Phenomenal Woman

harold and grace crouch with children martin and kathleen
Harold and Grace Crouch CA 1951

The prompt for writers group was: “Bring to mind a phenomenal woman in your life and what made her unique. Write a story in her honor.” This is what I wrote:

She was a stunning brunette with brown eyes and a slender young-woman physique. She loved physical activity: basketball, swimming, golf, walking, and hiking in beautiful surroundings. She appreciated beauty, not just natural beauty, but also finely designed and crafted personal objects, art and music.

These attributes were surprising, given that Grace came of age on the high plains of Western Kansas.

Had I been a young man in that place and time, my heart would have leaped from my chest when I caught sight of her on the dusty streets of Leoti. That role was left to my father, the lanky, bashful, earnest and hard-working young man, who was 4 years her senior. It was reported that Father made a trip to the Post Office every weekday just to buy another stamp and steal a moment with Grace.

Unlike most rural young women of that time, Grace went to college and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in home economics. Having training in diet and nutrition, she qualified for a direct commission in the Womens Army Corps, where her tour of duty included hospitals in the South Pacific Saipan and Denver Colorado.

Born in 1947, I was her first. She was a talented mother, who molded and civilized my childish willfulness with encouragement rather than punishment. She taught me empathy rather than aggression, inspired me to do music, literature, and crafts  in addition to going outside to play. This, despite having four children, a demanding husband and a farm-wife’s role.

My experience allows no direct comparison; I had only one mother. Nevertheless, I will always see Grace as a remarkable woman for her strength of character and ability to do the mothering role with exceptional intuition and ability.