Too long have the skeletons of women heroes who as warriors fought against the Great Depressions in the trenches of quietly suffering American homes been carelessly hidden and long forgotten. History of the 1930’s has been unkind taking a pass exposing despairing details and day to day stories of: humiliating unemployment, failed businesses, mortgage foreclosures, suicides, starvation, grieving widows struggling through hard times when no escape offers relief, no one arrives to save the day.
My maternal grandmother, a Swedish immigrant was my hero. A hero is someone who qualifies, according to Joseph Campbell, “as one who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Her gritty heroic valor in standing up against unchartered territory of America’s Great Depression provided her children a way through a shipwreck situation. Armed with a determined mindset she took control fighting back against logjam tangled obstacles that got in their way. Maja had unwavering faith to find ways to achieve what she had set out to do. It has taken the best part of a lifetime to dissect and analyze the essence of grit she called upon to carry the day.
Maja had to dig deep to engineer a pathway out of despair. Maja claimed her very intentional Swedish upbringing meant she was trained and empowered by her ancestors to do whatever it might take to stand with the family historical tradition conquering the toughest challenges with no room for complaining. Armed with an inner intuition to use intelligent problem solving skills coupled with a stubborn attitude was the starting point for every major decision she was forced to make to get back on her feet after being knocked down when her husband ‘s business failed and when he fell over from a fatal heart attack. While “imperfect” in some ways, her weaknesses exposed in falling down on the way to final victory reveals a very prevalent human vulnerability that even when the most powerful grit and gumption fails when pushed beyond one’s limits, there is more to be gained in the end.