I want to talk about my grandmother today, my dad’s mom. She’s my only living grandparent. For quite a few years, she’s had alzheimer’s. When I saw her a few weeks ago, she had no idea who any of us were, but she still had a spark of herself left, she hadn’t completely forgotten who she was.
I can’t say I know everything about her, but here’s the cliff notes. She quit school in 8th grade so her brothers could continue their education. She learned to sew and that became her occupation. She worked up into her 80s. Yes, her 80s. And when she was in her 80s, she completed her high school education. She was VERY proud of it, even struggling to make it through algebra. She fought off a heart condition and breast cancer. I can’t say she was the most knowledgeable about kids, at least modern day kids at the time. But she was a great helper when she came for visits. She brought extra food to ‘help out’, which was nice. Bananas, loaves of bread, just stuff you could use on an everyday basis when you’ve got 3 kids to feed. She always sent something for our birthdays and spoke to us as if she was interested in what we had to say. We didn’t see her often, but through her, if not from her, I have learned a lot of things, I can modestly decorate a cake, I could use a sewing machine if forced, but I’d rather sew by hand, and I can embroider a tea towel fairly well. Did I learn these things directly from her? No, but she was an inspiration to me. By the time I was ready to do these things, she was no longer completely ‘there’ to tell me anything about them. She did seem to have kid friendly snacks around when we were younger, which was nice (and probably the most important thing), because little bellies get hungry before dinner is served. During her competent years, she was strong willed, and knew what she wanted. Is this good? Sometimes. Is it bad? Sometimes. Did I admire her gumption? You bet. Do I hope I take some things from her and pass them on down the dna trail? Of course I do.