When I saw that this Saturday, July 23rd , is Gorgeous Grandma day it caused my thoughts to turn to my maternal grandmother. My memories of my grandma are very few, because my gorgeous grandma died suddenly of a heart attack when I was only 4 years old. Up until that day she was a very active and important part of my life.
My grandmother’s name was Ora Mae. I think that’s a beautiful name. It’s an old name; I’ve never known anyone else named Ora. She was born at home in 1901, one of nine children. Home was a farm in a rural area of Maries County, Missouri.
Grandma married my grandpa, Avery, at the age of 18 and together they had 5 daughters. They never had very much in the way of material possessions, but they were content. They both worked hard, Grandma taking care of the home and the children while Grandpa found whatever work he could. My memories of Grandpa’s work were of him driving a stock truck into St. Louis. My sister, Carol and I loved looking at the cows or pigs in the truck and we really loved getting to ride along with him to put sawdust in the truck for the animals.
When Carol and I were very young Mom started working outside the home and we stayed with Grandma. I loved spending time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It always felt so safe and secure with them. My younger sister, Kathy, was born after Grandma passed away so she was never able to experience the joy of knowing her.
I can remember Grandma letting Carol and I go out to the garden and pick our own little watermelon. How we loved that! We sat outside and ate it with the juice running down our arms and dripping from our elbows.
I only remember getting in trouble with Grandma one time and I deserved it. For some reason I didn’t want to eat the egg she had made for breakfast and I promptly took my plate, crawled under the table and spilled the egg on the floor! For that little stunt I promptly received swats on the bottom. With no lasting damage to my psyche because of the swats I might add!
I remember family get-togethers at Grandma’s house. The men turning the handle on the ice cream maker while the women cooked and chattered and the kids played. We ran around barefoot, drank from the garden hose, played tag and caught lightening bugs.
Grandpa and Grandma were kind people. They never would have turned away a hungry person, even though times were lean. My mom remembers homeless men coming to the door during the depression and asking if they could work for food. Grandma would instruct them in some work they could do and then give them a home cooked meal.
Grandma and Grandpa weren’t fancy people; they were country folk. Good, hard working and kind people. They loved God and went to church every Sunday. My young memories are of a small white Methodist church that sat on the corner in our small rural town.
I remember Grandma doing laundry on an old wringer washer in the basement. And I remember falling down those basement stairs! I was so afraid of that washer; it was the wringer I found so terrifying. I’m not really sure why now.Do you have special memories of time spent with your grandma? Be sure & let her know just how… Click To Tweet
One day in October 1959 Grandma wasn’t feeling very well and she stayed in bed. In a small town in those days the doctor made house calls. He was called, but it was too late, my precious grandmother died from a heart attack at the age of 58.
And all of our lives were changed forever. My grandpa, mom and aunts were grief stricken. That is the only time I remember seeing my grandpa cry. And my safe and secure days with my grandma were gone forever.
My young aunt was the only one of the daughters that was still at home, so she took over as the woman of the house; cooking and cleaning. And life slowly moved on.
Grief is a lifelong process. You don’t just get over the loss of a loved one. As time passes grief becomes more bearable and you begin to heal and to slowly find joy in life once again. But a song, or a place, or the holidays, can bring the pain of the loss you’ve suffered flooding back. My mom has missed her mother terribly through the years and now with only one sister still living; she comments to me frequently how much she misses talking to her sisters.
I wish that Grandma had lived much longer and that I had many more memories of her. The ones I do have are treasured.
What special memories do you have of your grandmother?
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