The real pull was Ursula. She is Elle's last great-grand standing and she wasn't going to join us in Ireland at nearly 91. It's not that she's frail but, by her own admission, her traveling days are nearly over. In the 14 years I've known her though she's taken herself to Chile, including Easter Island. She's cruised through the waterways of Russia and her final big sojourn was following the Silk Road to Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan. I'm blanking on what "stans" she was in but at 85 they're all pretty impressive travel if you asked me.
For the record, she has the most beautiful garden I have ever seen. Ellie calls it nothing short of magical. Then off to Grandpa's where Ursula lives on the "grounds" (really just a big yard) in the deconsecrated chapel.
|Tiniest bit of the magical garden|
Ursula is a man's woman much like my grandma Kate was. They were only children, difficult childhoods and extremely bright. However, they never saw themselves equal to men despite their own many accomplishments. Instead, these women idolized the intelligence of the men in their lives, admired what they perceived to be an overall masculine superiority in the world without even realizing their footing was more equal than not. They undermined their own strength and skills by not recognizing this. They shuddered at women who sought to reach the same heights as men academically, politically, intellectually. Well, Ursula more than Kate I reckon but still, the point is while Kate expertly played the male-dominated game of chess, Ursula became a WREN and lied about knowing how to cook in her interview though she was quite proficient at it thanks to "finishing school". She thought she'd be damned if she joined the War effort just to be somebody's cook.
We made the crossing because we didn't know when we'd see Ursula again. It was bittersweet to speculate what we thought our futures would bring and when we may see each other again. Sadly, Ursula is struggling with her memory so the conversation was had more than once. But for Ellie's own memories it was lovely to let these two generations spend time together and for the older one to finally see the brilliance of a young girl.