Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy 98th Birthday, Grandma!

My grandmother is an amazing woman. In my life, she's always been there. In my early years, many Sundays we would go to my grandma and grandpa's house. My grandma has 8 sisters, and 2 brothers,and back then most of them would congregate at her house on Sundays. We'd go to church, then head over for a BBQ, and lots of laughing. We would always have Hawaiian Punch mixed with lemonade to drink. The house would be full of aunts, uncles, and cousins. When I got too old to tear around with my 9 boy cousins (the only other girl is 13 years younger than me!) I would sit in the house reading books and listening to my grandma's Broadway musical albums - Sound of Music, and UnSinkable Molly Brown. Sometimes she would let me sew on her old machine in the back room. Her bathroom boasted the pink crocheted poodle bottle cover that I'd made her in one of my Primary classes. In the kitchen, on a shelf, she had a Parmesan cheese shaker in the shape of a pig organ grinder. I love that pig organ grinder! My grandma would sit quietly with me and tickle my arm. She would perform tap dances with my mother. (Both so light on their feet!) She has an endearing way of quoting familiar sayings all mixed up - "Nana-isms" - (such as combining "Icing on the cake" and "Tip of the iceberg" into "That's just the tip of the icing.") and once she sighed heavily after listening to Vin Sculley on her beloved Dodger Radio and said "I'm going to miss him when he's gone..." (??? grandma - I think it's YOU that's 98, not Vin Sculley!) She sewed every one of my high school formal dresses, and crocheted each new baby a blanket. She is our family's greatest treasure, and we all fight over whose house she's going to spend Christmas or Thanksgiving at.

I have one of those "Grandmother Remembers" books that she filled out for me several years ago. I thought I would list some of her entries:

I was told I resembled... Nobody - just one of a kind, I guess.

As a student I... enjoyed school, but we were so poor clothes became a problem. I went to work at 15.

My father taught me to value... Life - enjoy what you have no matter how insignificant. Also, never to complain.

My mother taught me to value... Love, health, keeping clean and chaste. To make do and get by with whatever one could afford...she was a survivor and her endurance was very unselfish.
I met your grandfather at age... Sixteen

Our first date was... In October, 1927. We went to a movie. (I was so thrilled.)

Our most memorable wedding gift was... A twenty dollar gold piece from a friend, and a table cloth and napkins.

My most vivid memory of my wedding day is... We were just happy. We didn't even have enough money to go out to dinner.

I still smile when I think about the time...Marilyn (my mother) was 1 year old. Bad depression but I saved 39c to buy cod liver oil for her. I sat her on the sink to give her a spoonful and was so happy. I tipped the bottle over and cried like a baby as it all spilled down the sink.

My deepest values are... The welfare, health and love of my family. Grandpa had such definite values. I am proud to say we shared them together.

They invented... Radio, television, electric washers, dryers, dishwashers, microwave ovens (and computers! What amazing things she's seen in her life!)
They discovered... Penicillen, Salk vaccine to prevent polio, and many vaccines to prevent diseases from spreading.

I still like the old fashioned ways of... Not living so fast. I love small towns and often remember the fun we used to have on summer evenings.

Favorite saying... "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln

About my mother as a young girl... She was very good on her accordion (!!!) when she was young.

I am happy that we all... Can stay as close and enjoy family get togethers. That means more to me than anything on earth. I hope and pray it will continue and please after I am gone all of you love each other and when you get together know that I am loving ALL OF YOU.

As you can see, life was very different when she was a young girl and young mother. Grandma is quite a woman, growing strong and brave from the many problems she had to face over the years. She has a deep love for my grandfather, and misses him still, after all these many years. She has been a most inspiring example to me in my life. She taught me to make a meal our of whatever I have on hand. She made me feel beautiful and accomplished when I was an ugly duckling teenager. And she taught me to be strong and face adversity with bravery and a sense of humor - to be able to laugh at myself. Most of all, she gave me the confidence to know that I am unique and wonderful in my own right. She's given my children the same love and energy that she devoted to me, and now she's started in on her great great grandchildren. We are five generations strong in our family, and we owe our work ethic, our courage and strength in adversity, and our love of family and the Dodgers to this great woman. A rare jewel indeed.


  1. I love Nana! I had fun re-reading the things she wrote to you about her life in that book. How lucky you are to have that!

  2. She sounds delightful, and it was really interesting hearing about her life from her own writings. I love those books for grandmas and grandpas to fill out. (I've even done a couple of them myself!)


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