In my grandmother’s eyes I could do no wrong; what a gem

Published 1:10 pm Thursday, February 20, 2020

Fond memories are like little jewels tucked away for safety.

You don’t need to wear them all the time, but on those special occasions, when you pull them out, it’s a delight to have a chance to enjoy them.

On Wednesday, I wrote a story for the weekend newspaper on an upcoming art show at the Attic Gallery.

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The theme for the show is “I Remember.”

How cool, I thought, to have the opportunity to create a piece of art reflective of one’s memories.

Since I’m not an artist, I decided to try my hand with the topic in a way that is more up my alley — writing.

Obviously, there are many things I could choose to reflect on, but for this piece, I wanted to remember my maternal grandmother who died just a little over two weeks ago at the age of 101.

Mary Helen was not your typical grandmother who baked cookies and decorated her house.

That, she left to my grandfather.

She was the kind of woman that liked to work outside of the home, which was not the norm in her day.

Early on, before my time, Mary Helen owned a beauty shop.

She then went on to work in secretarial positions, first for my grandfather’s electrical business, then at her church and she was even a secretary at the state penitentiary, also known as Parchman.

I remember when she was the secretary at the First Methodist Church in Cleveland; she would take me to work with her when I made visits in the summer and set up a little table that served as my desk. She also supplied me with papers, pens and a stapler.

I remember feeling so grown-up.

Through the years, Mary Helen was also my biggest cheerleader and supportive audience.

As a child, I loved to dance and perform and she was always there to watch my routines and clap when I was done.

No telling how many hours she sat on her living room couch watching me do my thing.

In Mary Helen’s eyes, there was nothing I could do wrong and everything I did was perfect.

I remember feeling so special.

While Mary Helen was always a lady, she did have a unique way of expressing herself, which was evident in her attire.

She had a wardrobe of hats that came out for different occasions.

Also, if going to a birthday party, and she didn’t have time to wrap the present, which was always, she would just tie a string around the bag it came in.

If Mary Helen was feeling stiff and disjointed, she would just bend over and touch her toes right in the middle of a conversation.

And by the way, she could do this just about up until she died!

Some may be wondering why I refer to my grandmother as Mary Helen.

And to be honest, I am not certain why she wanted her “grands” to call her by her given name.

But like I said earlier, Mary Helen was not one to be like everybody else, which is what I think I will remember most about her.

Mary Helen saw life as an adventure and didn’t let the small stuff get her down.

She did not live her life in a manner to please everyone around her or worry about what others thought.

She was confident enough just to be Mary Helen.

What a gem.

Terri Cowart Frazier is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. She can be reached at terri.frazier@vicksburgpost.com. 

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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