Yesterday was the 83rd anniversary of Valentino's death. You might say what has this got to do with anything? It was a reminder of the stories that Grandmother told us when we young. She talked about the pain all the women felt when he died. How some women even committed suicide. He was the first superstar of cinema and an Idol to Grandmother, she talked of the sadness she had! The sadness was one of her secrets, after all, she was a young woman in 1926. All of the movies and media where still new at that time and the media was just starting to get out to the small cities and towns.
Grandmother(Minnie Baldridge Wilkerson) was quite a story teller. She would use the most vivid and understandable words and phrases. This woman had a very profound and extensive grasp on the English language.
As we sat at the table, eating fresh homemade bread with home churned butter, she began to tell the story of her life. Those stories were so wonderful and none of us ever wanted to leave when she spoke. The woman was so full of compassion that the soothing words of her speech just caused us to sit and listen closely! She began with the fact of her birth in a log cabin in NW Arkansas in 1897. She was from a large family that did not realize that they were poor. Most people of that time had very few things or could be called wealthy. Her father, Matt Baldridge was a Methodist Minister that would preach his circuit of churches. We could only imagine what it was like for her to stand and look up the road for her daddy to get home, wondering if he was okay. When is he going to get back? She never labored the point of sadness, the loneliness, or the separation, only the joy of his return.
She told of the time that, her husband, our Grandfather was in France in 1917 & 1918. While he was gone those two years, she told us in secret, that she smoked cigarettes! She never told her own children about that episode of her life! She talked about the first time she saw an electric light and the marvel that it was. The first time she saw an automobile and the racket that it made, the smoke and the smells. The first movie, how it was so enchanting to see the moving pictures that looked so real, that she felt like she was there watching in person!
The most impressive thing to her young life is when saw her first aeroplane. That is the way she spoke it and wrote the word. How she wanted to fly and be like a bird and look down from the heavens. She told of the sacrifices of all, during WW II, standing at the train station, handing out cokes to the troops until her money would run out! But she said, nothing is as profound as man walking on the moon! It was like a dream when she saw it on TV. She continued to tell us that in her life people had gone from horse and carriage to rocket ships, from newspapers to radio and TV, but the one thing had not changed and never would change, the Lord! She went to be with her Lord in 1980, a sad but wonderful day. Thank You Grandmother for the wisdom you shared with us!!!!
Just My Hero!!!