CINDERELLA , CINDERELLA (A LEGACY STORY)
It seems so long ago now, but it isn’t really. I have always loved the story of Cinderella. It gave me hope as a child that one could move on, above the seemingly allotted life, even if you were poor. The idea of the glass slipper was so unique it made me feel the shoe’s beauty represented the individual beauty each of us possesses and can be identified by.
My grandmother, Rhoda Marrs, was a really pretty lady who felt keeping herself in her A-1 presentation mode at all times was part of being a real “lady”. During the depression she made her own cosmetics out of available grains and vegetables. When she could afford cosmetics, she used them religiously not to color herself up, but to retain her porcelain-like skin. This despite working in the cotton fields and other outdoor farming tasks. When she did pass away, she had few wrinkles and could be proud of her young skin and appearance. Soap had never touched her face.
There was “one little hitch in her get-along “of life. She had some problems with balance at one point and she adamantly refused to use a cane or walker because it made her look “old”. And god help the person who would ever try to point out to her that she was old.
It was at this point that I felt inspired and decided to overcome her objections by getting her a very unique cane. I believed that this would motivate her to become more active and I would present it as a fashion accessory. I think I may have over sold the product, but it is absolutely the truth when I tell you the lengths to which she became attached to that cane.
First, it took a lot of shopping and a lot of thinking on how to sell her on the cane I had selected. I went into a rather upscale store and they had a selection of canes that were truly impressive and very beautiful, including some very ornate canes. But there in the display was the instantaneous choice that I knew would fill the bill. It was a clear cane that looked like glass, but was a special rosin-plastic mixture. I didn’t even look at the price, I just grabbed it and said, “Wrap it special and make it look expensive”.
When I gave her the cane, I first told her I had a gift that would make her as special as Cinderella. I knew she was feeling discarded and old, and she wouldn’t go out because she had to use the cane. I told her that her “fairy god mother” ordained her to have this. (Now bear in mind she was not senile, we just had this kind of relationship”). When she unwrapped it I made a big deal about it being her “glass slipper cane” and showed her that no matter what she wore, it would never clash as it went with everything. It would be a conversation piece, no doubt. And that proved to be a more prophetic saying than I could have imagined.
My grandmother took Cinderella everywhere and people always commented on “her” and my grandmother would tell them the story of how she came to have Cinderella. Ahh, life was good and grandma was safe until that fateful day on the road.
Living with my Aunt and Uncle, Johney and Mary Marrs, my grandmother was able to enjoy some traveling. As a widow she had given up driving long before, so it was a good match. They all traveled in a relaxed fashion and often would stop and picnic along the way. On this particular day, they had stopped at a shady rest area and had a picnic before going on their way. It was about an hour later when it occurred to her she’d left Cinderella on the bench of the picnic table. Bless my uncle Johney Marrs heart, he drove all the way back, but alas, Cinderella had disappeared.
My grandmother was inconsolable and they finally called to tell me what had happened. I brashly swore to get her another and the next day went out to the store where I had purchased the original. Sadly they no longer carried them but would give me the manufactures name and information. I set out to find one, but they informed me, they no longer made that kind. There were none to be had.
I was so sad. And although they couldn’t help me, I recounted the story of Cinderella and my grandmother’s devotion to her. I put off letting my aunt and grandma know there was no cane to be had. I planned to use what time I had, to find another unique cane. I could create another persona that would intrigue Grandma.
I kept looking but nothing was “that” unique or would really suit her . I was about to give up when I got a call. The company was so touched by the story of Cinderella that they had sent out a contact message nationally for anyone with any knowledge of a used or similar one. At the last moment, one provider in Canada contacted them and said they had shipped one to New York just a few months before. They gave them the name of the store, and lo and behold, Cinderella 2 was located. I paid them and they sent it directly to my Grandmother in Texas.
To say the reunion was a success is an understatement. My Aunt told me it was a wonderful thing to see them “back together” and grandma now had another story to tell about Cinderella which allowed her to bend someone’s ear even longer.
As for me, it was the one thing I wanted when Grandma passed on. It is hanging here in my Victorian bedroom looking a little forlorn. I have decided that next month when I go to New York City to see The Color Purple on Broadway, I will be accompanied on the plane and in the theatre by Cinderella. I have now reached the age grandma was when I gave her the original Cinderella cane. While I won’t be quite as dependent on it as she was, it’s about the “ascetics” don’t you know.
I only hope I don’t lose Cinderella as I would like to pass her on and continue the legacy of the “Senior Citizen’s Glass Slipper”
AUTHOR’S NOTE; UPDATE. Cinderella is still on my wall. She did make it to New York City to see The Color Purple and was used by my BFF Dr. Ida Johnson who was recovering from hip surgery. She almost was lost on a bus, but fortunately recovered. She is a most treasured expectation of inheritance by my grandson Jared who has fancied her since he was a small boy and now is about to finish high school. Life is good if you are Cinderella and still as beautiful as ever, and occasionally used by the author who now must depend on canes.
Joyce Godwin Grubbs *Author Daughter Trula Dee Ann
Grandmother Rhoda Marrs Marguerite Marrs Godwin Smith
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