Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy 94th Birthday GRAM!!

Today my beautiful, wise, talented Grandmother is 94 years old. She still lives in her own home, is the official caretaker for her 92 year old live-in boyfriend, Walter, 2 dogs, assorted cats and numerous plants.

She came to be my Grandmother through a rather unconventional method. My Grandpa adopted 2 kids, my mom and her adopted brother, with his first wife who very quickly abandoned them all. Gram entered the picture 7 years later as part of a business arrangement. Grandpa would financially support Gram and her invalid mother and she, in turn, would raise his two motherless and somewhat wild children. Into a home that was lonely and bleak Gram brought flowers and pets and music and literacy, Shakespeare and faith and most importantly, love. Even though her own mother passed away within the first year of the arrangement Gram stayed on and she and Grandpa lived and loved together until Grandpa died in 1980. Theirs was a "love comes softly" affair and a sweet one. He called her "Momma" and adored her despite being 20 years her senior.

My mom always said that Gram saved her life and she most likely did, though sometimes events are too painful to re-tell and are best left unspoken. Suffice it to say that Gram provided a safe haven for Mom to grow and thrive in and Mom was able to thrive and grow and live a beautifully productive life because of it.

When mom graduated from high school and wanted to go to college but Grandpa said that college was for boys, Gram went to work and paid mom's tuition at a private college. She worked full time for decades after that and despite a formal education that ended at 8th grade made excellent money and earned many promotions at an international phone company, purchased by Verizon years later, making her stock investments an even bigger deal. She's a sharp cookie. And opinionated.

She is talented and strong. In my mind always, though lately she''s a bit more frail. Gram's greatest delight has always been her family, piece mealed and cobbled together though it may have been. She has outlived her devoted husband, her two children that were her joy, her oldest grand-daughter whom she cherished and countless pairs of dogs. I know if I call her, her strong and gentle voice will answer. She'll say, "I love you, Baby," even though I'm kissing 50 and I will imagine the smell of her kitchen- skeins of yarn and knitting and kittens and coffee. Warmth and opinionated conversation and books and pets and plants and most of all, love.

My Gram has loved me my whole life. No matter what I've done or not done or left undone or overdone. Just doesn't matter. She's just flat out loved me. She knows my name. And I love her.

Happy Birthday, Dear Gram!!
and many, many more!


Tina said...

We must be drinking the same tear-inspiring tea this week. That was beautiful. I also have a "broken" family that was put back together from those of different blood. She sounds like and amazing and inspirational woman. Just, lovely.

Diane said...

She sounds like a wonderful woman. Thanks for sharing this story with us. Very touching!

Anonymous said...

94! Wow! Happy Birthday to your sweet Gram!

jonnia said...

So sweet - I have tears and a big grin after reading. Hope she enjoys a wonderful birthday!

Redradtech said...

What a wonderful lady!! Would love to know her personally