Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grandma, Howdy Doody, and Julia Child

My grandma passed away last week. She was 95 years old and it wasn't unexpected. I'm now officially grandma-less as my other grandma passed away a year and a half ago. I was thinking about what I loved the most about my grandma, Mary. Isn't that the perfect grandma name? She was a woman surrounded by books. She was progressive, she attended college, she believed that a woman should be educated and able to take care of herself. She also sort of reminded me of Julia Child. She even had my grandpa build custom counters in their cabin to accommodate her height. That's probably where the similarities end, but who can tell why kids perceive things the way they do.

She used to read to my sister and I when we were little. Our all-time favorite book was one of those little Golden Books: Howdy Doody's Animal Friends. Whenever we went to her house to visit, my sister and I would run straight for the drawer where she kept it. We'd climb up into her lap and she'd read it. She had a the BEST voice for reading aloud. Mellow, soft, with just the right amount of inflection. It was magic when she read.

I never saw her without a book. She was a regular at her local libraries. The librarians knew her by name and would put aside books they thought she'd like. She loved Dick Francis. She didn't buy a lot of books, she was a very frugal and practical woman. But boy, her library card must have smoked from over-use. :) Even when she got older, and her eyesight wasn't as good, she looked for large-print books. Whatever she could get her hands on. Oh, and she was AMAZING at crossword puzzles. Seriously. She even had crossword dictionaries!

Thanks for reading to me, Grandma. Thanks for making me bowls of popcorn and for buying Honey Nut Cheerios. Thanks for putting a bay leaf in the chili and telling me and Niki that whoever got it in their bowl would have good luck. Thanks for sewing beach cover-ups for me out of big fluffy beach towels. Thanks for teaching me how to make the most kick-ass Thanksgiving turkey ever. Say hi to grandpa for me.

7 comments:

Eric said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Expected or not, I hope you manage through it with more smiles than tears. Luckily, after 95 years it's likely your grandma gave you many reasons to smile. We're dealing with something similar as we watch my wife's grandfather deteriorate at 87 (I think). We know it's coming sometime soon, but it's still tough to think about sometimes.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Grandmothers fill a special place in our hearts, and the loss is deep. This is a beautiful tribute. Hugs to you and yours.

Stephanie McGee said...

*hugs*

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your memories of your grandmother with us. :hug:

Niki said...

Grandma really was an amazing woman. She did a lot of sewing and I can't count how many times she made us swimsuits out of shorts and left over fabric when we forgot our own. I know she and grandpa both missed coming to the cabin when travel became too difficult. I'm sure she's on her porch swing with a book, and grandpa is in his rocking chair swatting flies, outside.

Colene Murphy said...

This is beautiful. I'm so sorry about your grandma, but you sound like you do a great honor to her memory by holding on to those things about her.

Cassidy "Cassy" said...

I love this post-I almost had to wipe a tear away! Thanks for sharing. I'm sure glad you had your grandma, she definately added some great things to who you are as a person.