Mylanta. I have no idea how to start a blog like this so bear with me.
My grandma, Olga Marie, passed away today. I wanted to share some memories with you.
I remember spending time with my grandparents when I was little. They had a HUGE yard in a Chicago suburb where we spent a few weekends picking raspberries, learning how to garden, pulling seeds out of sunflowers and playing under the willow tree or by the creek. My siblings and I used to call her Grandma AHH-OOO-GAH! I’m not sure she ever knew that, but it always had us laughing.
I remember having dessert there. Grams would often serve it with Cool Whip. She would give the remaining to my little sister who would proceed to eat right out of the container with a spoon. One thing I have to say, is she always accepted us, quirks and all. She even saw the good in the creepy doll puppet Chuckie! She had one, pre-creepiness, sitting on her living room shelf that always gave us a chuckle.
She made amazing costumes and outfits for my siblings and I. She could sew and knit amazing things (See pictures throughout the blog).
When I was about 10, Grams and Gramps moved from Chicago back to Ohio to be closer to their friends and other family. We visited once and a while, but we weren’t as close as I would have liked.
Then one summer after college, my Gramps had his knee replaced. I decided I would go help and stay there for 4 or 5 weeks. I packed up and headed out. It was during this time that I really got to know my grandparents and came to admire them like never before.
I realized my grams was my absolute biggest supporter. She wanted my siblings and I to be something. Sure, she got most excited about it being something fame related, but no matter what journey I was on from wanting to own a daycare to becoming an opera singer, she was always excited for me.
I’ll never forget how excited she was when my little brother was on the TV show “One Tree Hill” as an extra. It was a small role but made her so happy for him. She brought up him “starring” in the show for years to come. She was always proud of us.
Grams taught me how to knit. I never really got the full hang of doing it the “correct” way being that I have to hold one needle between my knees. Grams worked tirelessly to figure out my way of knitting so she could help fix my mistakes over the phone and teach me different stitches and techniques using my flawed logic.
Grams was the master at Arcade Claw Machines. Seriously. I can’t remember her ever, EVER, walking up to one and not winning. Have you won once? Ever?
She and I were kindred spirits in a way. We both struggled with religion, loved crafts, took pride in figuring things out ourselves, and most of all shared a love for music.
During the summer I stayed there, subsequent visits, and during her two plus years at the nursing homes, we often shared our music with each other. She would have me listen to Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Pasty Cline. I would play her music such as Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Lady Antebellum and Mumford and Sons. Sometimes the music I played was well received and, well, sometimes it failed miserably!
And no matter how off key I sang, or how shy and quiet I was, she loved to hear me sing. She was one of the few people I didn’t have stage freight in front of. Sometimes, we even sang songs like Rose Colored Glasses or You Are My Sunshine together.
Grams was an excellent proofreader. She worked as a typesetter and proofreader for Merril Printing Company, a subsidiary of the Chicago Tribune. She often also corrected my grandpa’s articles before he would submit something to the local newspaper. Something, as you can see from this blog also tied us together, however, I probably could have used her proofreading skills!
We talked about everything. I mean everything. She knew all my hopes and dreams. She told me everything about her childhood and her memories. We talked for hours and hours on end the summer I stayed with her. A little gossip, a little about TV shows, a little about knitting or our hobbies. Sometimes about our wishes for life and even death. Sometimes we talked ourselves out, but now I wish I had asked more.
Part of the conversation always was asking how my mom, grandparents, my mom’s family (especially my cousin Jen) and even my friends were. We talked about politics, sexual orientation, guys, everything. She may have commented on people’s looks, or lifestyle, but it was always more of an observation than a judgment. To me she was a person who loved everyone, no matter what their choices in life were.
Of course, our conversations also led to a lot of debates. The two of us could go rounds once and a while. It was always in good spirits and she often won.
But by far, the thing my family and I will remember most about my grams is the love her and my gramps had for each other. It was and is not comparable to any relationship I’d ever seen on TV or in real life. They were married 63 years. He always stood by her side. I can still hear her calling for “Larry!” Life wasn’t always kind to them, and they had more than their share of heartbreak, but luckily they had each other to get through the more trying times.
Over the past two years, my grandpa sat bedside with my grandma every. single. day. Right up until today, he always gave her a “peck” before leaving a room, even if it was just to take a walk or grab lunch.
So if you made it this far, thank you for sharing in her memory with me. She was a pretty darn amazing grams and I will miss her with all my heart.
And grams- I promise to be someone. Probably not famous because geesh like you, I’m not a fan of extra attention, but I’ll be someone who you and I can both be proud of. I’ll follow my dreams and not look back. Thank you for always believing in me, encouraging me, and loving me.
Love you always and forever.
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