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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Grandma Nancy


Five years ago this weekend my grandma, Nancy, passed away. Even though I only saw her once or twice a year, I still miss her very much. So, this weekend I decided to take a trip down memory lane and remember all the things that made her so wonderful to me.

Grandma was a product of the generation that survived and thrived on their thriftiness and determination. In her frugality, she almost never threw anything out. For my bridal shower she wrapped my gift in wrapping paper she saved from my parents wedding shower 21 years earlier. In an effort to try and save money she would dry her clothes on the line rather than use her dryer, even in the winter. We all laughed when she seemed offended that the night air had dared to freeze her load of towels. Ironically, her outdoor freezer was her most prized possession. She believed hat freezing food gave it a shelf life of forever and that in turn saved her more money. She once froze left overs from Sonic and a near empty bag of Doritos for my cousins and brought it back out when they returned for a visit, 6 months later. "Waste not, want not" was her mantra. We once caught her eating moldy cheese, because it was perfectly good in her opinion and we often joke that it was that cheese and the rusted Slim-fast cans (which she was content to wipe "clean") that did her in.

I have fond memories of all of us sitting around playing cards; her, with her special egg nog, smirking over her cards and giving my dad knowing glances across the table as they tried to cheat. Even her chiding us for putting our hands on the walls or elbows on the table is sweet now. Not only did hands and elbows have proper places, but so did most everything else. She hung and shook her head at me when I said that the toilet paper went over the roll... or was that under. We even dubbed her the "Camp Nazi" after we had a camping trip to celebrate her birthday. She was ordering everyone around and remarking on everything from how to properly sweep a campsite to how much homemade Kahlua should be added to her coffee. She took to her nickname quite well. And even though she was a tough, no nonsense woman she was still brought to tears as she looked at all her grandchildren around the campfire and thanked us for such a wonderful birthday gift.

In many ways I am like her. Although I am way too practical for white carpet, I love architecture and one day hope to design and build my dream home, like she did. I have an affinity for black and white. I'm stubborn and I'm pretty strict when it comes to making my kids clean their plates. and I don't mind it at all when my parents jokingly refer to me as Nancy, after all she was beloved by her family.

I still get sad to think she missed the birth of her first great grandchild by 9 days. I had been pretty sure that as we drove away from her house that last Christmas and I watched her standing by her mailbox in the rear view mirror, that it would be the last time I saw her. I held out hope that she would make it till my due date and even though Levi showed up 5 weeks early, it wasn't soon enough for her. Five years later there are 6 great-grandchildren and one more on the way, and she won't meet any of them. But we will tell them all about her. How she made the best canned apricots, always had a jar of Maraschino cherries in the fridge, put shredded carrots in her Jell-o, wore a sea foam green, chiffon, toga dress to my wedding, gave her dog a queen sized bed, and loved all things Chinese. We'll tell them about our summers on the lake, boating and sea-dooing and the conflicts over running the AC when the low was in the 90's, about the glitter in the popcorn ceilings, the times she realized she should stick to giving us kids cash instead of clothes (I got a fabulous cat sweatshirt, complete with glittered whiskers, when I was 14) and the dollar bill she would send each of us on every holiday. These memories and so many others will continue to keep her alive in our hearts.

Love and miss you Grandma!

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