We have long written stories and profiles of real women; however, on January 15, 2013, we began an official series that we call, “Real Women.” Here you find the latest in this series, written by Bill Simpson, our friend and father to confidante and editor, Sara Martin. Please welcome Bill and savor his story of real women across three generations.
My entire life, I’ve been surrounded by amazing women, beautiful inside and out. I was raised by strong women, married a strong woman, and have three lovely, strong-minded daughters, followed by three remarkable granddaughters. Now, I have great-grandchildren: boys and girls, so I’m not quite so outnumbered anymore. But, I have been fortunate to find myself in this situation. These women have made me the man I am today.
The most important women in my life, past and present, are my grandmother (Roxie Mae pictured above), my mother (Evelyn pictured below), and my wife (Grace pictured at the bottom of this post).
My grandmother, Roxie Mae, was smart, strong, and independent and she made her way successfully through a long life. Sometimes her success was with her “man” and sometimes she found success in spite of him. She had the courage to be independent and express her opinions in a day when many women did not. My mother, Evelyn, was much like her mother. She was independent and strong, opinionated and open-hearted. She lived and loved fiercely.
My wife, Grace, may be the MOST important woman in my life. She had the courage to take on the work in progress that was me and helped me become a good man and a father. She has helped me to have a more openly loving personality and taught me that it is important to tell those that you love, “I love you.”
My favorite memory of Grace is of our first meeting. It was, for me, love at first sight. I had moved from Florida to Virginia to work at the shipyard. I needed an apartment and she was the apartment manager. Seeing her sitting behind the office desk, her hair pulled up in a bun, and that lovely face looking up at me – it is my blessing that I still get to see this woman every day. I love this smart, creative, hard-working, lovely, and fun loving girl that I met nearly 39 years ago.
Her strongest quality is her ability to love and show it to those whom she loves. Being there beside me as I go through life, this is how she makes me feel loved. She is infuriating and brave because she calls me out on my s***. I love that – it is one of my favorite things about her. I am not sure that I can find one word or phrase to describe her. That would be like trying to describe the universe with one word.
These women have all taught me that my success in life is directly related to my attitude, faith, and hard work and that “luck” comes from a combination of these elements. I think of my grandmother and my mother often. That my own children were able to know these women perhaps tells them a little bit more about me. I know that my wife, her love, and her strength have an impact upon our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I believe that the world will be better because of that.
P.S.: Thank you to Bill for sharing his stories on real women who make a difference.