The rough bit of news I received before my laser appointment was that my grandmother, Grandy, had passed peacefully in the night in her sleep, with her kitty Lucky keeping watch on her chest. We were expecting it, because she had Alzeihmer's and was undergoing several tough ailments. My mom kept me abreast of her condition the whole time, so it had come down to a matter of when. Alzheimer's is such a terrible disease. I have decided to donate a portion of Katie James profits to a foundation that assists in Alzheimer's research. I am close to making a decision as to which organization that will be, and will finalize soon.
Originally I was not going to post anything about it, since it's so personal and why would you want to know, but after hearing that my sister is wearing a 50s style skirt to the funeral with strawberries stiched on, I decided that I did want to share my memories of Grandy, since the first that pops into my head are strawberries. She also had a news article written about her for her invovlement with the Cleveland Site Center, so I figure this could be my public and written contribution to her legacy.
The title of this piece of writing is the first clue to a favorite thing I can think of when I want to bring Grandy to my mind. The Sound of Music was one of her favorites, and in it, the song "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things" is a perfect one to describe what I'll do now when I want to think of Grandy if I'm feeling sad or lonely, like they did in the movie during the scary thunderstorm. I've also developed a new game of putting Grandy into my pocket. It's called: "I'll buy this because it reminds me of Grandy." So here is a little list:
Strawberries. Strawberries on my birthday cake, and strawberries around my neck. Last summer at the Renegade Craft Fair, I bought a blown glass strawberry pendant and wear it around my neck when I want to think of Grandy.
Willamina. A knitted life-size-for-a-six-year-old doll made by the blind women at the Cleveland Site Center where Grandy volunteered at the craft sale to help put finishing touches on the crafts they made.
Hot fudge. My latest purchase to remember Grandy. Hot fudge in a glass jar, put into a pot of boiling water to heat perfectly for pouring over ice cream.
Homemade cinnamon apple sauce, especially when it is warm.
Chocolate chip cookies from Heinens.
Cream of wheat with lumps in it. Only Grandy could make perfect cream of wheat with delightful lumps in it that exploded with new cream of wheats that mixed perfectly with melted butter and lumps of brown sugar.
Chicken pox in Grandy's then new pale lime green bubbling jacuzzi. Everyone should have chicken pox in a bubbling jacuzzi, like I did when we kids stayed at Grandy and Grampa's when Mom and Dad went out of town. They didn't know we'd be getting the chicken pox that week, but I did because I rubbed arms with my 3rd grade best friend so that we'd get it together. And we did.
A baby brush to softly scratch the chicken pox. Only grandmothers have fine baby brushes around the house for scratching chicken poxes.
My finger nails. They are as hard as rocks, thanks to Grandy, who also had strong nails. When I want to think of Grandy, I can look at my finely curved finger nails and remember how she and me could flick our nails and not break them.
Stockings. A sliver of Christmas that is Grandy. We kids were lucky enough to have knitted green, red and white stockings made by Grandy that only expand with time.
Christmas. Christmas is its own piece of writing, but I will say gravy, creamy mashed potatoes that are impossible to recreate, and chocolates wrapped in clear plastic.
Mrs. Barlett's driveway with her bicycle built for two that was maybe candy striped red, or it is in my memory, that was from a different time but we didn't know when.
Mallards, geese and ponds. I may live in New York City, but there is this place called Central Park that I live next to, and in my part of Central Park, there is a pond, and in that pond are frogs, mallards, and geese. Around that pond are benches and willow trees to sit under. In a quiet moment while Gerdy (named after Grandy's mother, Grandma Stouffer), and I were walking one recent quiet evening (yes evening, we were among owl watchers), I sat on a wooden bench under a willow tree and went back to the place in my mind of playing on Grandy and Grampa's lake, in the canoe, paddling under the willow tree to uncover the sacred slab of stone that had hand prints of my mother and her brothers in it. After we touched the stone, we'd park the canoe and hunt for frogs and tadpoles with Grampa's metal net, or stick our feet in the gooky part of the lake just to feel its gookiness and sqirm away. We'd return at night to shine flashlights into the frogs eyes, to blind them and pick them up, although I don't think I ever picked one up. I did pick up a worm once, and scared some little boy with it, which Grandy would probably not have liked.
So now, when I hear the sound of distant frogs, or smell a flower that Grandy grew in her garden, or admire my nails, I can bring Grandy back to my own place when I need her.
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