Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Strong Woman

Everyone knows that I adore heroes. Adore them I tell you!!! Doesn’t matter if they are alphas or betas. Brunette, blonde or red-haired. English, Scottish, American, Australian or whatever. I am always willing, ready and able to spend several minutes (or if you are an enthusiast like me, maybe hours) talking about all those heroes.

But today I want to shine the light on strong women. Our heroes just couldn’t survive without strong women beside them. I know that all of us could talk for a while about our favorite heroine and the qualities she has that we love.

However, I want to share with you the story of a particular strong woman. A real woman. My grandmother.

Her name -- Dorothy Resh. And what a woman she was!

Dorothy (or Dot as she was affectionately called by many people) was born July 2, 1909. Yesterday would have been her 101st birthday. Happy Birthday Grandma!

My memories of Grandma are mostly of a white-haired older woman with crooked fingers who loved to wear costume jewelry and sing old songs. As a child I did not understand where my Grandma had come from and what she experienced in her life. But there was always a sparkle in her eyes.

As I said before, Grandma was born in 1909. But she didn’t pronounce it as “o nine”. Nope, Grandma always said “aught nine”. Why? I have no idea. That was just Grandma. She was born on a farm in a rural area of Ohio. Dorothy was the youngest of nine children. She attended a one-room school house. When she advanced to high school, she drove a horse and buggy to school. Education was very important to Grandma. She graduated from high school in 1926 and was the only sibling to do so. Some of my favorite memories are of lying in bed with my Grandmother (she always made Grandpa sleep on the couch when I spent the night) and listening to her recite so many of the poems she learned in school all those years ago. This is one that I remember the most:

Oh look at the moon
It's rising so high
O Mother, it looks like
A lamp in the sky
Last week it was smaller
And shaped like a bow
But now it is larger
And round like an O

After Dorothy graduated from high school, she didn’t settle down like most girls her age. No, not Dorothy. Instead, she took a job as a bookkeeper in the office of a local creamery dairy. Working daily and saving her money, Dorothy moved from the farm to a small town and turned into a modern woman. After she saved enough money, Grandma bought her very own car – a 1930 Chevy Coupe and it cost $636.00.

Dorothy wasn’t an “all work and no play” kind of gal. Oh no! She and her sister would attend square dances in one of the upper rooms at the creamery dairy. That is where Grandma learned to dance. And that is where she soon realized that Alfred Resh was the man for her. See Grandpa was quite a dancer (and a looker too -- that's a picture of him). He could really move, and he loved to tap dance. During their courtship, they would attend dances almost every night. Grandma said the crowds would clear the floor for the two of them and they were known as the best dancers in town. Two of her favorite songs to dance to were “Somebody Stole My Gal” and “Star Dust”. A special memory for me was when the two of them danced to “Star Dust” at my wedding!

On November 22, 1932, after dating for a couple of years, Grandma and Grandpa were married. She was 23 and he was 21. Oh yes, a younger man! LOL! At the time of their marriage, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression. It was an awful time for our country and very hard on everyone. Grandpa did not have a job, but Grandma did. She continued to work as bookkeeper at the creamery dairy and supported both of them until Grandpa was able to find employment.

Eleven years and four children later, Grandma and Grandpa moved their family to a small town in Indiana. While Grandma missed her family and friends in Ohio, she forged ahead and made the best of it for her children. Grandpa worked in a large factory and Grandma sewed clothes for children to help out. They purchased a home in their new community and paid it off in 2 years. Two Years!!!! Wow! Grandma and Grandpa remained in that house until their passing.

Over the years, Grandma was very active. An avid pinochle card player, Dorothy loved the competition of card games. She made quilts for dozens, probably hundreds, of people – all by hand using the same old wooden quilting frame that belonged to her mother-in-law. This is why her fingers were crooked! She loved to play her little piano and sing hymns and was active in her church. Politics was a hot topic with Grandma. She volunteered with the election board for years. Dorothy even wrote newspaper articles for the local paper. When the old newspaper folded and a new one was formed, Grandma was the very first stockholder of the new paper. For 30 years she wrote her own column, called Dots and Dashes, where she shared her love of family, God, country and anything that interested her. I guess you could say she was a blogger before her time.

Grandma taught me quite a few things by the way she lived her life. Take one day at a time. Have fun along the way. Do what you can to help yourself and others. Everyone has their good points. Be diligent. Be strong.

You can say a lot of things about my Grandmother, but one thing is for sure . . . she was a very strong woman!

Someday I will have to tell you about my mother . . . see, strong women run in our family :-)

Are you from a long line of strong women?
Is there one particular strong woman that has influenced your life?

