Today is my Grandmother's birthday. She would have been 95 years old, but she passed away last January. She was the last living parent/grandparent that remained in my life. Today, I wish to honor her.
My Grandma Smith introduced me to hand crafts. I always remember her crocheting granny square afghans. My favorite was made with black borders around various colored squares. She taught me to crochet at nine or ten years old, when I received a beginners crochet kit from her for my birthday. She was also the person who helped me tie off my first quilt. As a senior in high school, a group from my French class worked together to make a quilt for our pregnant teacher with the assistance of a classmate's mother who was a quilter. After that, I had to make a quilt for myself. I used fabric scraps from dressmaking and cut out charm squares. It didn't matter what kind of fabric I used. The quilt was made from knits, corduroy, cotton/poly blends, dotted swiss, and chambray. I used a percale sheet for the backing. My Grandma Smith borrowed a quilt frame from one of her friends and set it up her living room. We spend a week-end putting the queen size quilt on the frame and tying off the corners of each block.
My Grandma Smith had a green thumb and was an avid gardener. I will remember her gladiolas the most. She had a round flower bed to the east of her house with blossoms that stood four foot tall. I admired the beautiful flowers, so now I have a bed of glads planted outside my picture window to enjoy. She also had a porch full of house plants, including many African violets. The delicate plants required the appropriate amount of water and care, and she could grow them from just a leaf rooting. I could never seem to keep one alive for more than a year. My Grandmother collected rainwater and used it year round to water all her plants and they flourished. My Grandma also collected salt & pepper shakers. She had literally hundreds of sets of S&P shakers displayed in cabinets between the living room and dining room. I would stop by to visit my Grandmother and find her whistling in the kitchen or outside in her garden. As she aged, she spent more time in her living room doing word search puzzles. She received daily care in a nursing home for the last few years.
I feel privileged to have been able to spend time with her on a regular basis; right up until she passed away. My daughters fondly remember her and my two-year-old granddaughter visited her a couple of times. I have a special photo of my Grandmother and me hugging each other on the sofa in her living room. We are smiling and her chihuahua, Brownie, is standing beside her in the photo. Other cherished keepsakes include a Bible that she gave to me one year after I was grown and a mural that she displayed on the wall in her back entry that my art group drew in the fourth grade.
My Mother, her only daughter, passed away 24 years ago. I know that losing a mother at a young age leaves an emptiness, because Mothers hold a special place in our hearts. I can only imagine losing a daughter brings even greater heartbreak. My Grandma became my surrogate Mother. It was difficult watching the joyfulness leave her eyes as she became frail and forgetful. She is in a better place, rejoicing to be with my Mother again. I will miss her dearly. Until we meet again...