As a child, I remember my grandmother being a very busy woman! She was the mother to seven sons, the youngest being only four years older than me. She also worked nights as a nurse in a hospital for the mentally ill. She earned the title "General" and wore it proudly. But when we were kids, she didn't have a lot of extra time for me. She was still busy raising her family, and doing it on her own after my grandfather passed. When she did have time, we had already moved away. I always wished we lived closer, like the other cousins did. And as an adult, I wondered if they knew how lucky they were to have her so close by.
My grandmother would make a yearly "Great Lakes Tour". I remember her doing this several years in a row when I was newly married. She would visit family in the Cleveland area, come through Michigan, then off to see relatives in upstate NY. I loved that she would always spend a night or two with me! We would sit up late at night (usually with Kahlua and milk!) and she would tell me stories. She would tell me of her courtship with my grandfather. Visiting an aunts farm and sleeping in the summer kitchen. She'd tell me about raising her family. I can picture her sitting on our chair in the corner, and our dog (a Boxer named Newt) climbing up on Grams lap for some love! She was a dog person!! And I would keep asking questions until the wee hours of the morning! I loved hearing of her life. I made time for her, and she for me.
I was fortunate because I got to know her as an adult. Something most people don't have the opportunity to do with a grandparent. I got to know her far more intimately than I did as a child. And when she came to visit, she taught me how to make Swedish Coffee Bread. She would make it at holidays, and give it away, taking orders from all over the country. It's with sweet memories of late night conversations that I make bread for Easter morning.
|Gram and I (1990)|