We would like to share a few of our favorite memories from the view of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her life touched each of us in different ways, but the impact and legacy that she left runs deep within each of us.
She spit-curled our hair, gave us baths in the kitchen sink, sewed us clothes and matching pajamas. She prepared picnics out at the farm, and watched as we would play and run through the creek and the mud. (No doubt making sure we were cleaned up afterwards). She taught us the “proper” way things were done, when it was time to be serious, and when we could have fun. The memories from our childhood keep flooding back as I remember dressing up in her pretty dresses and having fashion shows, (with grandma as the photographer), fishing at the farm, learning to cook, sew, and cleaning the silver and crystal. She taught us by her actions how to treat others, love others and love the Lord. She also taught us the importance of prayer. As children, and up until shortly before her passing, she would pray with us before meals and before we went to sleep.
She was there for every piano recital, dance recital, T-ball game, tennis match, baseball game, swim meet, soccer match…whether at home or away…and she always had a way of making you feel like the star of the show, whether it be honking during the game or ice cream after recitals. She hosted the best New Year’s Eve parties by invitation only with pizza rolls and games (and apparently she let Raschelle stay up to watch the ball drop, but this I just learned). She was the one who was excited to take me to get my hair cut, and a few times came back with what she thought was a cute little pixie cut. However, I failed to agree with her when I was mistaken for a boy on several occasions.
The smells from her kitchen are ones we will never forget, and her recipes were ones we continue to try to perfect. She was able to cook a deer steak that many were fooled into thinking was chicken-fried steak (a secret we kept from a few people that said they would never eat deer). Her macaroni & cheese, potato soup, and chili were among our favorites. She was able to save multiple meals we tried to cook ourselves with quick tips only she seemed to know. The gift of learning to make a good batch of gravy was a necessity.
She sewed towels for our stoves and dishcloths in every color, scarves and hats for the little ones. She made baby blankets for all the great-grandchildren, and even stashed away a set for me to have for my future children. She took us for car rides in the country to up and down the hills, and continued the tradition with the little ones. She read Mog the cat to us all the time as children and long after we could have read it ourselves.
For the past 25 years she has gotten my sister’s and I Christmas ornaments from the series of nostalgic houses. After about 15 years we started giving her a hard time, because it was always the last present we got, and we knew what it would be. We would tell her we knew what it was, and may have seemed unappreciative of her gift. She got at us back the next year by telling us she didn’t buy them or that they had stopped making the series, but sooner or later she would pull them out of a bag and give them to us. One year even waiting a week after Christmas to give them to us. We soon learned to value the gifts she gave, and now wonder if the tradition will continue. She also valued the gifts we gave her, and saved every card, letter, and gift we ever gave her. Raschelle and her family would often send small gifts to let her know they were thinking of her. They often sent tins of popcorn that she would cherish deeply, so deeply she didn’t always want to share with the rest of us. We didn’t realize the extent of this until finding 3 empty tins of popcorn in her garage.
She shared many lunch dates, trips to Sam’s, days of shopping for fun, helping to decorate our houses just to spend time with us.
She was there for every milestone in our lives. Every pre-school, high school, college, and military graduation. She even made it to my graduation from boot camp, and gave me grandpa’s military picture to show me that he would have been proud of me too. And during my deployment she prayed faithfully for my safe return.
There was no decision made without talking to her first. Whether it be which college to choose, which job to take, whether or not starting a business was a good idea, whether or not to join the military, if taking a risk was going to be worth it…the circumstances were different, but consulting her was always the same. In each decision we just wanted her blessing and guidance. There were many phone calls to her in the middle of the night for advice and prayers, and to share secrets. Every conversation started with “Grandma, I’m sorry I woke you up” to which her reply was always “Oh honey you didn’t wake me, I was already up.”
She celebrated in the excitement of her great-grandchildren, of adding a new generation to our family. She enjoyed teaching them new things, reading to them and having them read to her. She loved to cuddle and hold them on her lap just to be close to them. Watching them learn to fish, and run through the pastures like we did growing up.
She was proud of all of us for becoming the individuals we have grown to be. She always made us feel special, and in her last days made sure that we knew that she loved us.
One of the things I think we will miss the most about her is the stories she would tell. She would tell stories about what it was like when she was growing up, and even her great-grandchildren would sit quietly amazed, with eyes big as saucers as she would tell of a time when there were she rode horses to school and worked in the fields. And we all listened completely in awe. She told of times spent at the city market and how she met grandpa. There were stories about dear friends near and far, trips to California driving across country, of never learning to swim, of sales and auctions her and grandpa attended. There were always stories.
Grandma’s faith was the most important thing to her. It wasn’t that she never had problems…she just knew where to go to find the answers. And in those moments that we have asked for her guidance she has always pointed us in right direction. She taught us the importance of not only being saved, but in the relationship…the intimate relationship we should have with Christ.
We all walk away better people for having known grandma, and for the legacy she leaves in each of us.