Friday, August 5, 2016

Gal Pal Society: Gladys


I have been ridiculously blessed to have a grandmother as upstanding, and worthy as mine. She is not only the matriarch of the family, but the purest example of what a Godly woman should be. Gladys is my mother's mother, and is one of seven children, five of which have now passed on. A visit at Mamaw and Papaw Solomon's growing up meant that we would always be fed a homemade meal complete with chocolate creme pies made from scratch, the "game closet" which had every board game you could imagine, and my personal favorite the "drawing drawer"; full of colored pencils and paper in which I created many "masterpieces" and my grandparents always made sure to praise me over no matter how terrible they may have been!Aside from my childlike mind admiring all of the  "fun" aspects of my grandparents home, my Mamaw has always been someone I've admired greatly for her grace, poise and all around understanding nature. In my 27 years of life, not once have I heard her raise her voice or even witness her physically angry, which is rarity to say the least. Gladys has a comforting temperament that will make you feel warm and fuzzy, but don't let her meekness fool you, she can be quite the comedian behind that innocent smile. She enjoys her puzzles, and a good game of Scrabble which she'll most likely win because she's a wizard at word spelling!  She is the best hostess, never having a shortage of things to offer to feed you, and will even bake you a cake if you ask! Her overwhelming kindness and ever-giving personality has never wavered no matter the circumstance in her life, which I find to be the most inspiring thing about her! The impressions that she has made on my life go far behind any bloodline, because she is simply just an all around beautiful soul, that has always given me honest and sincere advice, out of undeniable love. This is the same impression she has made on many many others that have been lucky enough to know her throughout her life. Despite the years between us, she has given me some of my most cherished advice regarding life, marriage and even friendships. I can only imagine how lucky her friends must have felt, having such a gem as my Mamaw to trust and confide in. 

My grandparents wedding photo!

A self-portrait at 40 years old, still just as beautiful!
If you visit Gladys and you're a child, you can count on two things: getting stuffed animals, and money!
Before I snapped this photo, my Papaw put his arm around her and said "This is my girl!" They've been married almost 65 years! How incredible is that!

She loves her great grand-babies, and they love her!

What were you like as a teenager?
I was very backward, and shy, but growing up as the pastor’s daughter I had plenty of friends. My mother would always invite the church kids over, which was one way to keep track of all of us. I began working around fifteen at the dime store, “JJ Newberry”, making around $30 per week. I worked at an early age because I wanted to, not because my parents made me. I became very responsible with money at an early age, and even managed to have over $1,000 in my savings account by time I was married.

What were some of your favorite things to do, back then?
I was at the church a lot growing up, but we would also entertain people from the church very often so I developed a knack for being a hostess from my mother. Other than that, we did the normal teenage ventures like shopping or eating out mostly.

Who had the greatest influence on you growing up?
My mom and dad. My parents got married when my father was 16 and my mother was 13, then my father began preaching at 18. They were married 63 years before they both passed and died thirteen days apart. I never heard them say an ill word to one another, or us kids. Even at times we were in trouble, my father would take a week before he’d even discipline us, because he never wanted to do it out of anger.

How was it as a young female, and what was something you dreamed of doing?
There wasn't much I aspired to do or be, because I grew up very content with the idea of working and then starting a family of my own. After I married, I began working at the watch factory, and worked the assembly line. I made more than your grandpa doing that. I was responsible for putting the hammer-spring into hand grenades( for the Korean War), which was a very fast paced and delicate work, but something I really enjoyed.(1952-1954)

 As your granddaughter, and for any young woman, what is the best advice you’d like to share?
Obey your parents, go to church, and of course keep your faith a priority. Be independent and respect yourself always.

 Some of my most fond memories growing up were of your delicious homemade pies, and of course my all-time favorite, your biscuits and gravy! At what age did you learn to cook, and if you could cook for anyone living/dead who would it be?
Around fourteen I began cooking often, mostly for our church family. My favorite meal of my mother’s was her meatloaf, soup beans and mashed potatoes! I always enjoy cooking for my family, so I'd choose them first and foremost.

 What is something you wish you would’ve tried when you were younger, whether it’s a hobby, passion, or traveling to a certain place?
We traveled so much because my father wouldn’t stay at one church longer than three years. I think because we were always moving around, my desire to travel wasn’t there. My favorite place we lived was Lacoochee, Florida. We lived near the water which was extremely peaceful. I’d enjoy visiting there again someday.

Mamaw, you are a true beauty inside and out, and I'm forever grateful for your presence in my life!
I love you so much!

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