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  • Writer's pictureTerry Groves

B.R.A.T.S. A Grandmother's Love

Updated: Jun 11, 2022

I don't know if being a brat had an influence on my relationship with my grandmothers, but I think it did. They certainly understood what it was like to be the dependent of a military man, but their experience was considerably different than mine. In their day, the husbands headed off to war at the start, and came home when it was all over. It was difficult enough giving up my father for the periods of his deployments (a few weeks to a few months). It is hard to conceive being separated for years. My time came long after my grandfathers returned from their service in Europe.

I loved spending time with my grandmothers, but I'm not certain I appreciated them as much as I should have. Just how much one of them loved me was recently reminded to me while trimming my fingernails.

My dad's mother was a talented seamstress, and creative crafter. During a visit when I was about fifteen, I asked her if she could make me a case for my nail clippers and tweezers. They kept getting lost in my suitcase.

I was expecting a simple bag, maybe with a drawstring close. I should have known this woman who had designed and sewn innumerable wedding party ensembles, wouldn't settle for something so simple. Not only did she use her amazing ability with a sewing machine, she employed the creativity she used when making her beautiful crafts. No simple satchel for her grandson.

Nail Clipper Kit

In an hour or so, she presented me with the pictured case. Made out of Naugahyde, it had separate pockets for each tool as well as a flip-cover and a band to tuck the cover into when closing. In short, it was way beyond what was expected. I took it as a reflection of her love. Despite the fact that I wasn't a perfect grandson, was rather trying at times, she wanted me have something functional, beautiful, and that would last.

It was all those things, especially in its ability to last. Fifty years later, I still use it. For me, this case is a legacy from a woman who was the wife of a WWII soldier, the mother of a CF Airman, and the grandmother of six B.R.A.T.S. More than twenty years after she passed, I think of her pretty much every day because of the love she poured into a simple nailfile case for her grandson. I always loved her, but I wish I had appreciated her more while she was alive.

What legacy did your grandparents leave you with?

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Jun 02, 2022

I have been sitting thinking awhile on your wonderful blog subject with reference to our BRAT Grandmothers and how they have influenced us. My maternal grandmother, Pearl, was a wonder and a bright light in our family! She was a jack of all trades, but a master of none except to be a wonderful grandmother to me! "Gramma Rowell" as we called her, could cook, clean, garden, can, jam, knit (I still have a blanket she made me), crochet, bowl, curl, and was my Grandfather's life partner. She could also be so much fun when we had family reunions. She loved her Black Label beer and would sun in front of the whole neighborhood in her cotton brassiere and reg…

Jun 02, 2022
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I agree! What a coincidence our grandmothers shared the same name!!


May 28, 2022

What a moving piece. When I remember my father’s mother—a woman whose husband and two of her three sons served in WWII—she is as clear to me as she’d be if she were standing close. It’s no wonder where she was HOME always was for me.

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