Matriarch - a woman who is the head of a family or tribe.
February 25th 1930 one of the greatest women alive was brought into the world. Just as the "dirty 30s" started. She is the second of two children, both girls. Gloria Mae Johnson was born. My grandmother. She is now the definition of a matriarch. She has over come a lot in her days. She had to raise 4 children on her own, one of them, my dad.....that had to be hard enough!! Haha!! She worked at the hospital while raising her children. She never missed an event that included her children, sports, etc. She was and still is one hell of a mom!! Most people now can barely raise their children properly with two parents. She raised 4 outstanding children. All successful. And all four married and went on to have children of their own. Grandma has 10 grandchildren. Those 10 grandchildren have given her 20 great grandchildren. Needless to say family gatherings in the Stephanson clan are loud, busy and full of great memories!!
Sure I am biased, everyone is proud of their families. I love mine to the moon and back and would do anything for any one of them. But to me raising a family on your own is more real than ever. Yes, I have the kids father around, Grandma didn't have that for most of it. She did it on her own. Ask my dad, uncles or aunt. They will tell you how Grandma managed them and work. Different generation, different mind set. Where you worked hard for what you wanted. No sense of entitlement then. Either you worked for what you wanted to support your family or it didn't happen. No buy outs. You start from the ground and work your way up. Every single one of her children have done it. The work ethic I have now was handed down to me from my father, who learned it from his mother. My children will learn what it is like to work for what you want and it will not be handed to you on a silver platter. Life doesn't work that way.
The memories I have. I will always have. The trips to Basant with my cousins and Grandma. Grandma showing up at every dance recital, baseball game and sporting event, even when we moved she would when she could. She had 10 grandchildren to cater to now. 4 wasn't so bad!! Good thing we were all basically in the same events. Definitely not all at the same time. I have no idea how she did it. But it seemed like she never missed anything!! Even with her great grandchildren, if she can attend a event that is going on with one of them she will be. She gets such joy watching them do what they love to do. She is super woman to me. Baking.....oh my lord......Grandma can bake....and she bakes everything!! Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving. We used to stuff 4 children and 10 grandchildren into her house. It was cramped to say the least. But we made it work. Why? Because when Grandma wants something....she gets it. We do not argue with Grandma. What Grandma says goes. Those are memories none of us will ever forget. Lefse........that is all. No greater fight at family functions now in my parents doesn't involve Lefse and who is hording it all. Back to the baking, she did baking for her 4 children and sent enough for the families. Now....she does them for her 4 children and 10 grandchildren. Christmas isn't Christmas without Grandma's baking. I am forever thankful for that. An ice cream pail full of different types of baking. Rice krispie balls, multiple squares, shortbread...she is a miracle worker. I am sure that she needs to start January after Christmas in order to get it all done. Between that, the lefse and everything else she does. She bowls, plays crib, goes on bus tours to see Blue Jays games. Her and Ray are forever traveling to multiple places. One coast to another. Down through the states. She is the most active person I know. She could easily run circles around me. She comes from a different generation.
85 years on this planet. She has been through a lot! That's 14 Prime Ministers, 1 World War, 27 Olymipic games, Blue Jays winning 2 World Series, Bonnie and Clyde, Al Capone, Amelia Erhart, Hindenburg, Anne Frank, Bikini's being introduced, Color TV, James Dean, Rosa Parks, Grace Kelly, JFK, Martin Luther King Jr., Mandela, First Man on the Moon, Beatles, E.T., and the list goes on. To have experienced everything she has would be amazing!! I would have loved to live in that time. You made it on your own. How life was different.
Stephanson's are proud to be who we are. We come from good stock. We were raised right. We are raising our children right. I love my family, wouldn't trade it for anything. I love the life I have been given. I hope my children grow up with the proper sense of hard work. I love both sides of my family, I am blessed to be part of two wonderful families. The Wheelers will definitely come up in a later post. Great memories there as well!! I am very fortunate with the people who I am blessed to call my family.
Grandma, thank you. For everything you have done and continue to do. You are the glue that holds this family together. Thank you for the memories you have given me and continue to give to me and now my children. For being such a prominent figure in my life, thank you. For your no nonsense way of life, thank you. For raising 4 wonderful children, thank you. For loving me, thank you.
8th of 10 proud grandchildren,