Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Tribute to my Grandma on What Would Have Her 94th Birthday

If she were still alive, my Grandma would be 94 years old today.  She passed away this past July after some back to back illnesses.  When my other grandmother passed away, my sister and I stayed with Little Grandma when we came out for the graveside service.  She told us then that she did not want people to be all sad and to wear all black when she passed away.  Grandma had made her own arrangements years before. Grandma didn't belong to any particular church even though she did attend some sometimes.  Instead of having a funeral service, there were two days of visitation and then Grandma got to treat us, her children, grandchildren, and some of her great grand children to dinner one last time at the Colonial restaurant.

Here is my tribute to my Grandma.

Flora Mable Collins was born on November 20, 1920.  Her birthday often falls on Thanksgiving, but that year it was on a Saturday.  She had a twin sister and another sister.  She lived through the great depression.  She said that at times all she had to eat were apples from the trees.  She got so sick of apples.  Bob told me once that one of his grandmothers had nothing but potatoes during that time.  It is too bad that there was no way for them to trade.  Being young during the great depression probably had an impact on her height and the problems she had with her feet (having to wear too small shoes as a kid).  Grandma claimed a height of 4'11" but that is disputed.  I'm not sure when we started calling her Little Grandma, but it may have been around the time we grand kids started getting taller than her (around age 10 or so).

When Grandma was a young adult, she worked in a watch factory.  During World War II, the factory was used to make things for the war.  She said that during that time, she and some of the other women working there would sometimes pull pranks.  One time when I was younger, Grandma encouraged me to work hard and not waste my money when I got older.  She told me that when she went out with friends after work, her friends would buy drinks, but she would buy sprite so nobody would realize she wasn't drinking.  She saved up her money and bought a car.

The story of how my Grandma became my Grandma is a bit complicated and I'm not sure that it's mine to tell in this forum.  I'm very glad that I got to hear it from her a few years ago.  Family was very important to her and she tried to do what she felt was right even though it sometimes made people angry with her.  Grandma had a difficult relationship with some of her family members throughout their lives.  Grandma married her first husband after World War II.  I'm not sure how she cared for two babies seven months apart in age, but she did.  My closest children are three years apart!  Grandma had one more child.  She told me once that she would have liked to have had another.  With good cause, Grandma divorced her first husband at a time when it was looked down on.  Grandma remarried and my Mom says that she loved becoming part of a larger family.

Grandma worked hard throughout her life.  She worked as a nurses assistant at a hospital until she retired.  She then worked various other jobs, including babysitting for many years.

I was Grandma's first grandchild.  My siblings and I are her only grandchildren.  Grandma was so excited to have grandchildren.  We spent time with her often.  She enjoyed being with us, even when we were little and acted crazy.  She lived with us for a little while.  She drove the hour trip to come and visit us in the city and we drove out to see her. When I was in high school, she was driving to our house pretty much every Saturday until she quit driving.  She did so much for us.  We loved her, not because she always brought us stuff, but because she knew us.  She knew what thing we wanted so badly for Christmas because she knew what was going on in our lives.  She talked with us on car trips and visits.  When I was nine, she and I took an Amtrak train to Phoenix.  We had many adventures with her.  Well into her seventies, she started taking us camping at the Yogi Bear campground in Wisconsin Dells.  When we were out and about in her hometown, I felt like everyone knew her.  She touched many lives.

Grandma was the one who took all three of us kids out to practice driving in her car.  Grandma had pictures of us up all over her apartment.  Grandma was there at every event we had.  She came out to Utah two years in a row for my and Kathy's graduation (and again for Kathy's masters).  Grandma rode out to Utah with my Mom when Mom moved to Utah.  Grandma got to come to the hospital and see Jaide, her first great grand child, the day she was born.  Grandma went to New York for my brother's graduation from acting school.  Grandma tried to visit us often, even after we moved far away.  She came to Maryland to celebrate Jaide's first birthday with us.  Grandma got us all to get together to surprise my Mom for her 60th birthday.  Grandma enjoyed having somewhere to go and being able to spend time with her family.  She loved to travel and to have something planned to look forward to.

The last few years Grandma's health didn't allow her to travel.  We had to come to her.  We all came out for her 90th birthday celebration.  Around that time Grandma had to go to a nursing home.  It was hard for her.  She was having more and more trouble with short term memory.  Bob, the kids, and I went out to see her in August of '13.  We got to take her out to Colonial for lunch.  We went to a park and sat and watched the kids play.  She told me about coming to that park and having a picnic with Floyd (her second husband) many years before.  Grandma's long term memory was still good.  At the nursing home, the girls and I played many, many rounds of Uno with Grandma.

I miss Grandma.  I'm glad we got as many good years with her as we did.  I'm glad she got to meet my kids and the girls will probably even remember it.  When I'm out and about and I see a girl out with her Grandma, I think of her.  Today when we have our dessert, we'll have to have a little bit of meat with it, like she liked to do, in her honor.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I Loo Tee

Lukey had a birthday!

 Luke loves the movie Cars and "mah-keen" so I made him a Lightning McQueen shirt and cake for his birthday. The girls "helped" me make the topper pieces out of marshmallow fondant. We made quite a mess.
 I think the cake turned out pretty well. The girls made the cacti. Lukey liked it.
 Luke at two: Luke is 37.25" tall and 27.4lbs. Luke loves to eat "butter" which is peanut butter on toast or in a sandwich. Every car is "racecar!" Luke also likes trains, trucks, and planes. Jumping on the trampoline is a favorite. Luke has been going to a weekly structured playgroup and a music class, both of which end this month. Luke says some cute stuff. He has started saying "I Loo Tee" which means I'm Lukey. He's getting better at communicating what he wants or needs. "I poopy." "My cuppy!" "No bed!" "Where Jaide? Where Kiree? Where Cali?"

January to March Recap in Pictures!

If I didn't take pictures, I wouldn't remember what happened.
Take a look for "daddy" on a toy, a strange "word of the day" sentence, a tree that is no more, GS thinking day- Russian dancers, Russian food, some pictures of the event from the local newspaper, snow, more snow, a doggy snow angel, Valentine's date at the mall to see the Lego movie in 3D, heart shaped cupcakes with cookie dough frosting, doggy school graduation, a mouse that is no more, the birthday dog, Jaide's GS troop service project collecting books for GS camp, warm, snow again, St. Patrick's day, Bob's stitches (not pictured), strings concert, spaceship, and Darth Vader valentines.