I feel a bit nostalgic today. It is cold, rainy and four inches of snow predicted…just perfect to realize how far away from home I am on this late March day. Today is my grandmother's birthday. She died July 17, 1998. It messes with my mind to think it has been 10 ½ years since she left this world.
Born outside of Wainwright Oklahoma just months after Oklahoma became a state, she was an awesome person. She lived a "hard knock life" but bounced back every time. She moved into the Crazy Water Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas when she was around 85. Although she wanted to be close to family, she was sort of afraid to move there because a "bunch of old people lived there." She thought that being around young people kept her young. And she was probably right. But she never did get old. They all loved her and her being there probably made them all younger. She made people laugh.
I remember clearly the day she broke her hip. She sat down. That was all. The chair was a little bit lower than she thought it was and she plopped. I can remember the way she looked at me and then stuck out her tongue at me when I laughed. Then she laughed. But we found out a little while later that her hip was broken and that was the only time we could trace it back.
She was so funny. She told the stories about me so many times that I seriously cannot remember if the memories are mine or if these just consist of her story about the incident. They feel like mine but it is impossible to tell.
She and my poppy married when my mom was twelve, I think. He loved me unconditionally. He loved my grandmother the same way. I used to think that Mamaw loved me so much because he did.
My memories of summer are tied up with them. I don't know if it is real or not but it seems like I spent a great deal of time with them during the summer.
I still have quilts that she made. There was always a quilting frame hanging from the ceiling in the spare bedroom. I kept quilt pieces that she had cut out and ready to make into another quilt. One day, maybe I will learn how to do it and make the one she started.
A picture of her bowling (at the age of 80 something) sits on my dresser. Not long ago, Mom gave me a locket that belonged to her. I still have an old overnight case – I kept it because it smelled like her for the longest time. I haven't been able to make myself throw it away yet but I doubt it will make the next move with us. I keep my jewelry in a little case that was hers. And I have her sewing machine.
She came to me the night she died. I know she did. At two in the morning, I sat bolt upright, knowing full well that I felt someone put a hand on my leg. I sat very still, listening, scared at first. But then a feeling of peace and love came over me. I lay back down and just before I fell asleep, I thought of her. Mom called early the next morning to tell me that she had left us.
She had a hard life, as many people born in the early part of the 1900's did. But she was tough…and gentle. I loved to hear her laugh. We had a strong, strange bond between us. She always knew when I needed to hear her voice; and I always called just when she needed me to also. Or so it seemed.
I could go on about her for a while. But I will stop now with a Happy Birthday, Mamaw.