Tuesday, December 07, 2004

My Mongie…

When I was learning to talk, Mongie (hard “g” as in garage) was what came out when I tried to say the name of my mother’s mother, and that name stuck. During the recent visit to see my parents, I looked through photo albums and saw a picture of Mongie that I could not recall having seen before. I fell in love with it, and Mom sent it to me so I could copy it. The photo was taken sometime after 1906 at their old home place, which was a ranch in Elbert, Colorado (no electricity, no running water, no indoor plumbing) and where my mother spent her childhood. In the background are a windmill, a barn, a clothesline with long johns pegged out, a fence line. Mongie is posed at the corner of the porch, where a path has been laid out with white rocks on the bare ground; one foot is up on a rocks. She is dressed in a man’s clothes that are somewhat too big for her. She has a derby-style hat on her head, her hands are in the pockets of a suit coat, and the old-fashioned collar of a white shirt that is not fastened properly is sticking out. She wears baggy man’s pants work pants (Levi’s?). She has on pointy-toed shoes with thick heels (cowboy boots? women’s button shoes?) Her hair has been tucked up underneath the hat but a few wisps hang down. Her head is at a jaunty angle and she has a wonderful smile on her face. She looked young and carefree then, maybe early 20s, before the hard life on the ranch took its toll. What was she doing? Why was she dressed like that? I only knew Mongie as an old woman. Although she was only 63 when I was born, 63-year-old women who had been farm wives and had gone through the Depression looked OLD in the 1950s. I wish I could have known her in 1906!!

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