Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Character Remembered

My Gram
My Gram passed away last September. If she'd lived, she'd be 100 years old today. I, for one, thought she'd live forever and would not have been surprised at all if she'd done just that.

At her memorial service, my cousins stood up and recounted fun (and funny) Gram memories, and during that time I felt the eyes of my own daughter and my brothers upon me as they good-naturedly reminded me of how similar Gram and I are. Or were. Cut from the same cloth. This pleases me. My Gram was a character! And if I'm at all like her, I'm proud of it.

Getting through Gram's memorial service and burial was do-able. But it wasn't long after I was home alone again that I had a total cry-fest meltdown of titanic proportions. I slept the day away, got up for a few hours, melted down Big Time, and slept for another twelve. And afterwards I felt so fragile that wearing clothes was like being dressed in sandpaper....

Gram and I weren't close -- ours wasn't the kind of grandchild/grandmother relationship that I secretly imagined my other cousins enjoyed -- so my only explanation for this meltdown is this: I think I realized that this interesting character who had always been in my life was now really truly gone, and that my window of opportunity to learn from her was closed now forever.

I'm a grandmother now. Since the birth of my own grandbug two years ago I've been hyperfocused on grandparenting in all its forms; I want to be the best I can be. My maternal Grandma was the doily-crocheting, mitten-knitting, breadbaking type who smelled like face powder and always wore a dress with an apron and wouldn't leave home without a hat and carried bus tokens in her patent leather purse. My paternal Gram wore jodhpurs and boots and woolen shirts, worked a farm and drove a hard bargain, and could shoot a bear and dress it too (and did, in fact)....

City Mouse. Country Mouse. Two extremes. Two powerful role models.

I want to be like them both, maybe somewhere in the middle. When I admitted this to a friend recently, she said, "This whole granny thing isn't YOU. You have to reinvent the role!"

That got me thinking.... About becoming a bread-knitting, mitten-baking (that's right), granny oddmother who wears leather work gloves and smells like a cosmetics counter, keeps theatre stubs in her Carhartts and dresses bears in dresses. The whole idea appeals to me like crazy, and I've since decided it's high time I claim my inheritance proper and become the character I was meant to be.

It's the right thing to do after all. :)
(Miss you, Gram. Happy birthday. Love, Punky.)


  1. Delayne -- I am captivated by all of this, (and can't stop imagining mitten-baking,) your two Grandmas do sound like characters -- and you sound more than equipped to carry on their legacy in a way that's uniquely yours. What a lucky grand-bug you have! And birthday wishes to your Gram...

  2. Thank you, Kate! I've got big work boots/sensible shoes to fill if I'm going to be a fraction of the Character my grandmothers were. Perhaps I should've started sooner! :D