International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day it seems fitting for me to celebrate my two grandmothers. Both faced steep challenges with grace and courage.

My grandmother with my father as an infant on her lapAnna Ayers Williams, my dad’s mother, was a suffragette in the early 1900s who worked for a time at Hull House in Chicago. She married a widower nearly twice her age, who had come to this country as a young coal miner from Wales and eventually became a Baptist minister in small Midwestern towns. He died when my father was six. She became a teacher in one-room schools in small Iowa towns where she and my father often lived with the families of her students.

She lived with us before her death when I was six and taught me to read, among many other things. I was named for her.

Eva Graham Law, Esther Law Williams, and Anne Williams c. 1975


Eva Graham Law was my mother’s mother. She too was widowed at a young age when her husband fell from the roof of a barn in Nebraska that he was helping a neighbor build. She had children aged one, three (my mother), five, and seven. To support her family she moved home to Des Moines where she ran a boarding house while working full-time as a clerk in a title company. She too lived with us for many years after she retired.

Both of my grandmother’s always managed to find enough money to help the “poor”.

2 thoughts on “International Women’s Day

  1. Sandy Law Gapinski says:

    Hi ,
    Remembered that I had your website and just read about Grandma Law while I was looking for imfo about Aunt Esther. Marilyn told me that you had called her but not for a couple of days since she thought that yo were calling me too.

    So sorry to hear about your mother. She and your dad were great fun. So many things that I learned about while we llived across the street from them. One of which was the care and healthy feeding of a husband. Since we were in our thirties, I made mental notes of her lowsalt and healthy recipes, but unwisely, did not impliment until we were in our fifties when it dawned on me that we might live a little longer if we made some life changes. Esther was my inspiration. Her sense of humor and absent minded antics (yes , we are aware of how brilient she really was), have often been the topic of family dinner conversations. Two personal favorites, “Oops I am at the wrong funeral, but I will stay anyway” and of course, your father’s story about her forgetting to turn on the oven for the Thanksgiving Turkey. They were so gracious, they even invited Dave and me to stay with them in SunCity. We will always remember the good times shared. We are sorry that she had to leave , but boy, heaven will be more fun with her there.
    If you ever want a place to stay out East ,you and Gordan , Craig and Mary Ann have an open invitation to our home. We would love to see you.
    Dave and Sandy

    • Anne Dunham says:

      Hi Sandy,

      I got you number from Marilyn and have tried to call twice but have not gotten an answer, so I am glad Marilyn called you. Thanks for your kind words about Mother. She was ready to go and told us she was going “to fly out of here.” We all will miss her but are happy she had such a long and happy life. We both have been lucky to have such wonderful parents and grandmothers who were with us for so long.

      Love, Anne

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