My Grandmother

I was reading another blog post about the writer’s grandmother and it made me think of my grandmother. She was the only grandmother I knew growing up and she was wonderful. Her name on her baptismal was Emilia but everyone called her Emily.  She wasn’t your typical kissy, huggy, “pinch your cheeks” kind of Grandma, instead we did kiss hello and it was only towards the end of her life did she want to hug you, however she was far from cold. You knew where you stood with her as she was very honest and rarely did you have to guess how she felt. She loved to craft and before arthritis set in she was extremely creative. To this day her family enjoys so much of her handiwork.

Grandma was born in 1910, September 14th. She had an alcoholic, abusive  father and was one of 6 children only 5 of which reached adulthood. One girl named Mary died of influenza I was told by her. Mary was 2 or 3 years old. My grandma was never educated past the 8th grade, she had to leave school and go to work to help support the family. When you spoke to her however you would never have known she had to cut her school years short. She was very sharp and on the ball. It took a lot to put something past her. She was also an excellent judge of character. When we were kids she would play all sorts of card games and Rummy Q with us. She was always there to teach us how to play some sort of game and help us with homework when she could. I remember math being the only subject she couldn’t help us with past the 5th grade.

She and my grandfather took us to church every Sunday. And in the spring and warmer seasons after church we would go to yard sales or flea markets. We loved that.

It wasn’t until I became an adult did I really appreciate her. I used to go to her house and help her clean and also change the curtains/drapes every other season. She wanted things just so and had specific directions almost perfectionist in nature. I didn’t mind though. I figured it’s her house why not do things the way she wants them done. I remember she wore Estee Lauder perfume and this orange/red lipstick whenever she left the house. After she died I looked at the lipstick and couldn’t think of any other person that color would look as good on. It was as if it were made specifically for her.

Growing up, holidays were held at her house, Grandma would bake a ton of pies for Thanksgiving and a ton of cookies for Christmas. The cookies were always served on this 3 tier china cookie server, it was so pretty. Christmas was my favorite holiday at her house. The tree was always decorated beautifully and just so. There was a Santa in his sleigh with 8 reindeer strewn across the top of the sun porch doorway. The rest of the doorways were adorned with the many Christmas cards that were sent to them. You couldn’t help but feel festive in that house.

When my grandfather died suddenly of a heart attack I was 14 years old. My grandmother was very stoic and reserved. I don’t remember seeing her cry but that doesn’t mean she never cried. I know she was devastated.  The holidays stopped being held at her house. My grandma also “stopped” in many ways. She changed her eating habits drastically and easily lost 20 pounds. She rarely cooked anymore. She would come to my mom’s house for dinner every Sunday. My sister and I would take grandma to her doctors appointments since she never learned to drive. She was always ready to give us money for gas which we fully appreciated.

I do miss her. I miss her honesty and directness. She wouldn’t say anything to hurt your feelings she just said it the way she saw it without malice.Every now and then my husband will say I remind him of my grandmother and I am flattered. To me it’s a huge compliment.

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