Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My grandmother, Josephine, was born in a small farming town in Texas (in the Brazos Valley). When she was 2 years old, Houston was just getting its first air-conditioned building. When she was 3, Houston was opening the doors of the Fine Arts Museum. As she was celebrating her eleventh birthday, the very first Houston Fat Stock Show & Rodeo was being held.

She got married in 1941, and moved with my grandfather to the city of Houston, where city planners were designing major thoroughfares in what would become the "loop" system, and the population was a bustling 380,000. The Medical Center was established a couple of years later, and eventually she saw the construction of Texas' first freeway, I-45.

In her life, she has seen the world go from horses to cars... she has lived life without running water and plumbing and cars. She's picked cotton in the fields and worked as a cook/housekeeper for an army officer-- who even from the front lines wrote home that he missed "Josephine's Pancakes".

She's lived near Memorial Park for over 50 years now-- in one of the "little old houses" that still remains among the new and modern townhomes that have taken over. Her home is still a comfortable gathering place for her 8 children, 18 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren... and she can often be found sitting out in the front porch swing on a nice day, enjoying the shade and the birds and the squirrels.

She is one of the sweetest, most giving women I know.

I've been trying for years to get her to sit for a portrait, but she always waves me off and tells me she doesn't need any portrait... well the medians along Westcott were brimming with bluebonnets this season, and she's a sucker for a pretty field of flowers. The fact that they were right out front of her neighborhood was just an added bonus! We planned a time, she got all gussied up for me, and I finally got her to let me do some portraits of her.

And then, in true Nana fashion, she went home and baked me a cake. Here she is, 87 years young.

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