Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Grandmother's Mother

As a little girl, I had the great privilege of meeting an amazing woman.

~ Mrs. Nellie Lynch ~  

She was very old, and she had the most wrinkly face I'd ever seen.  I didn't think she was ugly though ~ because her beauty came from within.  She smiled and joked almost the whole visit ~ she even played my brother's little blue guitar and made up a song...  

This amazing woman was my great-grandmother.

Up until recently, I'd really known very little about her.  I knew she was born and raised in Kentucky.  She earned a degree in teaching from Berea College, and eventually taught in a one-room school house.  Her mode of transportation to and from college was a donkey which she rode through mountain passes.  I also knew she had many children, with the eldest being my grandma ~ Norma.

This past week, my grandma's sister ~ Juanita ~ said she'd unearthed a documentary made in 1940 of my grandma and her family, when my grandma was just 7 yrs old... and we could watch it online.

Nellie in the kitchen, preparing corn pone

My grandma, eating breakfast...

 Getting dressed for school...

 Walking to the one-room schoolhouse... 

Reading aloud in class...  You can even hear her voice as she reads... and I can tell it's my grandma, even though in 1940 it was just the voice of a little girl.

Throughout the first half of the video, you probably noticed the handmade wooden signs: 


above the front door... on the outside and inside.  


 above a doorway that leads to the kitchen.  


above the bedroom window.

In honor of my great-grandma Nellie, 
I painted a sign which will eventually hang above my own front door...

I think it's a fitting way to honor a woman I'd call great... 
for reasons other than being my grandmother's mother.

"Some people, no matter how old they get, 
never lose their beauty...
 they merely move it 
from their faces into their hearts."

~ Martin Buxbaum


  1. Some additional information about the documentary:

    The man chopping wood is my great-grandfather, Marion Lynch. The log home is still standing, although the logs have been covered with shingle/siding. The schoolhouse fell down before my dad's childhood in the 1960's. When I met her, Nellie's home sat in the place where the old schoolhouse used to be. The house at the end of the video belonged to my great-grandfather's parents, and those are his parents sitting on the porch...

  2. Too beautiful for words. Meghan, this one is very special. I hope my kids will let me show this documentary to them. There is so much said, simply with the visuals!What a beautiful keep-sake you have, and the sign you made is just incredible. Thank-you for glorifying God by sharing with us your gift.

  3. Thank you Janet... I thought you'd like the film... it's amazing isn't it? When I heard it existed I thought ~ what are the chances of Grandma's family being chosen for this, and that the documentary even survived for this long?

    Glad you like the sign... Dad gave me that piece of wood last year (I painted several signs which I ended up giving as birthday & Christmas gifts). The board's got a few uneven spots and holes, but that's what gives it character, and lets the simplicity and beauty of that word shine :)

  4. What a beautiful tribute to your great-grandmother! You are so Blessed to have this documentary to chronicle your grandmother and great grandmother's families. This was beautiful to read, and how you are passing on and continuing their touch with the sign "Smile." This brought me a smile to read :)

  5. Ella ~ thank you... glad we had you smiling :)

  6. Hi Megan, This is just wonderful. I truly love it. I know you are thrilled to have it, too. The picture of the iron bed in one photo reminds me of my childhood as well. Love the school picture. She had to be one great lady. Your smile sign made me smile along with everything on this post. A great quote at the end. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  7. WHat a beautiful story about Nellie - such a small world that she went here to Berea College!! :) everything in life is interconnected isn't that amazing?


“Kind words can be short and easy to speak,
but their echoes are truly endless.”

~ Mother Teresa