How I Became the Woman I Am Today

About a month ago several of the women bloggers I read suggested that everybody post on the same topic on each Wednesday in March, since March is “Women’s Month”.  They suggested this topic for today.

Golly, I’m not sure how I became who I am today.  It’s partly being the child and grandchild of loving women, and partly being the wife of a totally loving and supportive man.

Nannie, my grandmother, was born the third of five sisters in a small town in Arkansas in 1888.  It never occurred to her to be anything other than a “nice mommy.”  Here she is with three of her sisters (the youngest died when she was 2 years old).

She is second from the left (as you face the picture).  I got my name – Annabel – from her.  Although she never worked outside the home, she was active in all kinds of civic activities and church.  She taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and kept a life-long love of learning.  She was the perfect grandmother, always ready to play a game of cards, read a book, or take a walk with me.  She was a member of the Garden Club and the Current Topics club, and once a year she would have to “give a program” on some current affairs to a room full of ladies.  I lived with her and my grandfather while I was going to Junior College.  My boyfriend (now husband) would come to pick me up for a date, and I would come downstairs to find Nannie and Big Al playing cards.  I would have to cool my heels while they finished the game!  She always thought the best of people, to the point of naiveté, and one of her favorite sayings was “You can’t raise children and flowers, too.”

Mama was born in 1920.  She had an older brother, and was pampered and spoiled.  Here she – 12 years old.

Mama also never wanted to be anything other than a nice Mommy.  She was raised with a maid and a cook, and I know it was a bit of a shock to her system when Papa came home from World War II, and she was expected to “be a homemaker.”  We weren’t poor, but we never had any extra cash while I was growing up.  I can remember having to wait for the first of the month payday to get new shoes for school.  But I can’t remember her complaining about having to do all the housework herself, even though she had four kids.  We always had enough, but never any extras and, looking back, I know she must have felt it after growing up in a private school with country club membership.

The final person who let me be the person I am today is Big Al!  He has always been supportive of me in anything I wanted to do.

Here he is as he was when I met him.  He was enlisted in the Air Force, and after we married he graduated from college and went back in as an officer. 

We lived in Texas, Colorado, and Germany before he was sent to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam war.  I “grew up” that year, being left at home with a 4-year-old.  We lived with my parents for the first 6 months Al was gone and then I took Ray and went back to college to get a little more of my truncated college degree out of the way.  I mentally lost that year because with Al in harm’s way, I never heard a footstep on the porch or the ring of the telephone with mentally planning the funeral and deciding how I was going to live as a widow. 

He did come home and we lived in Louisiana, Las Vegas, and England before he retired from the Air Force and we moved back “home” to Texarkana.  We stayed there two years while I worked and he looked for work.  When we finally accepted that it wasn’t happening, we moved to Abilene, TX, where he took a job with the Air Force as a civilian.  Now I was the one looking for work, and when I couldn’t find any, he supported me as I opened my own knitting business.  He never complained as I busily lost over $10,000 trying to get the business going.  He then supported me as I went back to University and got my Masters Degree, and he never objected when, after I STILL couldn’t get a job in Abilene, I moved into Dallas.

He retired for the second time (from Civil Service this time), and moved to Dallas with me.  He said, “Abbie followed me for the first 30 years of our married life, now it’s time for me to follow her.” 

 And that’s how I became who I am, a retired CPA looking forward to many more happy  years with the love of my life.