I remember my 15th birthday, and for me to remember that far back it must have been something special. Actually, I remember the gift my grandma gave me for that birthday...a charm bracelet. Back in those days charm bracelets were very popular and I desperately wanted one. My birthday was often spent visiting my grandma (my mom's mom) because with an August birthday and a grandma that lived in a big city it just made sense to visit and go birthday/school shopping while there.




My grandma was one of a kind, the kind that loved me more than anyone else ever has, and she wasn't politically correct enough to not tell others that I was her favorite. So naturally when I told her I wanted a charm bracelet that is what she bought me. But this post isn't about the charm bracelet, which I still wear by the way, but it is about my grandma.





Grandma was born Roberta Elaine Marple, the youngest of six. Roberta grew up and married my grandpa, who died before I was born. Through the years Grandma was a bit of a rebel, she married and divorced a man, which was a bit of a scandal in that time. She then married again, and once again became a widow. All through the years though, Grandma was just a grandma to me...didn't matter who she was married to, or even if she was married, she was just grandma.





I remember growing up and visiting her, the minute I walked in the house I always gave her a big kiss..a smacker as she called it, right on the lips. She always said I was a lover, and she liked that. I also remember she always, always, always had Lifesavers candy in her purse, she knew what grandkids liked. Grandma had some little idiosyncrasies that live to this day, things we still mention when we think of her. She had a bad habit of mispronouncing words...Tupperware was too-perware. Mandarin oranges were man-deer-i-an oranges. I will never forget the time she was supposed to come to our house, she lived in Marathon by this time, and she put her salad on the top of her car while she put some other things in the car. Being a bit forgetful she took off for our house without taking the salad off the top of the car! The salad didn't make it out of town, so we didn't have salad with that meal :) There was also the time a police officer was following her, with his lights on for her to stop, and she made it all the way to the corner to turn to our house (about 3 miles) before she realized he was there. Grandma was never the kind of driver that was the "little old lady out for a Sunday drive", she was more the "little old lady out for a drag race!"


The year before she died I was pregnant with my first child. It was Halloween night and Grandma was getting older, having a difficult time getting in and out of her chair. At this time she lived in the retirement apartments in Marathon and she asked me to come to her apartment and hand out candy to the kids at the door, there was just no way she could get up and down so many times and she couldn't stand for that long either. I was 9 days away from having Brian, although I didn't know I was that close at the time, but I was still more agile than she was. About a year later, when Brian was just over a year old, Grandma died. I still remember getting the call from my mom that she had died, I can still picture standing upstairs at the old dial phone listening to my mom tell me the person I loved so very much had died. I was heartbroken. When we went to the funeral and burial we left one-year old Brian with friends...and while we were gone he took his first steps. At first I was upset that he did that without me, but then I realized Grandma had her final hurrah with that...she always did have an ornery streak in her and this was her way of saying good-bye, don't forget me.





When we lived in the old farmhouse by Marathon I would often stand by the sink in the kitchen washing the dishes, and I could feel as though someone was watching me. There was a door in the kitchen that led to the front porch, and it seemed as though someone were standing on the other side of that door looking through the window. I knew who it was, I could feel the presence of Grandma, and I knew she was watching over the new wife and mom that I was, telling me that it would all work out and that things would be okay. When we moved to the Albert City farmhouse I guess she thought I didn't need her anymore because I haven't felt her watching me since. I miss that.





Grandma was a bad driver, she had her cranky moments, she was forgetful...but she loved her family and she loved me especially. Grandma was one of a kind, and I still think about her and miss her every single day. If what they say about heaven is true, that the people up there can look down on the ones they left behind, then I hope Grandma is still watching me. I hope she sees the two great-granddaughters I gave her after she died, and the other great and great-great grandchildren that followed. I hope she knows I named Becky for her (Roberta Elaine became Rebecca Elaine). I hope she knows I miss her. I hope she knows that I secretly treasure that fact that I was her favorite (well, not so secretly perhaps). I hope she knows that our family has a hole where she once was. I hope she knows how much I treasure the things that once belonged to her that I now own. But most of all, I hope she knows while she was on this earth, despite all her bad habits and silly little annoyances, she was loved, even if we never told her enough.





