One week ago today Margaret Cotten left this life and went home to be with her Lord. She was a remarkable woman, wife to Claude for almost 62 years, mother to six children (one deceased), grandmother to twenty (one deceased), and great-grandmother to twenty-seven.
I was one of the lucky ones who got to call her "Grandma". I am sad that she is gone but I am thankful to have had her for so many years and for having so many good memories. Yesterday we attended a memorial service for her, there were many memories shared about her. All week long I have been reflecting on some of my memories of her.
As children we got to visit her a lot. Although she lived in a different town we were able to go spend a couple nights with her or stay the weekend at their house. My grandparents moved many times, I do not know the number but I remember my grandmother talking about how many different houses she had lived in during her lifetime. I remember several of their houses, and although I have good memories of each, I think my favorite is the log house. I remember visits there with just my family, staying there with some of my girl cousins and staying there with all the aunts and uncle and cousins. Those were crazy times, so many people staying under one roof. As a child these were wonderful times, having several days of playing 24/7 with your cousins. While the adults played Trivial Pursuit or Risk upstairs, the kids would play in the basement. We would put on records of marching bands or patriotic music and spend hours marching around the basement, running around in our socks and shocking each other with the static electricity.
There were times I spent several days at Grandma's house with some of my girl cousins. Grandma would let us play in her sewing room, rearranging her sewing notions. Sometimes she would make us something, I remember one time she made me a thin, pink robe. I thought it was just like what a princess would wear.
One thing I always remember was that she always treated us like guests in her house. Even as a young girl staying at her house you felt like you were a guest. There were pretty sheets on the bed, towels laid out for you. Sometimes she brought you a cup of tea in the morning. I remember how she would read out loud to us. Sometimes books that were for our age, sometimes excerpts out of books she was reading. I remember her reading Little Women and Under the Lilacs to us. I remember her reading parts from the Little Colonel series. I remember her reading chapters out of Claudia and David, though she cautioned us that the book was not appropriate yet for our age.
I remember being fascinated with her collector plates she had sitting on her bookcase, especially the ones depicting scenes from Gone with the Wind. I remember that when she sold her collection she did not get a high price for the collection because she didn't sell the entire set, she saved the "Melanie" plate for me.
I remember how sentimental she was, how she saved letters and things you made for her. She saved trinkets and mementos from her parents and ancestors. I remember how sad she was when the police officer came to the house to tell her that although they had located a few pieces of silver that had been stolen from the house they had not recovered the keepsakes taken from her dresser.
Grandma loved flowers, she almost always had some sort of fresh flower in her house. Whether a bouquet, or a couple pansies in a tiny vase. She would take us to visit gardens during garden week. I can hardly think about Grandma without thinking of flowers. Or music, she loved music too. She liked to play and sing at her piano, she liked to listen to music, hymns or classical. I remember her taking us to hear classical music at the local school.
Many people have reflected on how ladylike she was. She was gentle, she was kind. She was old fashioned even for her time. At times we took delight in shocking her, it took very little effort to get a gasp from her. Her manners, politeness were an influence on those around her, she inspired good behavior. I often thought she could have been transported back 100 years and fit into that culture easily. Losing Grandma really does seem like an end to an era. She did not have an easy life but she led a life of gratitude for her blessings, commitment to her husband and family and commitment to her Lord. She was truly a lady and she will be missed.
'til next time...