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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 12

Wenona's Art

"Come on baby! Letís get you all dressed up in your new dress." I was hurrying to make an appointment with one of the leaders at the Cerebral Palsy Center."Gramma Flood sewed you the most beautiful dress. You will look like a little doll." Talking to children was something in the personalities of the Joneses of Wales. By the time a child could speak they did so, and in sentences yet.

On this particular morning my child was wearing one of her grandmotherís artful designs. The dress was decidedly plain with no extra decoration but Wenona Flood knew how to put color and accessory together in the most charming ways. A striking shade of soft blue-green in what might be called aqua was only one part of Wenonaís art. All around the skirt of the outfit she accented with a wide band of three inches, unique, Swedish lace. The contrast of the white lace and the color of the dress was so striking. A simple pattern was turned into something exclusive for an unusual presentation. The green in the color of the dress complemented the childís strawberry blond hair. Wenona had purposefully arranged for this, this was her way.

This morning was sunny and bright in contrast to the day we had first visited the center when it was pouring rain. Bright sunlight brought out the red glints of Rhondaís hair.

I had been going alone for appointments in the back part of the building but this meeting was held in one of the front offices. In my youth I never questioned anything so didnít really know what was to be discussed. I carried Rhonda wherever I went because she couldnít sit alone and wasnít even able to hold her head up very well. At the moment she was sitting on my lap and doing rather well with holding her head up it seemed to me. It was pleasing to see what I believed to be progress in her development.

The woman who was meeting with me was cordial enough. We exchanged pleasantries and visited for a time. She had a stack of papers on her desk and now she lifted one of the pages, held it in midair and turned her head to look directly at me. I should have known from this position and attitude she would have something to say and what she would demand of me was to shake me to my shoes. How well she hid her intentions beneath this front of sweet courtesy.

Were there great earthquakes, ravaging tornadoes, deadly plague, hosts of invading insects, famine and hunger, squalid living conditions in my upbringing? No, there were not. We lived each day with an anxious anticipation for what was on our plate. The joy of a struggle was with my family when I was a girl and I knew about adversity in small ways. There was never a holding back from what had to be done and life had been altogether normal, whatever normal is, as the saying goes. At any rate, as children, we learned all that goes into our make-up and our conditioning for the way we are to perform when faced with making decisions for our own families no matter even if an earth shattering event should happen.

Mother and Dad never hid the daily living conditions from us. We were a part of the work, play or anything else that was happening. Other greater dark things were hidden and only many years later with a genealogical searching for Dadís family who he had separated from his own family because of fear for racial problems were some of these frightening elements discovered. For the moment I was blissfully ignorant of what this womanís position was and how she was sitting in a place to be a powerful force in my life.

Probably, this is how youth and inexperience are protected. I was interested in the neat way she was dressed, how her hair was obviously coiffed at a shop, and the neatness of her desk, nothing more. The money to go into this new building, their staff, and all the other amenities were of no concern to me and I wasnít even aware or interested in whom or what determined the goals for the organization much less threatened by it.

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