|Willie Mae Foreman and Miriam Jeannine|
Reflecting on this photo tonight, my grandmother told me herself that she was not beautiful. But looking at the picture I have to disagree. According to the standards of her time, she may have been considered pretty. I think that she only looked at the negative side of her features. The amazing parts of them are the high defined cheek bones and the intensity of her gaze. I may be prejudiced, but I think my grandmother was beautiful. I know that my mother was. She was a classic beauty wearing clothes that were crafted on that same singer sewing machine. You know, I couldn't bring myself to sell that thing even if it was the difference between shelter and going homeless. It is just too much a part of who I am.
I have been baffled by descriptives of me all my life, regularly embarrassed by them. I heard all too often that I have the Calvert blue eyes. It has only been recently that I understood what that meant. Most blue eyes change according to the color of their environment. They range from intense blue when the person is wearing a blue tone to grey with neutral tones. Calvert eyes don't have that range of change. They do come more or less intense, but it ranges from dark blue to sky blue as the color of clothing that is worn changes. If I am wearing a deep blue, my eyes will reflect it. If I am wearing a grey shirt, my eyes will be sky blue. The color unnerves people. People mention it to me frequently. My family calls it Calvert blue. I thought it was just with my family. But I have learned in genealogy circles that the term is valid. There is the term "Calvert blue" The second descriptive that I have ever gotten of my eyes, and I have gotten this one often from a variety of different places is "You look as though you are seeing into someone else's soul." That one has always freaked me out. It isn't someone who is hitting on me, and it isn't given in a bar setting. My eye color and my gaze make some people uncomfortable. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I wonder what I am doing that makes them say that. Looking at this picture I see that quality in my grandmother. I think it may be something that is inherited.
The thing that I didn't overlook as I was reflecting on this picture is that it was taken at the beginning of two lives that took twists and turns that no one would have imagined. It wasn't always a rosy adventure, they faced hard times and terrible traumas. But they were strong enough to build good homes and families who loved them. I miss both of them especially today. I would have loved to pin a red rose to my lapel and sit on the family pew at the presbyterian church listening to my grandmother playing "In the garden" on the organ. To go have a family lunch of fried chicken or pot roast with all the adults crammed around the dinning table and the kids around the kitchen table and island. I miss that. I know that it will happen again on the other side. But for now, it is a very fond memory.