Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Esther posted this great blog entry about her grandma in February. I really wanted to do a similar entry today because my grandma would have been 102 today. My grandma sounds a lot like Esther's. I haven't made any of our photos digital yet, so my entry is without photos.

Grandma had a HUGE garden every year. She lived next door to two of her sisters so they all worked together on the garden. My grandma ate really healthy, mostly veggies out of her garden either fresh or frozen/canned by her.

Grandma loved to sew. She made each of her grandchildren an afghan for confirmation or 8th grade graduation and a quilt for high school graduation even though she was over 90 when my sister graduated from high school. She made hundreds of quilts for Lutheran World Relief.

My grandma loved to bake. She made dozens of cookies for the fall festival at her church every year. The older she got the more she made. She made something like 30 dozen when she was 90. Of course she always had plenty of cookies left for her grandchildren to take home at holiday time or she mailed them to her far away grandchildren.

When I was little we lived with my grandma while my dad was at the Seminary. I heard everyone call her Frieda so I called her Grandma Frieda. The name stuck for our whole family. Until I was in high school we lived about 3 hours away from Grandma. We tried to spend most holidays at her house plus several weeks in the summer. It was great when I could spend a week with grandma all by myself. I would help her with her daily tasks and garden, but it was always fun working with her. We often had homemade banana splits after supper during these visits. Then we would stay up "late" playing board games and card games. Our favorite game was Chinese checkers. Then we would stay up even later and she would tell me stories of her childhood. I loved her stories of growing up with 3 sisters and one adopted brother on the farm. And stories of raising 2 boys and 2 girls. I loved to hear stories about my mom when she was little. She lived next door to two of her sisters and their husbands. It was great fun to go visit all of that family and just walk there. They were all very active in church and the 4 sisters helped together on many church activities.

Grandma taught 1-2 grade in Lutheran schools. When I began teaching she dug out some of her old files of things that might help me in teaching. Sometimes she would cut out things to get a whole art project ready for them-she did this on her own without me asking. She made fondant for my students at Easter time. The extended family remembers she would make cupcakes with homemade fondant eggs at Easter. It was great to talk to her about my students too.

Grandma was at our house for dinner when Ram asked my dad if he could marry me. My dad had me tell my grandma and my mom since we weren't there for that conversation. Grandma made homemade mints for the wedding reception-I think she made over 200. What is amazing about this is she had crippled hands and she was 94! She hosted a wedding shower for us at her house. Shortly after that she got the flu and had to go in the nursing home. We were all amazed that she was almost 95 before she left her home.

I quit my teaching job a few months before we moved here. Ram and I went to visit Grandma almost every day during that time before we moved. Her memory was so good, even better than mine sometimes! I worked on a few scrapbooks for her. She had it all organized so I put the photos in for her and when she had time and felt well enough then she did the writing. It didn't matter how much room I left for her, she always filled it all up! I treasure those scrapbooks and the memories of working on them together.

My mom had a baby shower for me at her nursing home so that Grandma could attend. She didn't feel well that evening but she still came. While I visited her that week we talked a lot about her births and babies. My parents took photos to her when Lamb 1 was born. She was so excited to be a great-grandmother again. When my parents came to the baptism she told all the nurses and staff that her great-grandson was being baptized that weekend. Grandma went to heaven the day after Lamb 1's baptism. She was almost 97. I regret that she never met any of the Lambs. I'm glad that she was able to see pictures of Lamb 1 though.

My mom recently found some writing that Grandma did. It is all interesting to our family-about the WWII war rationing, about Grandpa and Grandma's honeymoon, about when Grandpa died (car accident). We are hoping to type this up for the family. We can't ask Grandma to tell us the stories any more, but hopefully we can read them.

Grandma was a great example of her faith. She lived her faith by volunteering at her church and in her everyday life knowing that the Lord would provide and take care of her.

A few months after my grandma died I was talking to someone about her. They couldn't believe that I could be that close to someone without being raised by them. I know it will be more difficult because we live so far away from our parents, but I really hope that the Lambs get close to their grandparents like I did with my grandma. When they are old enough we plan to send them for a week or two with their grandparents like I did with my grandma. That is when memories were made for me.

I love Grandma so much. I miss Grandma so much. Grandma taught me so much. I will always think of Grandma on May 4. I can't wait until we are reunited in heaven!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I enjoyed reading your memories of your Grandma.(I'm your mom's cousin in NE)
I always thought of her as being very gentle and elegant in her own special way.
Doris Russell