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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Gramma...

Today the world lost a pretty cool person. My Paternal Grandmother passed away this morning in her sleep. She had been sick for a while now, and while it was something that we have been preparing for, it was still a shock when it actually happened. A woman who was born in the Roaring 20's and was a child of the The Great Depression, She was a college student during World War II and became a mother to 4 Baby Boomers. Three sons and one daughter gave her a full house and a full plate, but not only that, she was also a RN. She worked at one of the biggest Hospitals in Rochester NY for Over 30 years on top of being a mother and wife. . That barely scrapes the surface of who she was, and Let me tell you all, she was something!

My Gramma was a cool lady. Even when she didn't fully approve of what you were doing, she would give you the respect of letting you make your own mistakes. I spent a good portion of my early days living under her roof, and in later years I even spent part of a year living with her as an adult. She had her quirks, but she was a tough lady, and she didn't put up with crap she didn't like.

When I was a kid, her and my grandfather owned an old farm in Allegheny County (NY) and while they didn't raise much more than some chickens, the occasional pig and plenty of dogs she was still "Farm Gramma" to me for most of my childhood years. I always looked forward to going to Farm Gramma's house for a weekend, or better yet for a week in the summer time. Gramma always had things around that I liked, she had a bag of ballons in the buffet in the dinning room. She always had sliced cheese in the fridge, and Ice cream in the freezer. In the summer time she always had a plentiful supply of little jars to put fireflies into after my cousins and I captured them. Gramma's house was where we all went for Thanksgiving dinner and she always put out the relish tray at noon, so we could snack on gherkins and carrots and little chocolate mints while we waited for the turkey to be done. We always had to clean off the dining room table before we could set it for dinner. I am sure that I inherited my "flat surface syndrome" from her and Grampa. Gramma was a good cook, but she never trusted her memory for recipes, she ALWAYS used the cookbook or the recipe card, and she measured everything precisely. But she always had consistent results! She made the best custard and lemon meringue pies. She made great tasting biscuits, even if you could knock someone out with one if you threw it at their head! Gramma always had time to explain stuff to me.

It's funny the things I remember about Gramma. She hated rodents, especially mice. When I was living with her, I used to work a couple of late shifts during the week, and I wouldn't get home until after midnight, so usually she would be asleep in bed and most of the lights would be out. Well, one night after setting out mousetraps in the afternoon, I got home from work and as I pulled into the driveway, I see that every light in the house is on, and her car is gone. So I head for the house and I found a note on the door, that said, " I am at Ma's house, come and get me after you empty the mousetrap behind the stove!" She had been watching TV in the living room when she heard the distinctive snap of the mousetrap. She immediately got out of her chair, grabbed her coat and purse and walked out to the car. She never paused to turn off the TV, or any lights. She hated mice that much. When I put out poison for the mice and other vermin, I told her, they will eat the poison and then die in the walls and stink up the joint, and her answer was that she would rather smell them rotting in the walls, then know they were alive and peeing and pooping in her cupboards! She had her limits!!

A few years ago she suffered a mild stroke, and while it didn't take away her motor functions, it did affect her short term memory. It was heartbreaking to spend time with her, because we could have the same conversation five or six times in an hour. She loved to read the newspaper, and she had to dog-ear the pages so that she would know that she had already read them. Sometimes that didn't help, but it was always new news each time she turned the pages!

I will remember every day that I spent with her, every holiday, and special occasion. Every car ride, and each lesson that she taught me. The skinned knees and the scraped knuckles. Cuts and bruises bandaged and tended. I will remember the spankings that I definitely deserved, and sleeping in the beds that slid apart in the night. Her crisp sheets, and the warm, comfy quilts that she made for us. I have pictures of her that I will treasure. and memories that make me laugh. Stories that I will be telling until I get to see her again. Gramma will be missed, but she will live on with me far as long as I have breath.

SO... Dear Gramma, I love you, and I'm sure gonna miss you. You were the best Gramma a guy could hope for. XO

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