Saturday, February 18, 2006

My mother-in-law

My mother-in-law was a blessing. She was a "liberated woman" long before (or long after) such a thing was fashionable. She worked outside the home before, during and after it became acceptable. She was a bright and intelligent woman right up to her last, who spoke several languages and had a bachelors and masters degree in a time when women were lucky to get an 8th grade education. She owned a horse camp through the 60's and 70's in the "Back of Beyond" in Tennessee, which she made work until she was physically no longer able to do it, and still had an old, retired horse until a couple of months before she died.

My husband was her last child, born into a marriage which was already disintegrating due to depression and alcoholism. She stayed with her husband another 6 years, until she figured out that staying in a bad marriage was worse on her children then no marriage at all. As that was 1966, it was a courageous decision.

She took her baby out into the "Back of Beyond" and raised a fine man.

Jean believed that it was not only a sensible thing to teach her boys how to do "women's work", but that it was her obligation to her boys and to women of the future to do so. All 4 of her sons have, sooner or later, appreciated her for her insistence that boys needed to know how to do something other than take out the garbage.

My husband cooks, he does dishes and laundry, he can, if emergency situations arise, clean as well as I do. He knows how to knit and weave and sew. And all of this I owe to my mother in law (and her daughter, my sister-in-law who helped raise my husband.)

My mother-in-law has been dead for 6 years, and I miss her... so what brings this up now? I really really wish that my mother-in-law had taught my husband not to wash wool.

I opened the washer this morning and found my wool shawl... slightly felted.


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