- I grew up thousands of miles away from my Grandma Helen, so I didn't know her very well. That changed in 2002. My husband left me, and as I was trying to put my life back together and start over, my grandparents generously opened ther home to me (as they had for several aunts, uncles and cousins in need over the years). I lived with them for almost a year while I looked for a good job and found some good roommates.
I discovered that my grandmother was an adventurous person -- she hauled her family all over Europe when Grandpa was there in the Airforce, often camping and driving in overcrowded un-airconditioned cars. Doing this she helped instill in my dad a love of great culture, operas, literature, and history -- which he then passed on to me. I know that she planned several other trips that she never got to take because of health problems, and because the people around her weren't quite so adventurous. I know she'd love to ride around Los Angeles in a limo -- standing up and looking out the skylight.
Grandma may pretend tobe overawed by her intelligent grandchildren, but she knows at least two languages, and got a masters degree with several small children at home -- that's not easy to do.
She's an excellent storyteller -- I remember that when I was little she would tell us the most wonderful stories that she made up on the spot. She also loved to read aloud to us, and kept our attention easily with her choice of stories and skill at reading.
She's kind -- she often noticed when I would come home feeling sad, lonely or depressed, and would simply put an arm around me and say that she loved me. She always has compliments ready -- she calls me her beautiful Karen. Even whe I was little I noticed it because she couldn't bear to beat any of her grandchildren at a board game, and would actively cheat to make sure that everybody was happy at the end of the game. (some of the cousins got together one day, and rigged a game of Fantasy Forest so she would beat everybody by a mile, and then MADE her play and win :) )
And now when Grandma's sick, her biggest concern is how not to be a bother to anybody and how to keep people from worrying about her.
I love my Grandma, and the more I get to know her, the more I can see that I can trace many of the things I like about who I am to her influence on my Dad, and myself.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I was writing a tribute to Grandpa, and wanted to link to the tribute I wrote for Grandma in May 2007, but realized that I hadn't posted it on either of my blogs. It's on the Unitus website, but I wanted to have it somewhere handy, so that it'll end up with my other journalling. So without further ado, here it is: