Archive for March 22, 2015



The Scriptorium Daily.


Dar49 Daily.


MaudeMaude by Donna Mabry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book made me miss my grandmothers, so much! They were born a little while after the turn of the century (1900) so they shared many memories similar to Maude’s. I remember those lucky times when we grandkids got to spend the night or weekend with our grandparent’s sans parents or other grandkids. Those are such grand memories! And yes, we slept in the same bed as grandma. At least the girl cousins did. I don’t know where the boy cousins slept. I don’t remember too many stories shared after bedtime. I remember one grandmother’s bed was feather soft and you felt like you were sleeping in a cloud. Most of the stories seemed to come out during the days while grandma cooked, cleaned, or did the laundry. My younger cousins possibly don’t remember the wringer washing machine. But I always felt quite privileged to be able to help with that. The constant warning of keeping hands free of the wringer… that thing scared me! Helping hang clothes to dry, or folding clothes. Even drying dishes with grandmas became such an honor!

The stories of the depression and how it affected both maternal and paternal families. How it brought those families to California. How spunk and hard work kept the families alive and sometimes thriving. In Maude’s story, the depression is only a part of it. My grandmothers didn’t share sexual or birthing stories with me. I bet they were very similar to Maude’s. Going from the words of wisdom handed to her when she married at 15 to do whatever her husband asked of her, to stories of giving birth at home and then the more dangerous, giving birth in the hospital. Since that generation didn’t talk about sexual matters much, it led to many misunderstandings, often dangerously so. Grandmothers and other women of age have told me that they didn’t know what the bleeding meant that happened around the time they turned 12 or 13, not to mention the things their husbands expected from them. And certainly, women were meant to be seen, servicing the male, and not be heard. A woman’s needs were seldom known much less met. Especially the good Christian women. But because Maude shared this with her granddaughter, Donna Mabry, and Donna shared it with the rest of us, maybe our younger ‘sisters’ will see how far we’ve come and possibly see how much further our march for equality needs to go.

Granted, there is a lot of talk about church, God, and prayer, but it isn’t there to be preachy or to proselytize, merely, it is a part of Maude’s reality. I felt it kept the story real. I wasn’t offended as it felt very much like being with my own Grandmothers.

I started to feel like the story lasted too long. Silly, huh? But I think that happened because, in so many ways, her life, especially towards the end, was miserable. She was left with so much responsibility because very few stepped up to do their part of the work. The older she got the more depressed it made me. Of course, this is in no part due to the writing. This was a fact of Maude’s life. Hopefully, by sharing this book and reading it, you can help change the lives of women from now on. Maude finally found her voice, but too late, I fear. Maybe the rest of us can learn from her. Thank you, Donna Mabry, for sharing your grandmother with us!

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