This photo kind of says it all. Three generations together. This photo was taken in early August of 1966. The family had gathered for my christening. I was a few days old and obviously not too thrilled about it.
That is my poor exhausted mother on the left and my beautiful little Irish Grandma Doty on the right holding me, the screaming object of their affection.
Mother’s Day can be a little sad around here. Grandma Doty left us almost 13 years ago. She fell down the stairs, hit her head and a few days later was gone. It was that fast. Anything but simple. I am not quite sure that we have fully accepted it to this day.
I feel her spirit almost every single day. She was a nurturer extraordinaire. She raised five daughters, helped raise grandchildren, and dozens of other people’s children. For decades she ran the most lovingly firm daycare center from her home.
She was tough, but so loving. She taught some children to crawl, she taught others to accept the little boy that wanted to wear a dress all day, she taught us all what we needed to learn when we needed to learn it.
She was tiny, but formidable, Irish to her marrow.
Recently I found her Yellow Layer Cake recipe. It is in her handwriting (Palmer method and perfect). The handwriting I remember seeing in her weekly letters to my mother when I was growing up. She would keep us informed on the weather, and all the news from the neighborhood.
For a period of time, she has a Barbie pink felt tip marker that she used to write just about everything. I love it because it was so completely out of character. Too flashy for someone as below the radar as Mary tried to be, but use it she did. Every so often we will unearth an old note or recipe jotted down in that raucous splash of color. It makes me laugh every single time.
I think about the chain that goes back farther than any of us know, much farther than those three generations on that couch in 1966. Now it extends into the future with my daughter. All of these things, these recipes, these photos, these memories, will be passed down to her now too. Like a string of pearls, priceless pearls.