Redefine Beauty May: Marilyn Drum

This month, I’d like to introduce my lovely grandmother, Marilyn Drum.

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Marilyn is a remarkable human being. She is a role model and the funnest to be around. Since I was a little girl she was known to me as Grammy. I can remember watching princess movies like Mulan and The Swan Princess with her for hours and hours when I got to stay with her. I even remember going to her house on Sundays after church (a family tradition we still have to this day) and I would help her make her famous sweet tea. When I think of a truly beautiful person, I think of my grandmother.

Left photo: My great-grandmother with her two daughters, Marilyn (the oldest) and Judy. Right photo: Marilyn and her younger brother.

Born in the mid 1930s, Marilyn grew up not having a lot. It was during the end of the Great Depression, and by the time she was 3, World War II had begun. She recalls of how they had to ration everything from food and gas to shoes. Because of this, my grandmother always makes sure that we are taken care of. Marilyn worries constantly about everyone and everything, because that’s just the type of person she is. She cares so much for every single person, that she sometimes worries herself sick!

As a little girl, Marilyn loved to roller skate. When she was just 3 or 4 years old, she learned to skate and can even recall skating in her house. What I found the most interesting was that her grandparents (my great great grandparents) were Waldensians who came to America from Italy and settled in Valdese, NC. You can really learn a lot about your own family history by talking to your grandparents.

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(From left to right) My grandfather, Perry; my aunt, Perri Jeanne; my goofy father Barney; and my gorgeous grandmother, Marilyn.

As far as work goes, Marilyn was a teacher assistant for several years. Eventually, she and a friend opened up their own store called Foothills Shoes in Granite Falls, NC where they sold a wide variety of things. But sadly, it was not meant to be. They were eventually forced to close down the store, due to lack of money. Marilyn spent the remainder of her working days as a secretary for William Lenoir Middle School before retiring.

Now, she spends her days reading novels by authors such as Sue Grafton, Sidney Sheldon, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, and Sandra Brown, working out at Quest, volunteering at church, and spending time with her five grand-kids.

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Believe it or not, when I first approached my lovely grandmother to write this article on her, she originally said no. As hard as it is to believe, Marilyn is extremely self-conscious. She told me to pick someone else. I was baffled at the lack of confidence that such an incredibly gorgeous woman, such as herself, had. Through the eyes of everyone who knows my grandmother, they all say the same thing. That she looks so young and beautiful for her age. Marilyn has such grace, such poise. It saddens me that she doesn’t see her own beauty. She is her own worst critic, but she is not blind to that fact.

Marilyn knows she worries too much and is extremely self-conscious. In fact, that is what she told me she likes least about herself. Of course that was after she told me she doesn’t like her, quote: “cow hips” or how her feet are so narrow that it’s hard to find a shoe that fits right. “You have no self confidence.” I told her. “I know,” she replied, “and that’s another thing.”

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When I asked her what her favorite thing about herself was, she said “Nothing.” Which just isn’t true. There are so many qualities in her to chose from. So I will tell you what my favorite thing about my grandmother is. She is kind, loving, and always there for you when you need her. If you need anything, anything at all, she will drop everything to be there for you. She will never let you down. Her heart is so big and she cares so much that she worries constantly about everyone and everything. Her sense of humor is uncanny and her sense of style is far more superior than anyone else her age. “I don’t want to dress like a grandma.” she told me when we were shopping the other day at Belk’s. Give her any article of clothing and she’ll know exactly how to wash it properly. Marilyn knows how to keep any fabric to it’s full potential. But what I love the most about my grandmother is something as simple as the fact that she loves me just as much as I love her (and that’s a whole lot).

Marilyn’s definition of beauty:

I believe beauty is within. Beautiful people have a sense of humor, kindness toward others, and a positive outlook on life.”

-Marilyn Drum

So how is my grandmother redefining beauty?

She knows she’s not perfect, but she also knows it’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes. Even though she lacks self confidence, Marilyn is a truly beautiful person inside and out with a heart of gold. I look up to my grandmother and hold her in the highest of standards as someone who is truly an extraordinary human being.

I love you, Grammy. Don’t you ever forget how beautiful you are.

xoxo,

-M

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