|Elsie Charlotte Hayes (1926-1992), Michigan, probably early 1940s.|
The inaugural photo is one of my grandmother, Elsie Charlotte Hayes (1926-1992), on horseback. I don't know the date, or the exact place. Best guess is early 1940s, somewhere near her home in Southfield Township, Michigan -- before she moved out to California during the war.
Why did I pick this photo to kick off my Family Photos Friday? Because as a child, this was always one of my very favorite pictures of Grandma, since Grandma wasn't exactly active. A lifetime of smoking, severe asthma, and an obsessive love of reading kept Grandma pretty sedentary.
I was shocked the first time I came across this photo and questioned my mom. Mom told me Grandma used to love to ride horses as a child and young adult, and that a family at a neighboring farm used to allow Grandma to exercise their horses whenever she wanted -- it gave her a sense of freedom. I used to gaze at this photo every time I went through Mom's albums.
Although I never got to see it for myself, Mom says Grandma was an excellent rider, even into older age. Mom kept us kids away from horses because she had a terrifying experience, when I was already a young child, during a horseback riding day trip with Grandma and my uncle (who still rides). Mom, who did not ride, was given a beginner's horse, but the horse spooked during the ride and took off with her on its back. My calm grandma kicked her horse into a sprint, went after Mom, pulled up alongside of her, and took the reigns of Mom's horse to get it to stop. Mom never rode a horse again. And she never quit sharing how impressed she was by Grandma's equestrian skills.
I would give anything to have Grandma still with us, and to enjoy a day of horseback riding with her.
|Like Grandmother, Like Granddaughter.|