I have been researching my family history for awhile now, and many times I've thought to myself, "How did this story not get passed down?" These are usually big things, like knowing Abraham Lincoln or escaping after being captured by Native Americans. When given this theme, though I decided to write about an ancestor I'll never forget, and the little things that made her memorable. Not a day goes by when I don't think of this woman. In fact, I usually think about her many times every day. And though I think about her a lot, I have found it difficult to write about my mom because it's hard to type with tears in my eyes.
Mom died in 2007 after having a bilateral lung transplant. She had an undiagnosed problem that made her lungs kind of brittle. No one could tell her what caused this, but I have my own theory. She worked in a bindery and they used aerosolized glues to stick things together. There was one in particular that no one wanted to use because it smelled so badly. But my mom, whose coworkers affectionately called "Saint Shea," would go in a room, shut the door, and spray that nasty stuff so no one else had to smell it.
Now that I am a grandparent to two very special kids, I remember how my mom handled this role. When she left us, there were 7 kids who would never forget her either. They each wrote letters to her that were gently placed in the casket along with a little SpongeBob SquarePants toy. I don't know what the kids wrote to her, but I'm sure it was deeply felt. For her wake, we made a poster which included each of the kids' favorite memories of their Granny, and I thought I would share those here along with some pictures that show just how special she was.
Mom, you set the Granny bar pretty high, but I'm trying!
From Jen, who was 18:
-I remember singing lots of songs with Granny when I was little.We would go for lots of walks around Granny and Grandpa's neighborhood.
-Granny always made sure that each grandkid had their own crayons and other craft supplies in their own boxes.
-Granny made lots of food that my mom doesn't make: chocolate and lemon pies, salad with Wishbone Italian dressing, and good French toast and eggs. She always had ice cream.
-Granny and Grandpa would always take me fun places.
-Granny would cook each of us our own meal if we wanted her to.
-Granny would always take me out for my birthday and spend the day with me doing whatever I wanted to do.
-Granny would call me every so often and see how I was doing. She was always helpful, and she always told me she was proud of my accomplishments.
-Granny always told me she loved me. . . always.
From Kristin, who was 16:
-Granny always told me stories about when she was younger and all the silly things she did.
-I remember when we went to the park for a school spirit rally and we had goofy blue and yellow makeup running down our faces from the rain.
-I remember all the plays and musicals we would perform for Granny and make her watch them each a dozen times.
-After a fun night at Granny's, the next morning when we got picked up, we would wave to her and she would dance around and be goofy and have us laughing the whole way home.
-On my way over to Granny's one day a bee got in the car and stung me. I was hysterical by the time I got over there and she managed to calm me down and make it feel better.
-I remember when I would stay the night at Granny's and I would sometimes have her put rollers in my hair so I could be like her.
-I remember going out to eat with Granny every year for my birthday.
-Granny always went all-out for holidays. Every occasion we would have extravagant meals that she would perfectly schedule to the minute.
-When I was upset Granny always made me feel better and put a smile on my face.
From Jessica, who was 14:
-We'd play dress-up and Granny would video tape us doing the randomest plays like the Nutcracker.
-We'd play board games and games on the computer.
-She would cook us whatever we wanted.
-She'd take us shopping for our birthdays she she made holidays fun.
-Random arts and crafts and Barbie coloring books.
From Tara, who was 14:
-She made the best food, especially burritos & fried chicken.
-Holidays at her house were fun.
-She would always videotape our plays, even when she didn't want to.
-We used to always walk to "the wall" and the "jungle rocks."
-She taught me how to ride a bike with no training wheels.
-She would always sleep in the room with us when we spent the night.
-She always played games & played in the basement with us.
-She would take me shopping & out to eat on my birthday.
-She always had good advice for me.
-Two words: Thanksgiving Pies.
From Emily, who was 13:
-Watching Barney the dinosaur when I was little.
-Playing "dress up"
-Performing plays with Tara and having Granny videotape them.
-Playing with the Barbie's and the Polly Pockets in the playroom.
-Yummy food: Chocolate and lemon pies, fudge bars, mac and cheese, colorful pancakes, chocolate milk and iced tea, black olives, and strawberries and watermelon with sugar.
-Playing on the computer.
-Making masks for no reason.
-Singing Wicked (the musical) songs for her.
-Getting baths in the kitchen sink when I was little.
-Having her sleep in the extra bedroom with us because we were scared.
-Making "forts" between the two beds.
-Playing with paper dolls.
-Watching Mary-Kate and Ashley movies with her.
-Spending the night when mom and dad were on trips.
From Evan, who was 8:
-She always watched SpongeBob SquarePants on TV with me.
-She always listened to what I had to say.
-She always made me buttered noodles and salad.
-She would have light saber fights with me & let me win.
-She would play PetWorld with me.
-She always made the holidays special.
-She always bought me stuff for no reason.
-She always had gum & lemon drops in her kitchen drawer.
-She enjoyed the stories I wrote.
-We always snuggled and read Star Wars books together.
-My granny was always special to me and I will miss her.
From Beck, who was 6:
-Making different colored pancakes.
-Reading in the bathtub.
-Playing baseball in the basement and always tagging her out.
-Fun arts and crafts.
-Yummy food: mac and cheese, egg whites, black olives, watermelon and strawberries.
-Her chasing Evan and I on our bikes.
-Playing in the playroom.
-Watching her act silly when we were driving away.
-Having a bath in the kitchen sink as a baby.
-Playing Pet World and Sorry!
-Having her videotape us doing plays and having fun.
-Watching SpongeBob and NHL Hockey games all the time.
-Playing on the swing set outside.