Enlightened by Her Love
Shawnette J. Baum



So many of us take for granted our lifestyles and the abundance of technology that we have grown accustomed to. That is why I must tell you about a fabulous woman that I have been given the pleasure to know and love. I say pleasure because this woman is full of life, understanding encouragement, and love. She is my mom's mother, my Grandma Uhelski. Her name is Marjorie, and she has always been an enlightening, caring, compassionate, and thrilling grandmother. Grandma only stands five feet tall, but still has the spirit of a giant. She may be tiny, but she can out step, out run, and out swim me. She is not the typical rocking-chair grandma; Marjorie loves life and knows how to live it.

Grandma has gray hair now, but when she was young she had ravishing auburn hair that had its own glossy shine. My grandpa said that he couldn't keep his hands off it. Grandma was the type of woman with a wonderful personality, an innocent smile, and a body to die for. She is still a great looking woman. She takes good care of herself and even bought herself a tanner to keep her skin golden brown. She will never grow old gracefully--without putting up a good fight. I can always tell when Marjorie walks into a room by the smell of her White Shoulders perfume or by the sound of the way she always hums.

As I speak with my grandma I am given a enlightened vision of how her life started out. I never knew that much about her life before she was my grandma. She was born January 11, 1929, and she was the seventh child out of nine in her family. Grandma was born in Flint, Michigan, and was raised there. Grandma's family didn't have a lot of money, but they never went without the things that they needed. There was no TV when she was growing up, so she spent her evenings listening to stories that were told on the radio. Grandma didn't have a TV until 1950, after she was grown. Going without a TV to me is not even comprehendible, but grandma adapted and said that there were always things to do to keep her busy. She spent her days during the summer working in the family garden. Her family grew most of their own food because they were so poor. When she wasn't working she was tending to her younger siblings or hanging out with some neighborhood friends.

Grandma got to experience life when horse and buggy was the way of travel. She said if you were a family with money you would drive a car. Even then, she said, it was quicker to take a horse because the cars were much slower then. Her family didn't get their first car until her late teenage years. She got to witness changes in train travel as well as air travel.


Grandma told me that she didn't have the pleasure of wearing new clothes like I have always been granted. She had to wear handed-down clothes from her older sisters. My grandma lived through the Depression, and she told me that she had stamps for different things like gas, food, clothes and she could only buy the things that she had a stamp for. According to grandma, many people during that time traded their stamps for t he things that they needed more. She said that she couldn't purchase nylons during this time, so she had to use a cream similar to face foundation on her legs.

Her father was part of the sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan, which brought in the unions. Grandma said that the jobs back then belonged to the men. Women were meant to stay home and tend to the house and children. She was one of the first women to work for General Motors, where she built army parts such as ammo during World War II. She enjoyed her job and took pride in being able and also good at a man's job.


Grandma is an amazingly strong woman. She worked hard her whole life away from home as well as at home. She had five children of her own. She loved her life then--and she loves her life now. According to grandma, "Things just aren't so complicated, technology wise anyways," she said. “But it was still much easier raising children then, than now. In a family, God used to be the most important part. Now people almost sound embarrassed to say the name Jesus. Prayer was common in the schools, now there are guns. I love the new way of life, but there are some things like loving God that should have never been taken out of the way people live,” she stated.

My grandmother has seen many changes and has enlightened me by giving me a more vivid view on how life used to be. I thought I knew my grandma quite well, but this interview made me realize how little I truly knew. It is an honor to be part of her life, and I know that I am blessed to have been enlightened by her love and her life.

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