A Grandmother’s Legacy

Willie Brooks Woodring

Willie Brooks received her name because her father wanted a boy. No gender reveal back then, so the name stuck. According to my mom she went by Brooks; can’t say that I blame her. Willie is a tough one, even for a boy. Though I don’t remember meeting her I have pictures to tell me I did. I was only two or three at the time and, well, I wasn’t blessed with a strong memory for most anything and I certainly have no idea about things that long ago.

As far as I can tell I am most like my Grandma Brooks Woodring. Certainly my physique resembles hers and I have her knack for crochet and other handicrafts. I am anxious and mom has said she had a nervous side. I think about her when I do the things she would have done…crochet and cook a great meal all while using every pot in the house and making a grand mess. But the food is always delicious.

I also love chickens but in a city girl kind of way.
I’m fairly certain she never gave her chickens names.
Grandma was pragmatic…they were dinner.

Nellie Perkins-Liu

I know even less about my paternal grandmother. Nellie has been a mystery my entire life. All we have are a couple of pictures and a ladies pocket watch that supposedly was hers.

Nellie Perkins-Liu
January 1924

I can’t remember the origin of my interest or how long I have been fascinated by my grandmother. Maybe it is that there is so little known and the romance of the unknown is always tantalizing.

That is my father she is holding in the picture. Sadly, within weeks she was hospitalized and never came home. My dad never knew his mother and my grandfather never talked about her. They came from a generation where men didn’t discuss such things; they just stoically moved on. To the best of my knowledge her family never had anything to do with dad. I have no idea if that was them or my grandfather’s doing. They are all gone now so I will never know for sure. But the desire to know about her has been a near constant thought since at least 1978. Fortunately before my grandfather passed away I summoned the courage to ask about her. The veil of secrecy was thick and we were not emotionally close to him.

I am working on learning more of the ins and outs of research of this type. Ancestry is a wonderful tool as is newspapers.com. I can spend hours moving from place to place gathering tidbits of information and storing them away like a chipmunk with acorns.

Telling Her Story

No one else in my family has been haunted by her story the way I have. I don’t mean in a literal sense, but in the sense that I feel this is a torch that has been passed to me. In the long run, there is only one great grandchild to carry her forward; my brother’s daughter is now a married woman and one day will have children of her own thus the family story has value for her.

But beyond the family saga, I feel there is a bigger story. The story of a young Chinese woman born in Honolulu in 1905 and who only lived for nineteen and a half years. It was, however, long enough to give birth to my father and thus I believe, her purpose had been fulfilled. Had she lived to raise him, or any other factors of my dad’s raising changed, my brother and I would not have been born. I am thankful for her life.

I am now a grandmother. I wonder what legacy I am leaving for my three granddaughters. What will they remember about me? Have I taught them the important things that only grandmothers can teach? Because of our busy modern lives have I done the best I could or have I allowed busyness to get in the way? Time will tell.

As The World Turns

Once the title of my favorite soap opera, As The World Turns is now just a descriptive phrase for life in the midst of Covid-19. The earth keeps rotating; life moves forward, day into night and back to day…and if we aren’t careful the mundaneness of it all can and will destroy our very soul. But take heart! Each one of us has the power to break free and soar. Johnny Rose and his intrepid family showed us how this can be done in the now iconic television show Schitt’s Creek.

Photo Credit: Usmagazine.com

Lessons From Schitt’s Creek

For me one of the joys of the past few weeks has been the discovery of Schitt”s Creek. I have not been living under a rock, but until the Emmy’s last year I had not heard of it. When I noticed it available on one of my multitude of cable channels I thought, “I need to watch that someday.” I never did. Then it popped up on Netflix. Now I could watch it sequentially – as it must be for full enjoyment and impact – and continuously. The continuous watching just seems to happen. I tell myself I am only going to watch one episode and before I know it my butt has been glued to my recliner for several hours. At some point I realized that there is an end point and I don’t want that to come too soon. I must savor the morsels of poignant hilarity parceled out by the Rose family and their newfound friends in Schitt’s Creek.

There are many parallels that can be drawn between life during a pandemic and a life of financial and cultural exile. As I envisage the many similarities and the mercurial peregrinations, I cannot help thinking that a pandemic does not a life make! When one person shines, we all shine. Warning, my vocabulary has been permanently influenced by the verbose Moira Rose.

The pandemic has been a barbarous infliction on all of humanity. The hows and whys aside, the trauma and pain suffered has been catastrophic. However, we, as human beings are nothing if not resilient. There has been good forged in the fire of pain.

Like the Rose clan exiled to the town of Schitt’s Creek, many families have been forced to share very close quarters which has led to dragooned intimacy and the ensuing drama. The Rose family had grown comfortable in their estranged and dysfunctional life which was fertile soil for comedy. In less glamorous ways don’t all families settle into a comfortable way of interacting such that it takes something dramatic to change?

As vaccination rates increase and restrictions decrease, life is beginning to return to “normal.” What have we learned that should permanently change how we live?

Take nothing for granted.

Every aspect of life is sacred and should be protected at all costs. Friends, family, health, freedom, speech, religion…all are under attack and deserve defending.

We are more alike than we are different.

We are living in a time when those who wish to rule over us try to maintain their power by pitting one group against another. It is commonly called identity politics. I believe that most people want the same thing – a safe place to live, food to eat, education for children, the ability to work and self mobility, the opportunity to excel, worship, love who they love, live a quiet and peaceful life.

Live Boldy

We are not promised a tomorrow. Live through fear by taking chances, trying new things, living someplace new, experiencing something you have only dreamed about. I have a dream of living somewhere different and have found that place. This place has the kind of historic home I want to live in, it has all the amenities I am looking for and is close to all my family (within two hours counts as close to me). I am ready to live that life. How about you?

~Sheryl

Wisdom of Proverbs 31

The other day I talked about spinning wool into yarn and how it makes me think about larger issues. I love to find teachable moments in the midst of the everyday. Since Friday is a fun day on the blog I decided to show you what I do. I went through my photographs (I have hundreds) and selected the ones that I thought would tell the story.

She selects wool and flax

and works with eager hands.

Proverbs 31:3

I adore Beatrix Potter and these illustrations grab my heartstrings.


The process begins with sheep. My preference is to buy wool from small local growers who provide a safe and loving home for sheep. They grow the best wool.
Finished yarn and a few of my spindles.

So there you have a short lesson combined with my love for working with my hands to make yarn. I sell my yarn helping to provide for my family. I am not idle. I work everyday despite rarely leaving my home. If you haven’t read Proverbs 31 in a while, go give it a read. Some would cast it aside as being old fashioned and repressive towards women. I don’t see it that way. I see it as a glorious homage to the value of a woman. Women are portrayed as caregivers, businesswomen, hard working, valuable, and worthy of great esteem. That is the woman I seek to become.

Until Monday, have a joyous weekend spending time with those you love making memories and sharing the love of Christ with everyone you encounter.