Who Is That Strong Woman?
My Grandma was the central figure of my childhood. She was my rock.
I moved in with her to look after her when I was fourteen and lived with her until I graduated from college. Living with Grandma and getting to observe her life every day was one of the greatest gifts God ever gave me.
I’ve been told that through my teenage years I had an unusual self-awareness and understanding about situations. It’s because of Grandma. Observing the way she lived her life, the way she loved and cared for people, the way she responded to difficulty and disappointment…it all affected me deeply.
Grandma’s life wasn’t easy. She faced challenges that could have drained the life out of anyone. But she lived with grace and strength and a resolve to make a difference in the lives of her family and friends. I tried to capture her character and the difficulty and beauty of her life in a poem I wrote about her.
That has had many titles?
To her employers, she was a housekeeper,
But for her family, she was a doctor, chef, counselor,
That lived in a house infested with rats and roaches,
That alone raised eight children, eighteen
She has generated a nurse, truck driver, clinical therapist,
That was forced to be a tough woman at a young age?
In fact, she was told that she would continually
The next day, she fought back by ramming
That would go to the ends of the Earth for her family?
She would walk alone miles in the dark to work.
When she couldn’t, she would fall on her knees and pray,
watched over all of her kids
Who is that strong woman?
Who has only cried three times in twenty-nine years?
That is slowly approaching eighty years of age,
that much love for people?
Who is that strong woman?
Who walks gracefully and without fear,
But has the power to discipline you with a simple stare?
a grandson who almost burned the house down,
There was nothing they wouldn’t do for their families.
Tell them that you love them and how much you care,
The lowest point in my life was when Grandma died. Even now, I take comfort in her wonderful legacy of love and wisdom.
Many of the lessons I share in Welfare Cheese to Fine Caviar are lessons I learned from Grandma…lessons I want to instill in my two young sons.- Treat everyone with respect and love.
- When things in your life aren’t going well, don’t look for someone to blame. Create your own future.
- Treasure your family and friends.
- Never let life be just about you.
The best way to honor our loved ones and their memories is to live our best life and help others do the same.
Invest in someone’s life change.
I hope you’ll read Welfare Cheese to Fine Caviar and share it with a young person who needs a way forward! Maybe a high school student in challenging life circumstances. A young adult with decisions to make but no strong support system. A thirty-something who can’t seem to find their way.
Grab the FREE Companion Guide for them!
I’d love to hear about your connections to young people who could benefit from hearing my story. You can contact me here.
Together, we can improve society one person at a time!
What readers are saying!
“I was immediately intrigued by the title of this book, and upon reading it, I was drawn in by the author's ability to be completely transparent with his readers. Indeed, a truly refreshing read that will resonate with all audiences. Treat yourself!!” -Tiffany Mount
“This was definitely an eye-opening real-life experience book that will enable you to gain wisdom both professionally and personally. I could not not put this book down. Awesome book!” -Randy Wilde
“Unlike other self-help books, this one doesn't try to sell you a silver bullet. There's no magic elixir or fairy godmother who'll help you achieve your dreams. It's hard work, but Wideman shows you how you can do it by giving examples of how he achieved his goals despite the challenges he faced. A worthy read!” -Ryan
Featured in Kirkus Reviews
As its title implies, this is a rags-to-riches tale. Raised in a poor household with three brothers, (Wideman) worked hard to get an education and succeed in the business world: “my life has come full circle from the cross-eyed little boy who grew up in the projects of Greenville, South Carolina to the successful family man living in Metro Atlanta,” he writes. This book is an account of that journey, complete with lessons he learned along the way. He shares stories of getting in fights with kids in his apartment complex and committing acts of petty theft with buddies. It was after a rumble with a former friend that Wideman decided he wanted a different sort of life when he grew up—away from the violence and stress of his old neighborhood.
Wideman achieved the American dream the old-fashioned way, and plenty of his readers will want to follow in his footsteps.