The Trouble With Branding

Mar 23, 2009

#Family Life

I’m not ready to write some more memoirs exactly yet. I have them, tucked away nicely in my photo box of memories with words spilling off the pages waiting to be published.

I just can’t.

Not now.

It seems we’re in some state of crisis in our house. Maybe “crisis” is too extreme a word. “Recession?” “Depression?”

Chaos? Uncertainty? Stress?

All the above?

I’m frustrated the “state of the economy” is throwing my daily life in to some sort of tailspin.

I never imagined I’d give a shit what the DOW was or watch with baited breath the AP wire.

I’ve talked to good friends about this. And the answer is always the same:


Be strong.

Be an influential woman.

Break down here, with us, safely in your tribe.

And then get up, brush it off, work, care for your family, and be brave.

I’ve blogged before about how I am not brave.

I think about these words, of being strong and supportive for your family in tough times, and I notice my flaws, my failures, my tears. I wonder why we as women are so determined to be respected every bit as a man but don’t readily feel strong enough to be the emotional support for our families. I think of my Grandmother, the woman who inspired this memoir, and I wonder what she would say to me now.


And so I open her memoirs and I begin to read:

“We saw medics carry [my mother] out of the house and down the walk to the ambulance. We never saw her again before she died two days later in the hospital. Her last words to my dad where, ‘Keep the kids together’. .... She died at 30 from pneumonia. Dad tried to [keep us] together but it was during the depression and everyone had their own problems of survival.  During the next two years each of us stayed with families that wanted one more child, not two or three or five. Patricia was adopted by a family at 18 months old and Sherri, 3yrs old, was adopted to another family. The three older kids, Naomi (5yrs old), Me (7) and Jimmy (9) stayed with Dad while he worked at getting us an apartment with indoor plumbing.”


There is more. I read and I read. My grandmother worked at ten years old to help her family survive. She learns lessons about staying close to her family because they are all she has. She writes about the occasional donut. She has new shoes at the start of each year but puts cardboard in the soles when they wear out.

My mother has similar stories.

By the time I finish the chapter of my grandmother’s memoirs during the Great Depression I know what she would say to me.

She would tell me to Persevere.

Be strong.

Be an influential woman.

Break down with my tribe, my friends, my fellow women.

Then get up, brush it off, work, care for your family, and be brave.

Just like she did sixty years ago.

And so, I do.



  1. It’s true. and as long as they don’t take away our internet we are going to be okay.

    By Dawn on 2009 03 23

  2. You know, it’s amazing how much our female predecessors inspire us.  When I read this post, I thought of my own grandmother and mother, and how much those words mean for them and to me.

    My grandma is going in to be tested tomorrow, and there’s a chance she may have cancer, so I guess I’m really feeling this way right now.

    Persevere, right?

    After we cry for a little while.

    By Janae on 2009 03 23

  3. This is so true.

    By texasholly @ june cleaver nirvana on 2009 03 23

  4. What a great thought!  We are strong…we will get through and come out on the other side…laughing, so I hope!! 

    Hang in there!  I’m right there with you barely hanging on!!

    By amy on 2009 03 23

  5. She’s right, you know.  smile

    Hey, bizarro question - Don’t suppose you know where your grandma was living at the time or where the Rainier Lumber Mill was located?  Just asking, because my grandpa’s uncle had a sawmill that he and Grandma met at, and my grandpa later had his own sawmill just down the street from their house.  Tough times back then - Grandma raised 4 boys while all living in a modified chicken coop.

    By Lanna on 2009 03 23

  6. Just hang in there, Leslie.  I think you’re much braver than you give yourself credit for.

    By Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com on 2009 03 23

  7. You know, L, 4 years ago I would have NEVER called myself a strong woman.  I never dreamed I had it in my to survive and come back from a stroke and then get my family through my baby girl’s cancer.  I’m not saying I did it right or that I even did it well…but we got through it.  And there’s nothing that you can’t dig deep and find the strength to do. It’s there, trust yourself.

    By Anissa@Hope4Peyton on 2009 03 23

  8. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing that. Hmmm… influential smile Wonderful, Mrs. F…

    By jennyonthespot on 2009 03 23

  9. Sticking together & rocking on thru life is what its all about babe.

    What an awesome story!.

    Rock on.

    By Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire on 2009 03 23

  10. oh how i loves you, lady.

    By Karen Sugarpants on 2009 03 23

  11. {pumps fist}

    By Alli on 2009 03 24

  12. How amazing that you have your Grandmother’s memoirs to go back to. I think we could all learn quite a bit from them!

    By Colleen - Mommy Always Wins on 2009 03 24

  13. Dawn’s comment cracks me UP!

    This is a great post.  I’ve been stressed and trying to be “solid” for my guy (despite some hormonal “issues” that make me want to cry / scream / sob / hit - just depends on the hour).

    My husband is a financial planner. Nuf said? Needless to say he is stressed, about us clearly but also about his clients who are terrified. As I listen to him and watch as he alters our planning, I get scared. He’s not optimistic, to put it gently.

    Good thing I trust him so completely. My post that is up right now is a scary one about the economy and I’ve been thinking all day what else to write to get it off the front page, but I’m still sitting here…

    By Amy@MilkBreath on 2009 03 25

  14. I often times think about the crapload of stuff my grandmother (and mother) had to deal with and that alone is reason enough to pretty much stop all my whining.

    Then, I’m like…they raised me and holy crap, and they had no internets…and I’m like, phew, glad I’m not them smile

    By Liz@thisfullhouse on 2009 03 26

  15. Ugh, the times they are tough. Having been through my own tough times in the past I am proud to say I made it through. And maybe now is an equally tough time, but perhaps I am stronger so I am weathering the storm better than I have in the past. I also love looking back at the tough times and paying tribute to the people who helped me through them. My tribe. It changes a bit over time, but there is always a tribe, and I truly believe they are there for a reason. We need them to help us through the tough times and they also need us. We are not ships alone at sea. This is what our tribes remind us.

    By fruitlady on 2009 03 26

  16. Wow, great post. I love how you mix the past with the present; love the retelling of your family’s story and a glimpse back in time.

    By Jenn Calling Home on 2009 03 28