~ Buffie


  1. Buffie, loved, loved, loved your post!! You wrote such a beautiful, loving piece and I thank you for sharing it here. Wow! Your grandmother was a wonderful lady and is a testament to all that is held dear: love of God, love of family, love of country, love of life.

  2. Oh, what a great post. My mom is my hero, too. Surviving 3, count them 3, different rounds with cancer (her 2 latest in the past 6 years), enlarged spleen (which had to be taken out), Lump in her breast (removed), Tumor in her throat (removed), breaking her part of her vertebrea in 1980 but not finding that it happened until 1990 so now she has to wear a back brace the rest of her life. do you think all of this would put you down? She wakes up every day ready to take on the world!

  3. Thank you, Deb! She was a wonderful lady and like I said she taught me a lot!

  4. Practimom -- Thanks! My, your mother sounds like a VERY strong woman. To survive all that she has and to still live life to the fullest -- that IS a strong woman. Hold her close every day and tell her what she means to you. Thank you so much for sharing her story with us.

  5. Wow! What a lovely blog post, Buffie and what a tribute to a wonderful, special, woman. You got me all misty!

    Your grandmother reminds me of mine. She was strong, and did what needed to be done for her family without compliant, and kept active with her friends. And always had delicious food on the table. :)

    I love how women of that generation exemplified how inner strength is so much more important than physical strength!

  6. Oh, Buffie, what a lovely post! And what a wonderful legacy of strength and joie de vivre your grandmother left you!

  7. Buffie, what a beautiful, loving tribute to your grandmother. She was certainly a woman ahead of her time and what a wonderful legacy she left you!

    Thank you for sharing her with us!

  8. Buffie, your post brought tears to my eyes for two reasons. First, it is an absolutely beautiful tribute to your grandmother, and second, because she reminds me a lot of my grandmother. A lot. My Mamaw was one of the strongest women I've ever had the priviledge to know and I think of her all the time. I second what Deb said that your grandmother is a testament to all that is held dear. What an amazing woman! Thank you for sharing her with us today.

  9. I love how women of that generation exemplified how inner strength is so much more important than physical strength!

    Well said, Lisa! I totally agree with you. Inner strength requires so much more of us.

  10. Thanks Janga!! Joie de vivre described it perfectly!

  11. Thanks PJ! Yes, Grandma was a head of her time.

  12. Aww, Andrea, I didn't mean to make you cry. But I understand what you mean. I miss my Grandma terribly. I hate that she never knew my boys and that THEY never knew her.

  13. Buffie, what a beautiful tribute to your very special grandma! My grandma was much the same....and my mom, too. Yes, I come from a long line of strong women. My mother-in-law was cut from the same cloth, so, lucky for me, my husband is used to a strong woman. *g*

    These three strong and special ladies have all passed, but I feel them with me in spirit, especially when I'm going through a rough patch. They all persevered through some especially tough times, and I admire their tenacity. I can only hope that some of it rubbed off on me.

  14. Your Grandmother was cerainly a wonderful woman, well ahead of her time. I have been lucky with the Grandmothers I was given. Both of them kept families together and always had time for their many grandchildren. I was also blessed with a great mother who died much too early at 47, and a mother-in-law who was way ahead of her time and gaveu up much to take care of her sons when she bacame a widow at 46.

  15. The strongest woman I ever knew was my mother with her sisters all running as close seconds. When she was young her and my father lived with his sister and brother. My aunt had broken her leg, my uncle was sick and dad walked miles out of a holler to go to work leaving mother to tend to the sick. Carrying wood and water, washing on a washboard and hanging the clothes to dry.
    She never worked outside the home until I was in junior high and even then she was home before me. She never went past the third grade.
    Here are some pictures.

  16. Lovely tribute, Buffie. My grandmother is a strong woman, too, raised her 5 kids on her own while working after a divorce, helped later with some troublesome grandkids. Still living on her own at 94, doesn't look her age, just keeps trucking along through everything, and taking care of one older grandson still.

  17. Oh Gannon, I'm sure you do feel the presence of those strong women who have gone before us. Just like you I can feel my Grandma giving me a little push during those difficult times.

  18. Librarypat -- sure sounds like you have a long line of strong women in your family too. Great examples, weren't they?

  19. Wow, Dianna, she was definitely a strong woman! It amazes me how the women of that generation just did what needed to be done and a lot of the younger women today have no idea what being strong means.

  20. Pam -- WOW, 94 and still helping out with the grandkids! That is strong and wonderful.