Today there is so much talk about strong women and I hear the phrase “the future is female.” Great! I have two beautiful Daughters and Granddaughters and I want the absolute best for them and as many opportunities as possible. 

Let’s give credit to the women who have come before us and laid the pathway. These Grand Ladies who in their own way were Trail Blazers. 

I was supremely blessed to have two incredible trailblazers as my Grandmothers!! These two women  loved me unconditionally and showed up for me in every way possible! They left a legacy  for me to live up to now that I am a Grandmother. What a blessing my Grandmothers were to me…I think of  them most everyday. 

Meet Tecla Helen!!!

Tecla Helen as a little girl

My Maternal Grandmother was a young socialite born in 1899. She was the oldest girl in a large family. She worked in the family businesses and planned the menus and did the purchasing for the restaurants/taverns they owned.

Tecla Helen’s First Communion portrait.

Tecla Helen did not marry my Grandfather until she was 29, apparently she was having too much fun!! Finally, she relented, and my Grandparents were married for 58 years until she passed away at 88. 

Sepia image of Tecla Helen as a young lady in a flapper outfit.
Tecla Helen in her flapper days in Wisconsin.
Sepia photo of a flapper party from December 15, 1924.
Tecla Helen at a “Hard Times Party” — December 15, 1924

My relationship with Tecla Helen was always very close. She had a quick wit and a great sense of humor. She always had a drawer with coloring books, and the sixty- four box of crayons with the sharpener. 

Sepia image of Tecla Helen on her wedding day.
Tecla Helen’s wedding portrait with my grandfather.

My favorite thing was to go through her jewelry box! Oh the treasures!! Beautiful jewels and she let me try it all on over and over again!! Her home was like a treasure hunt as she hid money all over the house, only I knew where it all was hidden. I think she hid the money due to living through the Great Depression, but also because her granddaughter loved the treasure hunt!! 

Tecla was an expert seamstress and made me so many beautiful clothes and doll clothes! She had drawers full of neatly folded textiles all just waiting to be made into something marvelous. She crocheted, knitted, did needlepoint and made Christmas ornaments and tree skirts for the entire family. 

She was up at 5:00 a.m. baking fresh bread, pies and assorted goodies. 

Tecla began her Christmas baking preparation in October. She made a fruitcake that family and friends would beg for come Christmas!! There would be letter writing, visits and phone call campaigns to make sure you received either a fruitcake or a gorgeous tin full of the most beautiful and delicious cookies!!

Black and white image of Tecla Helen holding baby Bunny
Tecla Helen holding baby Bunny in Houston.

Beds were made by 7:00 a.m., so you best not be in it, lest you be scolded. She ran her home like a business with great precision and planning. 

Tecla knew how to have fun too. We spent hours playing games and cards together. She was a sharp poker player and it was very difficult to beat her at Gin Rummy.

Tecla had strong opinions and was not afraid to express her views to anyone. My Grandparents and Uncle owned a Christmas Decor Manufacturing company in Houston. She knew every aspect of the business and I am sure provided many ideas. The Christmas decorations were made for small towns and large cities all across out Country! This was a very exciting place to visit as a child. Yes all these things used to be made right here in the Good old USA!??

I learned so many things from my this strong woman who lived through the great depression, two world wars, blizzards, hurricanes, and family tragedies. It all of course made her stronger. Her faith in God gave her the strength to get through it all! She had a prayer list and her rosary in a drawer next to her bed. Another rosary in her each of her handbags. 

Her memory sets a high bar!  I think constantly how to be a Grandmother who leaves a legacy of love, warmth, joy, teaching, giving, setting a strong example of living a life of faith in God and a positive can- do attitude!!

We are blessed to stand on the shoulders of the strong women who came before and so we should!!

I cannot wait for you to meet my Paternal Grandmother Mary Francis!!


  1. Jamie on February 20, 2021 at 5:57 am

    Oh Bunny, what a rich history you have. She sounds as if she would be the lead character in a perfect made for TV movie! Can’t wait to hear about your other grandmother. It is a joy the be able to watch and participate in the lives of our grandchildren! Love these old pics… so special.

    • Bunny Bradley on February 22, 2021 at 4:54 am

      Thank you so much!! She was a wonderful lady and such a blessing to me in so many ways. My mind is full of warm memories that I get to remember over and over again . Isn’t this how we keep our loved ones with us in their stories ?
      Thank you for letting me share!!?❤️