Friday, December 11, 2009

"So Long" Grandma.

So, I've not blogged in a couple of weeks.  It's been rather busy around here. 

Our Papa Norman went home to be with Jesus.  Grandma June decided to move to California and we were blessed to be among those who helped her prepare her belongings for the movers to pack up and ship to her in Apple Valley.  Her and Papa lived there forever.. before they moved here about 5 years ago.

It was great to be able to spend time with her.  Bruce had lived with Papa and Grandma while he was a child for while.  He has fond memories of spending time with them growing up and was thrilled when they moved up here.  They both hold a dear place in his heart and with Grandpa going home.. he feels a great deal of responsibilty for Grandma's well being.  It meant alot to him to be able to spend these last days with her before she moved down there.

I didn't get much time with my grandparents growing up and virtually none as an adult.  So.. our time with them has been precious to both of us.  And getting to spend time with Grandma, helping her to go through all of her belongings, was priceless.  I can't imagine the difficulty level something like that rises to.  To have to go through years of magazine clippings and Christmas cards, family photos, Christmas ornaments.. not to mention having to decide not to keep any of the clothes that had belonged to her husband of 50 some years.  It was heartbreaking for me.  I don't know how I would handle myself in that situation. 

I've always thought that Grandma has narcalypsy (sp).. but I think that possibly she would just rather nap than do other things.  She would sit awake with the kids reading books.  Sit awake to watch football.  Sit awake to talk for hours at a time about days gone by.. memories of school teaching and child rearing.. even being a child.  However, put on a show she doesn't find interesting, or sit down to talk about necessary arrangements, or try and go through 84 years of life in a week.. and she could hardly stay awake.  Sometimes she wouldn't at all.  So, I've decided she may or may not have an actual diagnosable "problem" but she definetly has a very effective way of avoiding things. 

It was great to have her stay the night with us.  In our freezing house.. putting layers of blankets and heated blanket and heating pad on her to try and warm her.  She can hold coldness like no one else.  Her poor hands took FOREVER to warm. 

She brought a big bag of quarters with her.. saying it was part of the kids Christmas money.  She had Annah and I count out all 132.75 dollars worth of quarters.. and wrote a check for the rest.  The kids were excited to see that such a HUGE amount of quarters was theirs. 

She talked of her times in grade school.  What she had to wear for gym class, white shorts and white shirt.  Hiding her shoes in a bush on the way to school so she could go barefoot like the boys were allowed to do. 

She showed me a folder that she decorated in the fourth grade that had her schoolwork from grades 4-8.. drawings and papers, a spelling test that had 100 words.  She had 100 words a week!  Naomi has maybe 15! 

We found a locket in a jewlery box out in the shed.  The box had been in storage for the 5years they had been in Oregon.  The locket was gold, heart shaped, and had a photo of Grandpa's mother on one side and father on the other.  There was also a little lapel pin that his Mother wore while he was in the Navy.  There were Christmas decorations made by her, Grandpa's mother Grandma Fern, they were egg shells that had been cut out on one side, painted and then a little scene put into the hole.  These were stored in a Crystal light container.. wrapped in paper towels. 

Haha.. Grandma was always giving me Crystal light containers telling me they would make great crafts for the kids.. like a shaker or something.  She also once gave me a paper bag of plastic lids from margerine containers and such.. she said they were good for indoor play.  To toss or hide or something.  The kids loved those until I got tired of finding lids under the couch. 

Grandma also told me of her memories of where she was when Pearl Harbour was attacked.  She said she thought it was in Asia or something.. she'd never heard of it. 

She went with us to get our Christmas tree.  That was fun.  Muddy.. but fun.  She trudged through the field with us until we found the perfect tree.  She took us to lunch at Subway where she said she wanted a 3" meatball sub.  Fearing she wouldn't have the appetite for a 6".  I ordered a 6" assuring her it wouldn't go to waste.. she ate the whole thing.  Her appetite seems to be tied to her social and emotional well being.  She has lost alot of weight since moving here.. saying she doesn't have the appetite.  I feel bad having spent this time with her and seeing that if she had more company she would have eaten better.  I'm glad that being down with her family in Sunny Cali.. she'll eat well.

We also took her to Wendy's where she ordered herself a small chili with onion and cheese and a hot tea.  She ate the whole chili.. and some of Annah's mandarin oranges from her kids' meal.  She loved sitting in the sun.. and being there with her was one of those "mental picture" moments like Jim told Pam to take on their wedding day.

Hmm. that is a good way to explain this last week and a half.  Lots of beautiful mental pictures. 

So.. on Tuesday afternoon I took her to the airport.  She ordered a wheel chair and was taken directly to the gate to wait.. in case she fell asleep.  She said she'd read her book and stay awake.. but the attendants were notified which flight she was  to be on.. just in case.  She's in California now.  Where hopefully it's warmer.  It is the desert though.. as she told me in a tone which said what a silly girl I was.  We are planning on visiting her this summer.  I can't wait. 

My parents always say "So long" to each other on the phone.. instead of "goodbye".  Meaning they plan on talking to each other again.  That is what I said to Grandma.. everything in me planning on seeing her again.


  1. What a beautiful story Summer. We too are so blessed to have had her with us. We love both Grandpa Norm and Grandma June very much. I will miss them joining us on holidays too. Thanks for sharing this part of your beautiful heart.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I was able to see June nearly every week at Pat's house, and we all loved her and her stories, and the prayer requests she shared, always her family on her mind. Pat always had some special treat for her to eat next to "her" chair along with a pair of Micki's hand knit socks, and a blankie. I am so glad that she gets to be back down where she spent so many years and had so many relationships, even though we will all miss her. She is one neat lady. Love, Karen