This is my grandma. This picture is from a few years ago, but this is her. This is the woman that took four little kids and took care of us in what was probably the hardest year of our lives. We lived with her the year after our mom died, she had planned that we would be with her for three. She made room for us in her every day life. She bought us bunk beds, we learned how to swim in her backyard, she used to read at night.
I so love the woman that she was back then. She was so strong for all. I thought I'd list a few of my memories...
- The first time we visited her in Florida, Billy walked right in the house and yanked the chain on one of Grandpa Ralph's clocks that hung right by the door. Grandma took the fall for that one, and I wonder if he ever knew that Billy was the one that broke it.
- She used to make us eat all sorts of foods that I would never make my kids eat today. Mangoes, grapefruit to name a couple. I still can't eat grapefruit.
- When we got head lice, she stood in the sun for what must have been hours combing through our long hair with a little black comb because she refused to cut our hair off. I think she even washed my hair and Jen's with what could only have been motor oil to try to kill them all.
- I remember a story she read us about a great redwood tree, I have no idea how that has stuck with me all this time but it has.
- I remember walking to the grocery store for her, something I would never have my 10 year olds do now, but at 7 in the early 80s it must have been okay.
- The bunk beds that I remember as taking up almost all of the tiny room that Jen and Karen and I shared.
- I will always remember how much she loved my mom.
- Cornbread with syrup.
- The pool in the backyard that we learned to swim in.
- She used to yell at Uncle Frank for playing his music too loud in his car when we were with him.
In the last ten years or so, we had not seen her often, and the visits were always difficult for us. She was no longer the grandma that we remembered from our childhood. Her life wasn't easy after we left, and it was never the same for her.
She passed away in her sleep last night. I am very lucky to have had her in my life.