I grew up in an extended family. My mother’s mother (my Nanny) lived with us. That was a common occurrence back then, but no longer is the norm in our society.
I also remember older women as friends of the family. Often they were widows. One woman in particular that I remember was Viva (pronounced VI – va). Viva LaRue Schott. She was a woman of strength and dignity.
She was a widow and she and her husband had never had children. She was as much a part of our family as… well as family! I remember being sent to say with her on occasion. I loved it. Viva was quite the cook. Her chicken and dumplings were quite possibly one of the best things I had ever eaten.
Her house (unlike ours with four children – me and my three brothers) was as quiet as a public library. No blaring television, but a lot of books and the newspaper. She had an upstairs attic that was filled with old trunks and items of yore. She let me explore those unseen regions, as long as everything was put back in its place.
I was slightly older than one year when I was formally adopted into the family. Viva and her husband were the witnesses who came along side my parents when I was baptized. I know this because I recently found my Baptismal Papers and saw her and her husband’s wonderful cursive script on the document.
Things like that take me back into a wonderful realm of remembrance. Not only was there Viva, but my Nanny who helped to mold and shape me into the woman I am today. My great aunt Rae (Nanny’s well to do sister) who would visit during the summer and have me gavotte around the house with an encyclopedia on my head in an attempt to improve my posture. She would also plan luncheons where she and another ‘well to do’ woman would travel to a larger town for lunch and I would accompany them wearing a ‘church’ dress, hat and gloves. It was similar to the scene from “Titanic” where the mother is directing her daughter in the art and form of ‘high tea’. The cloth napkin was on my lap, “Mable, Mable, quick and able… keep your elbows off the table!” For the record, it was AUNT with the U pronounced! She also taught me the ‘princess’ step: one foot in front of the other, toes pointed.
For the record… it was also my Great Aunt Rae who taught me to whistle like a cattle herder! Both fingers in my mouth! It’s still as shrill as ever and surprises almost everyone I know!
The Message (MSG)
3-5 Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don't want anyone looking down on God's Message because of their behavior.