Chapter 16 - Grandma Irene

I always thought everyone had their grandmothers well into their adulthood, but as years went by, I took more notice that my case was not that typical. My friends would exclaim with surprise when they heard both my grandmas were still living, and then their eyes would travel back into time as they shared endearing memories with me. With each sweet story, my gratitude for both my Grandmas would swell.

My Grandma Irene, passed away earlier this year but I had her for 47 wonderful years and I’m grateful for all the memories we shared. There’s no need for condolences, because she lived a blessed, full life and she passed surrounded by family, and honestly that’s all we can hope for.

In honor of what would be her 98th birthday this week, I’m sharing a couple of her wise moments, funny stories and little quirks.

  • If you look in any of my right pockets, in my sweaters, pants or jackets, you’ll find a ready to use Kleenex. This trait of mine is not random, it was learned. Grandma Irene was obsessively methodical and she always had a tissue on hand. Not just a tissue in some random pocket, but in the right pocket. This way she always knew where to look first.

  • She was always so gracious and patient. When my Aunt Colene made a wrong turn and took a longer route, Grandma Irene said, “Well there’s always more than one way to get somewhere.”

  • Every Christmas she was a busy elf, making her famous crocheted kitchen towels for each family member. She’d have her thin white shirt boxes lined up on the back of the couch and on the front box lid would be one of those simple taped Christmas labels with the To and From.

  • When Grandma was getting ready for a trip, short or long, she’d start packing as much as 10 days before. Her small pile of things to not forget began growing and growing in the entrance hallway. I’ll admit, I used to think it was a tad annoying, but as the years have gone on, I’ve found myself doing that more and more. I now can relate. In addition to her packing style, she had a wise saying, “It’s better to have it and not need it, rather than needing it and not having it.”

  • We did not live too far apart from each other and I visited her often to, keep her company, shuttle her to her appointments and do any necessary errands. As she grew more tired and less active, our time together changed, but she still kept her beautiful and fun spirit. During one particular visit, I asked if she needed to go to the store and the only two things she needed were Kleenex and prunes. I laughed loudly that her list seemed pretty boring and we better spice it up! So I suggested we write down vodka, even though we didn’t plan to buy any. She thought it was funny and quickly added the item. You’ll see this particular photo below.

I know she’d be so proud of our new Maine adventure and would be encouraging even though she’d miss our California visits. And… I have a hunch that she’ll be watching over us and enjoying Maine just as much as we are.


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