Posting this today in honor of my maternal grandmother, Fern Wright Baach, on what would be her 129th birthday. She was quite a woman: a teacher; a suffragette; a self-taught violinist; poet and writer; and a Minnesota farm wife and mother during the worst of the Depression and the Dust Bowl. She died of breast cancer long before I was born, but my mom adored her and talked about her so much I’ve always felt I that knew her. And now I do more than ever, since I inherited all of her old letters to her sister, letters that span the decades from the 1910s to the 1950s. Happy birthday Grandma!
NB This isn’t my photo–just my edit, and of course my story… ———————————-/ My dad’s family were tenant farmers during the Depression and quite poor–they lost everything in a fire right before the Crash in ’29. When my dad was overseas in WWII he sent all of his Army pay home to help the family (he was the third eldest of eleven). However, things were finally going a bit better by then, so my grandma stashed the money away in a savings account in his name. When he came home from the war in 1945, he used the money to buy the farm where the family was living, outside of Rush City, MN, and farmed the land while providing a home for his parents and younger siblings until shortly before he married my mom in 1963. I grew up in Minneapolis, but our yard was practically a hobby farm, given the ratio of garden to lawn! And most of my childhood weekends were spent at various relatives’ farms. My dad has been gone for over twenty years, but I’m grateful for the lessons he taught me. To cherish the land and the gifts it provides, to treat Mother Nature with respect, to be observant of my surroundings, to treat animals with patience and to nurture both plants and animals. And yeah, every time I drive past a wheat field, or see a gorgeous corn crop ready for harvest, I miss my dad. Like crazy.