Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Grandma! You are missed!

Today is my Grandma's birthday. She's been gone 4-1/2 months now and still deeply missed. There are so many times I started a letter to her with a cute kid story...only to remember she was no longer with us in person.

My aunt went through old slides of my grandparents and digitized them. What a wonderful treasure...THANK YOU Aunt Carol!

I'd never seen this picture of my grandmother before. She grew up in a world that I often thought was so old fashioned but I now realize was so rich in history.

She grew up in a large family in West Virginia. I believe she's the little girl in the front row in the plaid skirt. She was the youngest daughter with 9 siblings.

She met her husband when he was in her hometown working as an engineer on the Bluestone Dam. They had a 50 year marriage!

She had a great laugh! That's my Aunt Carol behind her. :)

Next to God, family was the most important thing in her life.

She loved it as her family grew. My sister is the baby on Grandma's lap and I'm the little girl in front. I think I was jealous that Kristin got to sit on Grandma's lap!

Here she is at my parent's wedding. My dad's parents had both died by this point and my grandmother took my dad in as her own. They had such a great mother-in-law/son-in-law relationship. And, wasn't my mom a beautiful bride?

Holding me! :)

My grandmother made so many outfits for us when we were little. I'm in the yellow dress and Kristin is in the blue. Kristin went through a phase where she would LITERALLY look UP when someone said "Look up for the picture!" Isn't she cute!?

And a little less cute with those 80's hair and XXXL sweaters! Grandma lived with my parents for years after I graduated from college. I loved coming home to not just my parents, but my grandmother was well. She took such good care of packages at college, our favorites foods when we came home to visit, always a craft project on which she wanted our help. And see Eric poking his there in back. He was her ONLY grandson. And did she ever dote on him. She lived with my family during his teenage years and they had an amazingly special relationship. The only time I've ever seen him cry was at her funeral when he got up to talk about his special grandmother.

This is my favorite picture of my grandparents. This is how they look in my mind. A few years after this picture was taken, my grandfather got sick and his health went downhill for 8 years. My grandmother had a tough road during those years as she struggled to keep him at home and maintain his care.

And speaking of my grandfather, I just love this picture! (Yup, me again!) My grandfather was so insanely smart that he could have been very intimidating. He taught college phyics in his spare time and was an electrical engineer at GE working on the first generation of color TV. I was smart enough to never even TAKE college physics! :)

This is my mom's graduation from Wheaton College. My grandmother watched 2 of her kids and 3 of her grandkids graduate from this same college. I believe the story was that she wanted to go to college but her father saw no need to educate girls beyond high school. Education was very important to her and she was so very proud of all the various degrees her kids and grandkids earned.

And how could I mention my grandma without thinking of SNOW....lots and lots and lots of SNOW!

Christmas was her favorite time of year. I still have this dollhouse in my house. It's now 30 years old (gulp!) and in pretty rough shape, but I can't bear to part with it! My grandparents put it together by hand and I remember my grandmother's willingness to get down on the floor and play with us. Christmas was a magical time with emormous amounts of food, gifts and laughter.
Thanks, Carol, for unearthing these awesome pictures!!! What a great walk down memory lane! My grandmother is missed but my faith tells me I will see her again. Our family is so fortunate to have had such a strong foundation.


Sandra said...

What an awesome tribute to your lovely grandmother. Isn't the digital world grand??

Carol said...

Thanks so much for putting these memories together and posting them. I miss her dearly too.

The Morris Family said...

What a wonderful post filled with so many happy memories of your grandmother (and grandfather). So great that you have digital copies of all of those photos now- what treasures!

Tammie said...

What a beautiful testament to your grandmother Gretchen! I'm sure that she is up there smiling down upon you & her chickadees.

Kathy Coleman Wood said...

Gretchen, we're related. I'm not sure we've ever met, but I feel sure I met your grandmother. My granddad was her oldest brother, Bill. I loved the old family photo... it's not one I've seen before. I was born in 1955, and I have a very hazy memory of my great grandfather Coleman.

I've connected with your Aunt Carol through Facebook and she mentioned your post. It really is a lovely tribute to a very special woman. I miss my Coleman grandparents too.