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« Flirting With Flirtation | Main | The Spice is Right »

May 07, 2009

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Linda Jay Geldens

Colleen, Thanks for sharing some of your memories of your wise Grandmother. It's great that you think about her every day.

colleen baldrca


My Grandmother was a Spirited Woman long before it was popular. My mother’s mother lived with us while I was growing up. Grandmother was about four foot ten, round around the middle, dyed her hair a blue gray and wore lilies of the valley cologne. She was half Ojibway and half French Canadian. When Grandmother was young, she and her five sisters were told they must attend the Indian Boarding School in Northern Minnesota. They left their home and their mother and father. During the summers, Grandmother and her sisters would stay with different families and do housekeeping. I once asked Grandmother why she and her sisters didn’t go home during the summer. She just said it was easier for everyone if they didn’t and changed the subject.

As a child, I used to think it was strange that Grandmother insisted her grandchildren be registered on the Indian roles. I’m five foot six, thin built, with blue eyes and blond hair. No one looking at me would ever imagine that I’m officially recorded by the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe as a Native American from the White Earth Reservation, Pembina Band. As an adult, I’m glad that my Grandmother insisted on putting us on the Indian roles. I treasure this part of my ancestry.

I was always closer to my Grandmother than to my mother. Grandmother never raised her voice to me. She took me on long walks through the woods and always gave me tidbits of wisdom. For example, “Always wash your hands when you get up because you don’t know what they touched while you were asleep.” I always thought my Grandmother was the wisest woman I knew.

Everyday, her memory is with me and I strive to be like her. It's important for me to listen intently, be positive, share time, stories and laughter with those around me. Doesn't that sound just like a Spirited Woman?

Something to think about: How did/does your Grandmother or a Grandmother figure influence you?

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