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A Year Already
Here we are at the one-year mark since my grandma’s passing. You know how it is after you lose someone you are so close to; the time goes so slow but somehow extremely fast at the same time. My grandma played an important role in my upbringing, and if you’ve followed my writing for very long, I’m sure you have seen several posts about her. With the anniversary of her passing, but also what would have been her 82nd birthday coming up next week, I want to shed a light on who grandma really was by writing this tribute.
Born on December 10, 1937, grandma was part of a very large family having 12 other brothers and sisters. She used to tell me how hard it was with her parents having so many children and just coming out of the time of the Great Depression. My mom laid out a collection of papers for me to read from grandma’s siblings written several years ago, accounting memories from their childhood of each other.
It was fascinating!
Grandma was mostly remembered by her siblings as the reader, whether reading to pass the time or stories to her younger siblings. Reading was and always has been her favorite thing to do, I believe books were a great escape for her.
Despite grandma’s completion of only up to the 8th grade, she was an avid reader and very articulate. She could spell anything and taught me how to spell Camphophenique at a young age.
Playing a Big Role
Actually, not only did grandma teach me to spell anything under the sun at an early age, helping me to always excel at school; she was the one to teach me to whistle, tie my shoes, and ride a bike without training wheels by kindergarten.
Grandma’s specialty was kids! She loved babies and kids and they loved her. She helped raise many siblings, her kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, and related and understood them. Her family meant everything to her and she never turned down anybody for babysitting or helping in any way she could.
She Hated Cars
At only 18 years old, she married my grandpa in 1955. They had three children, with my mom being the youngest of two older brothers.
All these years my grandma never drove, she had no desire to. She hated cars and was even a nervous passenger. She was fine letting my grandpa take her anywhere she needed to go. But after 32 years of marriage, in 1987 my grandpa passed away leaving my grandma on her own and a widow at the age of 50.
After that my grandma was forced to bite the bullet. She got her driver’s license and a car to help get her around the short distances she needed to go. During that time grandma even got her very first job outside the home at a local factory close to her house. Neither lasted very long though when she was involved in a terrible accident while my uncle was driving her and my cousins one day. Grandma was hospitalized for a long time and nearly lost her life. Needless to say, she was done with driving and never returned to work.
To me, it never mattered if grandma drove or not. The highlight of most of my childhood was getting to spend the summers with grandma. Back to the place where I started out in this life and the place that felt the most like home to me, about an hour away from where I lived growing up. I have incredible memories of summers at grandmas. Taking a taxi to the store to buy “Kid Cuisine’s”, frozen pizza, and stuff to make cookies! Of course, grandma let us grandkids eat all the good junk. Grandma always had library books to take back so we would walk the 2 blocks down to the library and hang out there for a while.
As we got older, she would let us stay up late to watch Saturday Night Live and we would laugh and laugh until we couldn’t breathe. Grandma loved to laugh! She often made up her own sayings, expressions, and words, enough to have us rolling on the floor.
Me and Grans
She LOVED People magazines and practically never missed an issue. She kept up with all the celebs and royals and could fill you in on all the latest celebrity events as well as which one of Brittany Spears’ sons was the most handsome. As a teenager, this made grandma very relatable to me and my cousins. She was my main supplier when I coated the walls of my bedroom in magazine pictures of all my favorite celebs.
But it wasn’t just grandma’s love for the stars that we had in common, we could talk for hours. With the tv off, on the porch swing or wherever we would have conversations. She was my confidant, both of us going back and forth listening to each other. Talking and catching up, we were always able to relate to each other. Leaving both of us with a great bond and a sense of peace by the time our visit was over.
As I got older, grandma moved to be closer to our family, even living on our property at one point. I loved having grandma around anytime I needed her, and I felt this would help her to not be as lonely as when she lived further away. I never could imagine how she did it not driving, being alone, and having so much time on her hands. She lived close to us and helped my parents run their business for several years until she moved a little further away to a senior citizen apartment.
By the time grandma moved I was out on my own and would still visit her frequently to make a day of it. Grandma could spend hours in Wal-Mart, even though I hated it I would indulge her knowing it is one of the very few places she goes. Afterward, we would reward ourselves by going out to eat.
A Night With Grans
Once I was married and had my first baby, I still had a lot of sleepovers with grandma, between her house and mine. I loved staying with her, and just as equally loved it when she stayed with me as an adult, and not just because of her famous biscuits and gravy I got to wake up to.
It was like being a kid again no matter how old I was. Even when I had my son we would head to her place for the weekend when my husband would work. Anything I would ask her to do she would do, including the time both my son and I had the flu and came to stay with her so she could take care of us, she was more than willing. And anytime I asked her to come to my house to stay she was up for it, having grandma there always made it feel even more like home.
The images of her transforming my house when she was there, made me feel secure. The sheet tucked into the couch where she would sleep. Her overnight bag in the corner, her green comb laying out on the bathroom counter. Her coffee spoon on a folded napkin by the coffee pot. Everything just felt right with grandma. I can recall several times of taking grandma out and about, school shopping, trips to the zoo, and one time even to the water park with us. Through these years she developed a close relationship with my son and he began to look forward to spending his own time with her and I wasn’t invited.
She Endured and She Was Strong
Grandma loved family and that’s what she thrived on. She put great effort into keeping up with all of us and loved having us all together. My Grans will always be remembered for how strong she was, and how much she endured in her life yet was always there for any of her family when they needed her. She played many roles in her time here and maybe I am just a little biased to say that being “Grans” was her favorite. She is painfully missed every single day. I am proud to be my grandmother’s granddaughter.