(This post needed to be written, I am wearing my charm bracelet today, which made me want to write this. But, I am also writing it for Jennifer over at Getting Down With Jesus.)

date October 6, 2011

10 comments to “Grandma and the charm bracelet”

  1. pamela
    October 6, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    You gave me goose bumps and tears in my eyes. You described Grandma just the way I remember her. I still have the charm bracelet I got for Christmas when I was about 15 years old. I loved spending time at Grandma's and will always remember when she lived by Sioux City. She drove me down to a neighbors house to play cause they had a girl my age. That was the same week the tornado came through the Ireton farm place.

  1. pamela
    October 6, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    I haven't thought about the lifesavers in years. She always had them. She always had butter rum and the 5 original flavors of livesavers in that little billfold type thing in her purse. To this day butter rum lifesavers are my favorite.

  1. Deb
    October 7, 2011 at 6:54 AM

    Awesome post....great memories. She is watching over all of us.

  1. grandma F
    October 7, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Yes, I do thank you for that wonderful post as I also miss my Mother every day, she was one of a kind for sure. In spite of all her little habits which I still think she did just to see if we were listening. Can I make a couple of corrections though, Grandma was the youngest of her family having 2 older sisters and 3 older brothers. Also the time the cop stopped her by our corner it was for speeding, she had a heavy foot. I believe the time she left the salad on the car it had fallen off while she was still in town. Thank you again for some fond memories, she was a great mother.

  1. Jennifer @ GettingDownWithJesus.com
    October 7, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    So much tenderness here, and I feel somehow like I've been welcomed in to the family reunion. Here you all are -- your family -- in the comment box, all of you remembering. And this is the beauty of these writing projects. With our words, we can unpack old memories, long stored away. And now, they are preserved here for your family. What a gift.

    I found myself laughing out loud at that salad on the top of your grandmother's car. And the way she pronounced "man-deer-i-an" oranges. :) ... Precious!

    I'm so glad you shared your story with TheHighCalling.org and GDWJ communities. And thank you for opening up your "family reunion" to "strangers" who will be stopping by as a result. I've been blessed here tonight. :)

  1. bhsumom
    October 8, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Mom-thanks for the memory jog, I made the corrections :)

    Jennifer-thank you for your kind words! :) Parents have the big job of providing food, clothing, housing and discipline for their kids, but the only job grandparents have to do is love them. I was blessed to have a wonderful grandma and even more blessed that my children have/had 4 grandparents and a great-grandparent to love them.

  1. Shari
    October 10, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    I really liked your comments about Mom. She was a unique person and I don't think I really realized what an impact she had on my life or how much I really loved her.I was the one that put her through a lot of trials and tribulations, but, the love for her was always there even if I wasn't aware of it.She got to know one of my sons, but, not the other. She never got to see him grow him into a fine man-get married to a wonderful woman. I think she would have approved of him and his life.There are days when I wish I could pick up the phone and call her for advice once more. Love you Mom!

  1. Brandee Shafer
    October 11, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    I really loved this post. My favorite part was when you talked about your son's taking his first steps. I believe your grandma watches you, still; I do. Wonderful tribute.

  1. Ann Kroeker
    October 15, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    Delightful vignettes from your Grandmother's life! The salad, the pronunciation quirks, the Lifesavers candies...it's all those concrete details that paint a picture that we can all see--those who knew her can picture her purse and the candies; those who don't know her can envision her clearly.

    This is a lovely contribution to the Community Writing project! I'm so glad to meet you through Jennifer and through this piece.

  1. deb
    November 8, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Awesome Post Kathy!!!!!
    Grandma was a very special ladY!!
    You miss her as much as I miss my Mom. We have some very special memories that will cherish forever. Family and the memories we make with them is something that I cherish everyday!!!!

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