Today would’ve been my grandmother’s 100th birthday, and a strong sense of love for the lady that named me and who is one of the single most defining influences on my life has me wanting to share.
This lady was born Gwendolyn Purrington Fawcett in 1912, in a Nova Scotia mining town to a jeweler and a homemaker. At 17 her father committed suicide and she went to work to support my great aunts and uncle. Unsatisfied with just working as a bookkeeper, she bought the place out and turned it into a thriving entrepreneurship in 1939.
She ran her variety store for 54 years, using it to feed anyone in the community that needed a meal, making sure underprivileged kids still got a treat now and again, or a place to sleep if it came to that (her home was upstairs), and sending care boxes to any soldier in every conflict she got an address for. It didn’t matter who needed a hand, just that she had spare to give.
This fearsome lady didn’t get married til well into her 30s, her first child (my dad) born when she was 35 in 1948. I cannot express how very against social norm that was, for the time. It has been theorized that she scared the hell out of local gents so bad it took having one that spent three years in a POW camp (another story, for another time) to realize there’s scarier shit out there than my nan.
When her husband needed a job she built him a barber shop in her building, and a hair salon for her sister and niece.
And when my grandfather got violent she kicked his ass to the curb, divorcing him in a time when women were still fighting for recognition that they were people. And then, she raised three kids her own damn self (plus a couple more from the neighborhood) and still supported him.
This lady took shit from absolutely no one, cutting down anyone who voiced racist remarks in her presence, and carried on with her fine self if anyone told her she couldn’t do what she’d been merrily doing for decades.
Her name’s on most of the comic books in the collection I inherited from my dad, her fashion magazines numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and God help you if you got between her and her next viewing of Doctor Zhivago. She was an incredibly versatile and savvy businesswoman, picking up services and changing her business to grow and weather any storm, including downtown burning down around her twice.
We lost her to Alzheimer’s many years before she died, but I still remember how she made sure generations of her hometown grew up with a safety net, and how she went on being revolutionary by mere virtue of existing and doing whatever the hell she felt like doing.
So next time someone tells you that doing a thing isn’t possible… remember that all you have to do is do it. And it doesn’t hurt to fart in their general direction either (several reels have been written about my grandmother doing exactly that).
Happy birthday, Nanny!
- peark likes this
- in1923-i reblogged this from sinousine
- lelefey likes this
- applebutterbomb likes this
- skukhamsbzang reblogged this from sinousine and added:
- sinousine reblogged this from virtualcara
- patrickat likes this
- gorogues likes this
- virtualcara likes this
- mtface reblogged this from virtualcara and added:
- mtface likes this
- northernbriton likes this
- betterthanlegos likes this
- virtualcara posted this