Monday, July 04, 2011

A 2 Z: Grandparents

I entered a room filled with dolls and crafts, my young eyes taking in each treasure as my Great-Grandmother pulled me close for a hug. She held out her traditional gifta sort of face made with yarn woven into plastic mesh. I pressed my fingers into the corner of its cheeks and the mouth opened wide, showing a Hershey Kiss nestled inside. She loved to make all kinds of things, especially putting together dolls and making fun outfits. One holiday my sisters and I each got a handmade clown doll, complete with a different bright outfit and curly hair.

Eventually Great-Grandma, my maternal grandma's mother, had to move into a care home. We visited each Thursday after piano lessons, hearing stories of my Great-Grandmother's life as a child and then as a mother of ten children during the Depression. Parts of her life were so different, like her memories of being sent to the butcher shop when she was five. But other things remained much the same as today, like men being men just the same then as they are now. She recounted a time when she set a pie to cool on the open oven door, only to have the door fall right off the hinges and smash to the floor with the now-ruined pie. Her husband, my great-grandfather I never had the chance to meet, entered the house about then and surveyed the mess. His response? "Now what did you do that for?" Great-Grandma nearly threw the pie at him.

Oven doors apparently caused a lot of trouble because Great-Grandma also tells a story about a time when she was quite young and she and her siblings came home from school for lunch. Her older sister stepped back into the hot metal oven door that was open. It caught her right behind the knees and she fainted. Their dad scooped her up and laid her on the bed and shooed the rest of the kids back to school. Great-Grandma couldn't figure out why he would send her to school when her sister was laying dead on the bed!

I've always been very close to my maternal grandparents. They live not too far away on a hundred-acre farm that my sisters and I loved to explore. In fact, though they no longer cut lumber or raise cattle, my grandparents are still farming--in their eighties! Every summer as we grew up, us three girls stayed a whole week at the farm. Sometimes each of us had a few days alone, all in turn, and other times all three of us stayed together for a week.

Each Saturday it was Grandpa's turn to cook, and we would wake to the smell of his pancakes on the stove. Grandma taught us how to make her famous flaky pie crust, which she'd learned from her mother. But most of our time was spent outdoors, playing in the woods or barn. Grandpa would let us sit in the bucket of his tractor as he rumbled slowly down the long gravel driveway, and Grandma would point out the edible Sheep's Sorrel and any other plants or birds she could name. One year the three of us girls made a fort out of evergreen branches, and ushered our parents and grandparents in to sit on the bough couch (sorry about that wet mossy spot). Grandpa was quite impressed when the main support logs of the fort withstood a winter storm that took down many a strong tree.

Now my grandparents enjoy my writing and are impatient for my novel to be ready to read. I print out all my blogs and stories to bring to them to read.

As a child I never had the chance to be quite as close to my paternal grandparents since they were missionaries in Mexico and Central America and then retired to California. They came to the States about every four years, whereupon we'd have a huge family reunion, usually at a retreat center on the Oregon Coast. My grandpa loved children (good thing since he had six of his own and twenty grandchildren). I remember him letting us littlest ones sit on his feet while he walked, dragging us along amid much laughter. He would let me sit in his lap and play with his fascinating hands that had touched so many places—and had such interesting stretchy skin!

They moved to my town when I was nearing my teenage years, but sadly my grandpa passed away within a year. I cherish the memory of his children and many of his grandchildren holding hands around his bed and singing his favorite hymns as he slipped into the arms of Jesus. As I grew into adulthood, I became closer to my Grandma Wiley and loved to hear her tell stories. She grew so animated as she recounted tails of her missionary years or of her recent travels around the world. In the last years of her life, she began letting us grandchildren choose gifts from her large collection of tea cups, as if she knew that soon she would go on the ultimate journey Home.

How blessed am I to have Godly and nourishing grandparents as these!

To read more "G" posts for the "From A 2 Z 4 U & Me" check out Mr. Linky at the bottom of Patty's post at

Also, many of you have given a lot of prayer and encouragement as I deal with my health issues. One of the very few companies that is doing research on my disease is getting the opportunity for a grant if enough people vote for them. Would you take a few minutes to go vote for the chance to find more treatments and answers for me? Thanks!


Joanne Sher said...

What wonderful, wonderful memories you have of your grandparents and great-grandparents. Loved reading this, Amy.

purple_kangaroo said...

Loved this post, and the pics of you with our grandparents.

Anonymous said...

Lovely memories. What a wonderful heritage.

Barbara Lynn Culler said...

I enjoyed reading of your memories and could picture it all as you described it. What precious memories!

Rita Garcia said...

Amy, thank you for sharing your treasures memories! I loved reading them. Love your writing, and you! HugS!

Diana Lesire Brandmeyer said...

I miss my grandparents. So many good memories. Thank you for sharing yours.

Shelley Ledfors said...

What a lovely post about your grandparents. Three of the four of mine passed away before I was born and I only saw the other one a few times before he passed away. I missed the grandparent relationship and am glad my parents and John's mom were all around long enough for Jesse to have a great relationship and good memories of each of them. (John's dad had passed away before I ever met John.)

And I voted for the organization you put a link to--even though they require a FB access and "like" before you can do so. (Those annoy me, but it's for a good cause, in this case.)

Hope they get enough votes!

Laury said...

Those are awesome memories, Amy!

Niki Turner said...

Amy, as a new grandma myself, your post inspired me! I hope to have as much of a positive influence on my grandson as your grandparents and great-grandparents had on you!

Sparrow said...

Thanks, everyone!

Nancy K. Sullivan said...

What a great tribute to your grandparents. It's obvious that their legacy of faith continues in the life of their granddaughter.
Some of my best childhoog memories are of spending time with my grandparents on their farm. Thanks for the reminders :)
God Bless

Patty Wysong said...

I loved hearing about your grandparents, Amy! All but my grandfather died when I was 5 or 6--there were so many funerals in those two years. But it made me treasure the one I had left even more. I miss him.

purple_kangaroo said...

Hey, Amy, I just did a "Where I'm From" meme that fits right in with this, and that I think you might enjoy doing too.