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Allow me to introduce you:
Starting with the adorable little boy in the left forefront
and working our way around:
Crawford Hewell, Jr., who would grow up to be my daddy
Crawford Hewell, Sr., a.k.a. Granddaddy
The woman is Maude (Montie) Gay Hewell, a.k.a. Grandmother
And the chubby little baby she’s holding is the fella I’m named after:
my Uncle Gene

. . . . .

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When it was time to bury Juanita, her one-day old daughter,
she tied a knot and hung on.

When Edgar and Earl, her twin boys, were born dead,
she tied a knot and hung on.

When the tractor turned over, crushing and killing her 18 year old son Gene,
she tied a knot and hung on.
When her beloved granddaughter reached for the Zero candy bar kept in the back of the fridge,
she tied a knot and told her “No” for the first time
because that is the candy bar Gene was going to have for an afternoon snack
after he finished pulling up tree stumps with the tractor.
She kept it as her private memorial to him,
thinking of him every time she opened the fridge to get
eggs
or milk
or just to remember a spell.

When the bank robbers came and held her family hostage over night,
when they kidnapped her husband,
when they put a gun to her five-year old’s head,
when they drank their prohibition liquor and rebel-roused and threatened
her mother,
the midwife,
and her newborn baby boy,
she tied a knot and hung on.

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Meet Maude Gay Hewell,
My grandmother
and the first woman featured in my
Pink Galoshes Portraits of Irrepressible Women series.

. . . . .

This picture was taken in November 1933,
six months after the bank robbery and kidnapping.
As with all my Pink Galoshes Portraits, I’m also identifying how these women remained irrepressible in the face of devastation and hardship. For Grandmother, she had a loving family, and she loved her family. Plus it was 1933, right smack dab in the middle of The Great Depression, so she had no time to wallow and settle herself into the victim chair. She had babies to feed and a husband to love, so she pulled on her pink galoshes and tromped on through the mud and the muck to get to where she needed to go.

. . . . .

Pink Galoshes Portrait, Maude Gay Hewell
20.25″ x 16.25″
photo transferred onto fabric
pieces of a 1930s double wedding ring quilt somebody started but never finished
French knots (36 hours’ worth)
hand stitched

. . . . .

I’m penning 100 stories in 100 days, limbering up to (finally) write a book about that weekend in May 1933 when the bandits came knocking and held my family hostage, including my daddy who was five years old at the time. Had things gone horribly awry, I would not be sitting here today, penning these words – think about that for a minute. Kinda’ makes your head hurt, doesn’t it?

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And hey, if you are or know any Pink Galoshes Women,
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