Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wafer Cookies and Quilts

Now, you may be wondering what these two items have to do with each other.

Well, for me, they are the symbols of my great-grandmothers.

I knew two of my great-grandmothers, which is pretty amazing, if you think about it. Let me start with my Great Grandma Kelly, or GG, on my Mom's side.

I didn't see GG too often, but I remember almost every visit. She knit me my first blanket, which was pink and blue, and I'm pretty sure she absolutely loved me. She was blind almost the entire time I knew her, but that didn't stop her from quilting. She couldn't just sit still; she needed something to do with her hands. So my Grandma would cut out and pin together quilt patterns for her, and she would sew them all on her own, blind. That quilt in the picture up there is my favorite one; she made it for my parents when they got married, and she also made one for both of my older sisters. She never got the chance to make me one, but I love every quilt of hers. I asked if I could use that one because it is my absolute favorite! (The quilt on top is one my Mom made for my 11th birthday!)
Every time we'd go visit GG at the nursing home, I was more and more shy. I didn't like to see my GG get all old and wrinkly, but I would always hug her and kiss her, and she'd always hug me and kiss me back. She was such a tough little old lady. Her birthday was 2 days before mine. She died right before she would have turned 102, and I remember when my Mom came upstairs and told me the news. I was sad, but I didn't think about it too much. I was happy she lived so long and had gotten to see all but four of her great-grandchildren.
At the funeral, I found out for the first time that GG's name was not Gigi, as I had always assumed it was, but Kelly! GG was the name she gave herself when my oldest sister was born!
It didn't realy hit me how sad losing GG was until I noticed my mom was crying as she looked at the pictures of GG from so long ago. I realized that GG had been my mom's grandmother, and of course she missed her!
I didn't really cry until my two older sisters got up and tearfully remembered GG's kisses she'd give us on every visit.
I loved my GG. I miss her, but I am so grateful I got to know her.

My Great-Grandma Lorene on my dad's side, I saw a whole lot more often, and I have a lot more memories of her. She lived in her own house for a long time, next door to her sister, Leona. We would visit her every time we were in town, and every, single time, she would give us wafer cookies.
I love those things.
They're disgusting and oily and sugary, and every single time I taste one, I remember being two feet tall standing in Gramma's kitchen, answering her many interested questions about my life and waiting patiently for her to offer me something yummy (which she always did. Without fail.)
She spoiled us all rotten, especially my brother Joseph (Earl), because he was named after her husband (Earl).
I remember when she finally had to be moved to the nursing home, she'd always give one of us (usually Joe) the stuffed animals or candy she won at Bingo. She gave us all the furniture we wanted from her old house, which I loved. She had the BEST chairs : ).
Talking about tough cookies...she was hospitalized because of a serious problem in her digestive track. The doctors told my grandparent's they had two choices; they could make her comfortable until she passed away, or they could operate, which she might not recover from.
Great-Grandma did recover, but she died peacefully in her room a few weeks later of a heart attack.
Great-Grandma's funeral was so hard. I had known her so much better than GG, and she touched so many lives. My dad's cousin cried the most, I remember. I had never met her before, but I could tell right away just how much she loved my Gramma.
Every time I see wafer cookies, I think of Great-Grandma.

I loved them so much. I hold in my heart their love and their gifts and their lives.

May God bless them and may they rest in peace.

1 comment:

  1. I wish that I would have been able to really get to know my great-grandmothers. I did meet one when I was really small, and, amazingly, I remember bits and pieces. Whether these memories are real, or just pictures that I've seen and such doesn't matter to me because they make me feel closer to her. As for quilts, my grandma makes tons of quilts and I love them so much because I know that she loves us enough to make them even though she can't see very well. And my grandma Mary covered the sweet treats for me. I remember that she, instead of making a cake, made me pumpkin pie for my birthday because she knew that it was my favorite. I miss her :( But she's in heaven now :)