Monday, January 2, 2012

A Tribute to My Grandma Ann

Some days it really hits me how much I miss my Grandma.  She's been gone a few years now, but today while cleaning out a stock pile of old Christmas cards, I came across one from her.  Probably one of the last she sent.   First it made me laugh and then it made me cry.

Grandma had a thing for Lulu.  She would address most cards to both of us and would always ask how she was doing, like she was her great-grandchild. :)  She had a wicked sense of humor, too.  I have to write what she wrote in the card:

I suppose you know they gave me a new walker.  It was such a surprise. Besides easier to navigate, it also comes with a flip down seat. Just ask any time you wish to use it.  I could offer Lulu a ride in the basket under the seat, but know she'll refuse.

She seriously cracked me up.

 She was a very interesting woman.  We often didn't know something about her until she would randomly tell us and surprise everyone.  Like the time she told us her name really wasn't Patricia Ann.  WHAT?!?  How is that just coming out now, when you're almost 90?  Her given name was Volasta Anoushka.  But her parents decided one year that they should all Americanize their names.  The closest translation to Volasta was Patrick, so she chose Patricia.  And since she went by Annie (from Anoushka), she chose Ann as her middle name.  We were all in shock when she told this story, and laughing because it was so ridiculous that we didn't know this!

When I was traveling a lot for my job, she wrote me a letter that to this day is my favorite letter I've ever received from anybody.  She was talking about how different travel today is from travel when she was young.  She wrote about how she and a friend once took a train trip to California.  The dining car was very crowded and the porter asked if he could seat two gentleman with them for dinner.  Of course they obliged - the boys were good looking!  The girls had such a wonderful time with the boys that they made plans to hang out in San Francisco.  They boys bought them an amazing dinner on the wharf and they drank sweet wine into the wee hours.  She said it was one of the best and most memorable trips of her life.

Again, nobody knew that story, and I felt so special that she had shared it with me.  I brought it to the first Mothers Day that she wasn't around to share it with my Mom and other Grandma.  It was a hit.

Grandma Ann really liked to gamble.  She shared this addiction with her oldest grandchild, Kristen.  And only Kristen; it was their special time together.  They would take the bus up to Central City and play the slots.  Then she'd give all of her winnings to Kristen.

Growing up, Kristen and I always liked visiting Grandma Ann.  She had tons of coloring books in the cabinet under the tv for us.  She'd let us watch tv in the other room while the grown-ups talked and smoked in the dining room with the main tv.  We'd play in the back yard and under the car port.  She'd let me paw through her jewelry drawer.  She rarely made us eat something we didn't like.  There was always chocolate somewhere in her house.  She'd also take us to the Senior Center for lunch and we'd have chipped beef on toast.  Though I'm sure it's actually a disgusting tasting food now, it's a wonderful memory I have of my time with her.

Grandma married rather late in life.  In her day and age, she would have probably been considered an old maid.  But she obviously loved my Grandpa very much.  He died in 1977.  She wore her wedding ring until the day she died and never dated anybody else.  She was buried next to him, their names on opposite sides of the same headstone.  She was always faithful to him.

That's what my tattoo says in Polish.  My cousin got the same tattoo but hers is specifically in honor of our Grandpa (from the other side of the family), who died a few months before my Grandma.  It reminded her of him.  For me, it had slightly different significance.  The words made me think of the relationships of both sets of grandparents.  They were always faithful to each other.  My tattoo is in honor of all of them.  Zawsze Wierni.

Love you and miss you always Grandma.

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