Giga

My Great Grandmother, Carrie Kinsella with my son Joshua nearly 10 years ago.

My Great Grandmother, Carrie Kinsella with my son Joshua nearly 10 years ago.

We’ve all heard about Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt and the many  other women who have graced the annals of Women’s History. They made huge impacts on the world and have been memorialized in the dreams and ambitions of generations of young women, and men, seeking inspiration.

I’m thankful for these great women and others like them who have paved the way for me to be a young mother, a wife, and a small business owner. But inspiration by great women comes from closer to home for me, like my Mother, a retired nurse and small business owner herself; my Grandmother, master storyteller, botanist, homeopathic healer, and ornery little spitfire; and my late Great Grandmother, who insisted she would live to see 100 and then check out. She must have caught a glimpse, because barely a year from the century mark, she passed away surrounded by the family she mothered.

Giga was a talented women raised in a time of necessity. One of my favorite stories when I was much younger came from Giga’s youth. She starts by telling how when she was a child, she and her siblings would walk to school each day, through the woods, about five miles.

With visions of Laura Ingalls in my head, I jokingly said, “yes I know, and it was uphill both ways right?”

“Now you just hush,” she said, “and let me tell this story how I like.”

Sometime around 1925, when Giga would have been about 10 to 13 years old, she was looking at a Sears and Roebuck catalog that came to her family’s home each year, and she fell in love with a pair of beautiful leather boots. Surely a wintertime walk to school in those boots would be a mild chore in comparison to her normal daily adventure.

In an effort to provide for such a large family, Giga’s father told each of her seven siblings to pick something from the catalog for Christmas. Of course Giga picked the boots, but the boots were far too expensive for the family to afford, and it simply wouldn’t do for her to have such nice boots while the rest of the family stomped around on their old mediocre foot wear. Giga’s father wouldn’t be so quick to discourage her however. He took a studious look at the commercially manufactured boots in the catalog and then took Giga to the barn, where deer hides were hung and drying.

Giga’s dad taught her to measure her foot, cut the hide, make the sole, and stitch and lace her own perfectly warm and functional deer hide boots as beautiful to her as those expensive boots in the catalog.

Nearly a decade ago with my Mother, Linda Brown in the striped shirt, my Grandmother, Eily Brenner holding my son Joshua, and my late Great Grandmother, Carrie Kinsella right.

Nearly a decade ago with my Mother, Linda Brown in the striped shirt, my Grandmother, Eily Brenner holding my son Joshua, and my late Great Grandmother, Carrie Kinsella right.

She was so proud.

“So, you think you can make those boots on your own now?” Giga’s father asked.

“Yes! Yes, I think I can,” she replied.

“Good!” Her father said. “ Now, go get your brothers and sisters and make them a pair too.”

Giga would laugh out loud when she told that story, but her pride in her work, and what she had to do for the rest of her family, would not be stymied by the presence of necessity. Likewise, today, the beauty and simplicity of what I do, and what my store represents will not be stymied by the lack of necessity.

Giga went on to be a kindergarten teacher and a rather well renowned seamstress and dressmaker. She passed her talents on to her daughter, granddaughter, and even to me, her great granddaughter.

Giga is one of the many women who inspire me every day. I hope I make her proud.

 

Jessica Lynn

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