Today, March 20, is the 110th anniversary of the birth of my maternal grandmother, Henrietta (“Hattie”) Van den Bosch Kreykes. I’ve been thinking about her a lot today, in the midst of navigating the effects of the coronavirus crisis in my personal and work life. Everyone in my family seems to be doing fine so far, but the social distancing has affected us all in one way or another.
What would my grandmother have thought of it all? She was born in 1910 and, like everyone in her generation, lived through some difficult personal and historical times … the loss of her mother at a relatively young age, the loss of a younger sister, the Great Depression, World War II, you name it …
My grandmother was a quiet woman when I knew her, and one talent she had that I always admired was her needlework. Today I took out the afghan she made for me years ago, just like the ones she made for all of her grandchildren, and a table covering, much like the doilies she made in abundance. They are comfort items. Once when she was visiting us from Iowa, I was impressed that she sewed Bluebird/ Campfire Girl uniforms for both my sister and me in one day. She probably took this talent in stride, but I was always impressed by it and remain so. It was a practical talent, not a self-indulgent one.
I still have an image of Grandma sitting quietly in her house, engaged almost incidentally in some needlework project. While I didn’t know her during any of the difficult historical times of her life, my sense is that she faced them the way most of her generation did … with resolve, faith, and no particular sense of entitlement. I suspect she’d have done the same today. Miss you, Grandma. Happy Birthday.
My Grandma Kreykes was born in 1910 in Capel Township, Sioux County, Iowa, married my grandfather in 1930, had four children, and passed away in Orange City, Sioux County, Iowa, in 1995. I wrote a fuller birthday profile of her last year, which can be found here.