Home » dverse » Resiliency, Thy Name is Noëlla

Resiliency, Thy Name is Noëlla

It was prosery (144 words max, not including the title and no poetry allowed) Monday yesterday for dVerse. I’m late but hey, c’est la vie, I say… Lisa at Tao-Talk is hosting and went down a rabbit hole that started with Alice Walker and her interest in Zora Neale Hurston.  So, Lisa landed on the following quote, which we must use:

No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.

                                      ~Zora Neale Hurston, from “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me” in World Tomorrow (1928).

Reading that phrase immediately brought to mind my grandmother, who was also my godmother, and to whom I have been compared (it thrills me).  No, she never used this phrase but its essence is definitely Noëlla to me.

You were my hero from the moment I was old enough to understand the stories. How you were the eldest of fifteen children and had you a choice, would have had none of your own – yet birthed seven.  How you lived in lumberjack shacks where the sun shone through the cracks and the water froze in the kettle overnight. How you had the strength to leave your alcoholic husband to raise your kids on your own – and were judged for it by the Nuns who taught your kids.  How you survived the death of all three of your sons over the years.  How you became a businesswoman, despite a grade-three education.

“No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”

I know you were saying it’s up to you to make or break your life.

87 thoughts on “Resiliency, Thy Name is Noëlla

  1. Fantastic and touching and inspiring, Dale. Here’s to strong women, against all odd, being themselves in the ways they can manage, and showing us the way. Thank you for sharing your grandmother/godmother with us! xx Na’ama

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  2. Such a lovely tribute, Dale! She sounds like a remarkable woman, and your love and admiration shines through.
    This stood out:
    “How you were the eldest of fifteen children and had you a choice, would have had none of your own – yet birthed seven. ”
    It sounds like a horrible situation, and I’m glad she was able to get out of it eventually.

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  3. Wow, she sounds like such a strong woman, and your words are a fitting tribute! ‘had you a choice, would have had none of your own – yet birthed seven’ – this sounds like my grandma. Times were really tough for women back then.

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    • She was, Ingrid. Lemme tell you, had the pill existed… 😉 They didn’t have many options back then, that’s for sure. Plus in the little villages, the priests had way too much say over what you could and couldn’t do!

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  4. It’s amazing what our grandmas did to survive in the days when surviving and managing as single women seem like it would be much more difficult than today. But then maybe it wasn’t. Still your grandmother was quite a woman.

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    • She was way before her time, lemme tell you. And there was nothing to stop her from getting where she was going. It took great courage to step away from her husband and go it alone rather than put up with his drinking away their funds.

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  5. Dale, first off, I adore that picture of you and Grandma Noella. You look adorable and she has the look of quiet strength in her eyes. When I hear how she prevailed through so many things that would have cast a weaker person down, instead she rose to be a shining role model to her dear granddaughter, Dale, and I’m sure many others. So happy you chose to write about her today ❤

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  6. This is so beautifully moving! Such a lovely lady, and you are beautiful! This did touch me as I was raised in part by my Grandma who took me on after bringing up six of her own. She was the epitome of love but did not stand for misbehaving. “). I’m so glad you have these memories Dale. Thank you for sharing this. ❤

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  7. Q

    What a beautiful way to use this challenge, as a tribute to a woman whose heart and soul you can always hold to in times that would otherwise make you doubt yourself. Her strength in the face all odds is remarkable, and it says everything about her resiliency that she did what was considered taboo at the time- leave. It was the selfless thing, the right thing to do. And then she proved herself on her own, and that is how a pearl gets born.


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    • Hmmm. Interesting. And I love it For years I was my mother’s daughter and at some point things seemed to switch and I became allowed my father’s!


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