Thursday, June 07, 2012

05.13.1923 to 05.25.2012

I'm back from Grandma Jay's memorial. It was perfect funeral weather, freezing cold with drizzling rain. We huddled together at the graveside under the awning for warmth.The service was lovely detailing her life dedicated to service to her church, community, and the Temperance Union.

There I learned a few things about her that I didn't know. That the pamphlets about the evil of drinking that came in my birthday cards every year instead of money- she wrote them. I knew that she got published everywhere, anyhow she could. Magazine articles, original recipes in cookbooks, children stories, but it never occurred to me that those were her work too. An over sight on the part of a child looking for cash among the Don't Do Drugs leaflets.

The service was lovely but didn't cover much of her life as I knew it so I'll share a few things here.

She was interested in fairness. So much so that at Christmas we grandchildren all received the same present. Age 5 or 20 it didn't matter. That's how at age 10 I received an AirBake cookie sheet, oven mitts, and a recipe box full of blank cards. This is from the grandma that can't cook. It wasn't so much that she couldn't cook but that she was inventing new recipes to submit to the next contest to possibly win and to have another recipe published. To do that she was inventive and would serve her trials no matter how they turned out. Some were spectacular, so I've been told, but I don't remember them.

It's because of her one size fits all presents that I received a stamp collecting book the next year. One of my cousins wanted it. I enjoyed the soaking of exotic stamps off of letters sent to my parents and the clear sticky tabs. Grandma bought the 50 state bird stamps for each of us and mailed them one at a time on a letter or card. That's something else about her. She liked birding and kept a life birding list.

My brother and I spent a week with her and Grandpa every summer. She didn't play with us but she did tell great stories. The Tumble Fairy and her antics was my favorite. She had a roll of paper attached to a wall. I think it was to feed through her manual typewriter so she never had to stop to put in a new page but to me it was drawing heaven.

She couldn't throw paper away. She had piles and stacks of papers and books next to her favorite chair. The stacks reached as high as the TV tray she kept at her elbow to hold her drink, pens, and highlighters.

The pastor and his intern spoke with awe about her bible and how every passage was marked with highlighter. They called it a work of art and dedication. A cousin and I snicked at this. She did read her bible every day and not only was every passage highlighted it was color coded with a key in the front. This book was very important to her.

That's not what made us laugh but that Grandma highlighted everything! The rules of a game? Highlighted. Giving the game as a gift? It would be unwrapped and the rules highlighted before being given to us in case we were to miss the important parts. The cookbook that she gave me and every woman in her family- All highlighted. Words were important to her.

I was given a packet of her photos after the service. I had hoped to get a photo of her. Instead they were all of me. Photos where she had written captions in a journalistic style and even if they had other people in the photo the captions were all about me. She had done this with everyone.

There is so much more to say but words are beginning to fail me. I'll wrap this up with the words she used most of all. "I appreciate you and I love you."

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