Machines: Ode to my Grandmother

diaries2After last week’s post of my feeling of insignificance for not accomplishing more stunning feats of strength, I got to thinking about my grandmother.

My grandmother wrote in a 5-year diary every day for most of her life.  Here are some excerpts from her actual diary, 1943-47.

September 1diary8, 1944

“Washed, including bedroom and bathroom curtains.  Started washing bedroom walls at 3:00 and quit at 6:00.  But not done.  Mended, listened to radio and wrote letter in evening.”

April 12, 1945

“Put zippers in two dresses.  Took car over to get serviced in afternoon.  World stunned by Pres. Roosevelt’s death!  Worked on budget in evening & wrote letter.”

August 8, 1945

“Nice day – drove to farm.  Cut out dress for self – slip and underwear for Susan.  Took bath in creek.  Cut lawn.  Wrote letter in evening.  Read.”

April 11 1947

“Cleaned house.  Mended.  To YCC (youth meeting of some sort?) progressive dinner in evening.  Bob in town so few of us wound up going over to Bill’s for more coffee.”  I’ll bet she needed that coffee.

Context: my grandmother was home with two girls, born almost 18 months apart, while her husband was across the country or across the world serving in the Army during WW2.

I get tired just reading these pages.  She was a machine.

Come to think of it, all of us Johnson women are.

I just got off the phone with my mom.  She was mentioning how her sister had made some neat Easter favors at a party they just attended.  “I don’t know how she has time to do it all!”

Ironically, Mom had spent the day at meetings in St Paul and finished making a million bon bons for May Day baskets for church.  She was rushing to eat dinner so she and Dad could get to church on time tonight, where Dad is preaching…

I wish I could accomplish much more interesting things than I do.  But I just don’t.

What’s amazing is that my grandmother rarely missed a day writing down all of these tasks in her little journals.  For her, it was enough to just write it down.

I guess I’m like her in that way too.





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