Margie Holdren This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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"And then he said, "Gotcha!" Laughing, sparkling eyes watched me as I literally jumped out of my slippers, nearly knocking my sister over. Grandma Margie Holdren grinned, proud of her story-telling that affected her grandchildren so much.

Smoothing back her soft gray curls with a work-scarred hand, she began another wild tale in a low-pitched, eerie tone. My sister and I watched her with fascination, our hearts pounding, our imaginations running wild. Her sea-green eyes sparkled mischievously as she drew out another gruesome, so-called "true story" of ghosts and spirits. Her every feature was alive with her tale, giving her the appearance of a half-crazed legend teller.

"Wham!" we jumped again, her tale once again coming to an eerie close. Smiling with pleasure, she pulled us close, almost crushing our little bones in an affectionate embrace.

To understand my grandma completely, you have to review our family's heritage starting with my great-great grandfather Thompson. He and his brother made their way to America from Scotland, working as cabin boys. Starting life in America, he married an American girl and reared a family.

His son married Emma Sultz. They did not have much, but they started a lovely family in Pleasant City, Ohio. William worked in a coal mine, supporting his wife and three daughters. At one point, William was involved in a coal mining accident which caused him to suffer from epileptic seizures.

When my grandmother was only 14 years old, tragedy violently struck her family. Early one morning, her lovely young mother, carrying an armful of rugs, fell down a flight of stairs to her death. Traumatized by the sudden death of his much-loved wife, William turned to alcohol to drown his sorrow and soon became an alcoholic. He loved his daughters dearly, but his own pain was so great that he could not help them, which left them to grieve the loss alone.They turned to one another, creating an unusually close bond.

At the age of 18, Margie Thompson, my grandma, married Robert Holdren. They each shared a sad family life and so pledged to make their home as happy as possible. Within a year, they had a beautiful baby boy, Robert Wane Holdren, Jr.

The world was abuzz with the news that another world war was on its way. Wanting to serve his country, Robert attempted to enlist. Turned down because he was blind in his left eye, Robert put all his energy into his family. This changed when World War II began and he was suddenly drafted. While he was in the army, Margie gave birth to a baby girl, Tanya Fae Holdren, my mother.

Soon they were given the happy news that the long war was over. Now able to devote themselves entirely to their family, Robert and Margie moved their family to Derwent, Ohio, where they lived, happily rearing two children and creating the life they had always wanted.

Even though they were not believers, they sent their two children to Bible school. As new believers, Margie and Robert found more happiness than they ever dreamed.

My grandma has always had a strong will. Her life demanded it, however, and she did not let her misfortunes ruin her life. She has stood tall and firm, never losing her integrity or her sense of humor.

Her persistence is often shown by her never-tiring shopping skills. She is well known for her fervent garage sale hunting. She loves to find old furniture and rusty antiques and refurbish them, turning her house into a museum of valuable antiques. She also possesses other skills, including the unusual task she bestows on her fly-swatter. Many an early morning, our peaceful sleep is robbed by Grandma's barging into our room, brandishing her fly-swatter like a saber, driving us out of bed so we do not squander a useful day.

This fiery woman with her soft gray curls, sparkling eyes and small mouth that could send out a voice so gentle (yet at times so threatening that it could stop a lion in mid-leap) will always stand out in my mind as a truly great woman whom I would gladly resemble in any small way.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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