This is the Grandma who stayed with our family for a week about five years ago and helped me chop vegetables for salsa and tomato sauce. This is the Grandma whose recipes (potato salad, funny cake, pickled Easter eggs, cobbler, etc.) appear in my cookbook. This is the Grandma who encouraged me to start a canning journal years ago (and gave me hers). This is the Grandma who celebrated 71 of marriage to the handsome young man above just last month.
My cousin and I shared some memories of her on behalf of the grandchildren at her memorial service this past weekend. I share these here, now, to preserve them and celebrate her.
To us, she was Grandma.
With 12 grandchildren you can imagine the memories are plentiful- some uniquely personal, many shared. All come together like a patchwork quilt, creating a beautiful, warm and loving memory just like the beautiful, warm and loving Grandma she was.
When we think of Grandma, we think about...
Sledding in the backyard in winter and yellow daffodils blooming at the edge of their woods in the spring.
The path leading from their house to ours- some of us memorized every tree root, others sped up and down it on bikes.
Eating at their booth table- the coolest table ever.
White Lake, Sarasota, the hunting cabin.
Grandma reading The Fly Went By and other books, using professional caliber voices that made the stories Grandma's and not the authors'.
Her infinite interest in our lives which always made us feel important and special.
Grandma cutting the boys (and mens') hair on the back porch.
Picking raspberries and blueberries with her wearing her bucket around her neck for easier picking, cracking black walnuts on the back porch and putting up corn.
Her singing “Here we go, here we go, here we go, here we go, here we go, here we go, here we GO GO GO!” in the car. (the family in the audience helped us sing two rounds of this)
Her ability to send birthday cards that always arrived on your actual birthday.
Her sense of humor, warm smile and her beautiful little chuckle that, if you were lucky, turned into a belly laugh.
The way she selected her “pretty things”, including prints she framed, to pass on to her grandchildren. She would have us in mind when she would choose something, or let us choose something out of her cabinets that reminded us of her. We know it gave her pleasure to know who received which piece, and we will cherish these items and the stories behind them.
Playing and exploring in their basement- full of costumes, old furniture, keepsakes, canning jars, and treasures.
Christmas Eve supper at her and Grandpa's house- her table set complete with pressed table cloth and the prettiest plates, glasses and dishes any of us had ever seen. Singing grace together, eating our special meal and then all piling into cars and vans to head to Christmas Eve service right here.
Christmas cookie trays, key lime pie, dyed and pickled eggs at Easter. And we'll never forget her (and her sons') love for having “souse” at Christmastime and spicy foods any time. Snacks, like sugar-toast and oatmeal cookies with icing. If we said, “No, I'm alright,” when she offered us a snack, she would say, “Well, I know you're alright, but would you like some?”
Sitting in the pew in front of her and Grandpa at church and hearing their wonderful singing voices.
Recent memories include,
Putting her hair in rollers when she moved to the home,
Eating at the cafe there with her and having SO many of her friends stop by during dinner to say hello.
Watching her teach her great grandson Rummikub this Christmas.
Her BEAUTIFUL white hair, delicate fingers, and beaded necklaces.
We will remember the joy she expressed about the cousins and family getting together. The importance of family is a value she has instilled in us as well.
We are all so blessed to have grown up with our Grandma- from babies to children to teenagers to young adults, to not-so-young-anymore adults- she was always there. Because she was in our lives for so long, she will be missed so very much. We all look forward to being reunited with her one day, always our Grandma.
At a granddaughter's recent wedding