Tuesday, October 25

Grandma

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Vibrant lipstick in a shining gold or silver roll up tube. She was never without it and as little girls she'd dab some brilliant rose hue on our lips, me and my sisters. Bubble baths and fancy powder on the bum afterwards and crisp sheets that had been ironed down the hall with the family gallery splayed against both sides. And the smell. Her house never smelled anything but fresh and wonderful.



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She was raised partly by an English grandmother which accounted for her impecible manners and the collection of beautiful china in her cupboards. We learned Rummi at her dining table or on the back porch in cooperating southern weather. Little girls shouldn't gamble and so we played for dimes or m&m's from her stash.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner had cloth napkins and matching placemats and tablecloth and napking rings, always. When we were little we could chose from the vast assortment of colored napkins and shaped rings and pleated edged placemats.




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"Now, Darling..." she'd begin a sentance, next to me on her sofa, as she rubbed my arm and asked about life or boys then later marriage, then great-grand babies.


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My grandmother never hid her feelings. She was not flagrantly moody or emotional by any description, but we all knew whether or not something met her approval. My husband, she loved and all the great grand-babies too.



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Rifts within our family, she did not love, and implored me to mend them, quoting scripture to me. :) It was such a hard time for both of us and I felt sad relief when she later learned the truth of things. She was a true matriarch of the family.




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When I flew down with our firstborn for her introduction to my grandparents, Grandma flew to me arms wide at the gate, tears streaming down her bright eyes, lipstick perfect, outfit coordinated. Grandma never dressed in old lady clothes or orthopedic shoes. A few years back she clucked her tongue at having to set aside her bright heels and vast array of sandals in colors that shamed a rainbow, but still, hers were not old lady shoes.
When we visited, she let me dig through her photos and ask a thousand questions, absorbing family history. Her in a gorgeous outfit she knit, Pop-Pop and she standing at the alter in a dress she borrowed from a girlfriend, Pop-pop in a TB hospital for two years, her waitressing, raising three boys in the mountains while Pop-Pop taught history, her mom passing away from a brain tumor, tea with her ladies every week at the hotel (which I fondly remember attending with her, though I recall the hotel's coffee cake being dry, funny the things you remember), the one time she went camping with her boys, the first time women were "allowed" to wear "slacks" and so on and so on. I would ask over a photo and she would make a curve in the air with her manicured hand, diamonds flashing, bracelets gently clinking and say, "oh that... that was the time..."




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I have so many lovely memories of my Grandma. I love that she sang loudly in church but could not carry a tune, her reverence for taking the Lord's table, her generous but wise spirit, her potato salad, her excitement over the phone, calling to tell me of "a deal" she got at Belks - an extra 75% off an already reduced ticket which bought her a pair of "slacks" at $2, that into her eighties and with cancer she still hung laundry on the line, that she loved my Pop-Pop all her life and took care of him until a few weeks before she left for heaven.

In our last conversation, and I knew it would be the last, I told her how proud I was of her, what a good job she did taking care of Pop-Pop, that I loved her and that I would talk to her soon.
I am so thankful, so very,very, that I have a huge memory bank of memories from my Grandma, and some photos from her albums. I wish these memories onto my kids and so we've been telling lots of stories the last few weeks, mulling over photos and smiling happy smiles at the life of a beautiful, strong woman who I am so thankful to have known.

16 comments:

Natalie said...

Hi, you don't know me, but I follow your blog and just wanted to say that I enjoyed this tribute to your grandmother. What a beautiful, elegant woman.

You, too, are a beautiful mother and I enjoy following your life. :) Thank you for sharing your ideas.

Lisa said...

This is one of the loveliest blog posts I have ever read. Thank you for sharing all of this with your readers....

Lucy said...

I'm sorry that you lost your lovely grandmother but happy that it would have been for her a home coming and glad that you all have that comfort too. I loved my own darling nana so much and losing them is hard, even though we know they are gathered into loving Arms.

randa07 said...

She sounds like she was one amazing woman. What a beautiful tribute to her :)

Gail said...

Hannah, Such a beautiful tribute to a wonderful example of the Prov. 31 woman. I only began to correspond with her this last year or so, but will truly miss her.
Love to you all.

Mrs.Rabe said...

Beautiful...how blessed you are to have had such a grandmother.

Deanna

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. I lost mine recently and have been mulling over memories lately. Such a legacy that I hope to one day leave. Thanks for sharing the wonderful memories of yours with us.

Janet

Marmee's Pantry said...

Excellent, lovely. What a sweet memorial. I had precious gr-ma's, one I was particularly close to ~ Bigmom.

Treasured memories.

Blessings from Ohio...Kim<><

Blondee said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Your Grandmother sounds like an exquisite lady and a wonderful example for you in life. I lost my own Grandmother almost three years ago and I truly lost my best friend that day. May you always keep her memory fresh in your heart so that your babies too little to remember her on their own will have your memories to 'know' her by.
I think that in the photos of your Grandmother as a young woman, you resemble her a great deal. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow you even look like your grandmom.. ( that is a compliment)
Sorry for your loss.. but it is a wonderful thing that you have so many memories of her.
Sue in NJ

Anonymous said...

My condolences... tissues needed when reading that. What a wonderful relationship you had with your Grandmother. Thanks for your description of her which inspires us to emulate the good examples in her life. Linda

3 Sisters said...

Oh Hannah, such lovely photos and such beautiful memories! What a blessing. I think you look like your grandma. Especially her wedding picture. :)

Nate and Rhoda, Elijah, Judah, Hannah and Jeremiah said...

Beautiful memoir of your Grandmother. She sounds like an amazing woman.

gail said...

Dear Hannah,
What a wonderful tribute to a great example of a Prov. 31 woman. I was honored to be able to correspond with her, as well as your grandfather, and their insights always touched my heart always. She will be missed.
love,
Gail

Debbie said...

Beautiful tribute! Your children are very lucky that you have such wonderful memories and stories to pass on to them. Thank you for sharing.

Joy said...

Dear Hannah,

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother. I know it is so hard to get used to missing someone you love and not being able to share life with them anymore.

This post was so beautiful and inspiring. It made me want to be a better wife and mother.

Blessings to you,
Joy