I never had the pleasure of knowing Grandma Kyker, my mom’s mother. She sadly died exactly two months before I was born. She’s been described to me as an amazing, sweet, hard-working farm woman with a good sense of humor. She was a nurse, a caregiver and raised a large family of eight kids by working in the fields and creating homemade meals from scratch. My mother was very close to her, and she still talks about her with this awe and adoration that is touching.
Mom waited until later in life to get married. 34 wouldn’t seem that old now, but even though the times were changing in 1971, it still was outside of the norm. It probably was even more peculiar to the traditional farm family that Mom was raised in, where most of her siblings married shortly after high school. Mom had a career, then a short stint in the Navy before she got married.
I believe my dad only met his mother-in-law in person once, as depicted in this 1973 visit to the farm in Tennessee. When Dad talked about that visit, he described how beautiful the land was. Perhaps it reminded him a bit of his grandmother’s place in Northern Ireland. My mom said Dad and Grandma got along famously, bonding over the family’s extensive coin collection. Dad was very close to his own mother so it was no doubt easy for him to like Grandma Kyker. Mom says Grandma took her aside and said, “Be good to that man or he’ll leave you!”
Guess Mom heeded Grandma’s advice as Dad stuck around for 40 years.