect salt to her pepper. Over 65 years they danced, sang, threw fabulous parties, and fought, laughed and slept together. When my grandparents were in their 80s, Grandma Dorothy told me, with a twinkle in her blue eyes, that while she missed sex, all my grandfather had to do was run his hand up and down her spine to give her "a thrill".

Grandma Molly was charmed by a handsome, popular Scot, the son of a wealthy miner. Her father, an Episcopal minister on the rise, had died when she was 15, leaving her and her sister and mother penniless. I'm sure my grandfather seemed like a fairy tale prince come to the rescue. Faded newspaper clippings show a huge, gorgeous wedding; my great grandfather bought them a house as a wedding present. But sadly, my grandfather's alcoholism ruined any chance of a happily ever after. My grandmother died of cancer on Christmas Day when I was four years old; she was only 52.

I have been told all my life, by my father, my mother, and my Grandma Dorothy, "Oh, you would have loved Molly." I still have her wedding dress.

A Beautiful One

Joan