|Elsie Charlotte Hayes (1926-1992), Michigan, probably early 1940s.|
I don’t do “Wordless Wednesdays”, particularly since I can’t ever remain “wordless” on those posts. So, I’ve picked “Family Photos Friday” to serve as my version to these quick easy posts that showcase snapshots from our family history.
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.|