Monday, November 25, 2013


February 1984, sitting in a dark den on Kibbee street on my Gramie's lap with the soft glow the television being the only light in the room. Sitting in a big over sized white armchair that belonged to my Kankad in the room that had been converted to a den of sorts. We sat watching together Scott Hamilton win the Olympic gold that night. I can still see it in my head, later in our pajama's I would snuggle up to her back in her big king sized bed.

me snuggled up next to Gramie while she holds Carrie

Gramie was the best friend of my youth, she called me her shadow. Widowed in January 1981, she leaned on me heavily and I leaned back, she was a stability in my life. Often I would chose to stay the night at her house, she would sleep with the hall light on and I would snuggle up on the clean pressed sheets next to her, safe and sound. The next morning, I would get up and she would make me eggs of any kind, pancakes and sausage, orange juice before driving me to school in her big brown Cadillac. ( just like the one the Dad on the new ABC show the Goldbergs drives)

Matching shirts even!

She took me to Kansas with her for a whole month in the summer of 1985 to see her mom. Her name was Muriel which in their Kansas accent was ''Merle''. Growing up in Pittsburg, Kansas in a very humble home, raised with mid-western principles and goodness. Many don't know but I went to school saying, ''warsh'' instead of wash.

She worked only one job in her life getting paid .25 cents an hour to pay for her wedding dress. She loved my Kankad until death they did part and beyond, she lived 22 years past his death and never got over it.

HA! Gram's paddle. Like she would ever spank us! She spoiled us almost to the extent it was NOT okay!

Mother of four, grandmother of five, great grandmother of five before her death. She lived for her family and being a mom and grandmother. She took care of all five of her grandchildren on a daily basis for many years carting us all back and forth to school daily.

She wore a beehive hairdo for most of my youth, we spent many a weekday in the Gilded Cage with her hairdresser Debbie get her hair sprayed to perfection. She liked country music, clogging, dancing, traveling, smoking. She smelled of Doublemint gum and Avon's Intrigue. She spent much of her adult life battling her weight and was a Weight Watcher lifetime member.

Reading the National Enquirer and Good Housekeeping was an art. She watched her ''shows'' aka as soaps every afternoon for my entire life. She indulged me, buying me lots of books on the Royal family, dresses with puffed sleeves and books galore.

In the grocery store checkout line, she could gab anyones ear off, stranger or not! I remember cringing at her as she talked to strangers. So embarrassing! she would talk for hours and hours to anyone that would listen! She was definitely midwest friendly never truly becoming a Californian. She just lived there, she was Kansas through and through.

She often lamented she was the black sheep of her family having very strained relations with her brothers. They never were fond of her because their father spoiled his little girl and made them work hard. No matter how hard she tried, she just couldnt fix relations. She was extremely sensitive, often getting her feelings hurt by others and not reacting very well.

Yep, if you wonder where I got a lot of my you know. I truly am and was her shadow. We would chat for hours about ice skating, we loved watching it together keeping up on our favorites and watching every special. We were both particulary fond of Michelle Kwan.

When Conner was born, she baby sat him for me while I worked. They had a bond just like she and I did, he was her little shadow. Her Caddy sat in the driveway, she could no longer drive and was on oxygen full time. He gave her purpose in her housebound days, I often wondered why he wouldn't sleep at night?? because she held him all day long just loving her last baby. He was bow legged at one because she held him so much. It was sad day when I ripped him away and moved him away from her, she never really got over that.

She was however very excited that Conner and Elizabeth were both left handed like her. She always wanted a left handed grandchild. Instead she got two left handed great grandchildren.

Nanny and Conner

Nanny and Conner. Gramie and our family Christmas 2002, she passed away just a few months later

 As well as teaching me how to starch and press Marty's police academy uniforms, one of her last things on earth was to watch my kids for a weekend. They had so much fun with her and she enjoyed it so much. She was gone a month or so later leaving a huge hole in my life. 

The day of her death was one of the strongest spiritual experiences of my life. One so personal, I have shared it with very few in my life.

The winter of 2004, twenty years after watching Scott Hamilton skate for his Olympic Gold. I sat on the couch bawling like a baby watching Michelle Kwan skate and not achieve her dream. I felt so robbed for her and for me, I really wished Gramie was there to watch with me and be heartbroken again for our favorite. I stopped watching ice skating, it was just too painful to watch without her.

Yesterday I changed the channel after football and there was an ice skating program on. I got so excited seeing all of our favorites from the days of old skating with their kids. It was so comforting and made me smile, of course the urge to pick up the phone was there but the overwhelming flood of memories were good and happy. I may just start watching ice skating again on a regular basis!

Christmas day would've been her birthday. She really hated having a Christmas day birthday, she often felt lost in the shuffle. Today I wanted to give her a day of her own and celebrate all she was and is in my life. I wear her engagement ring on my right hand every single day. She lives inside of me and on through me in my mothering, being a wife and a large part in my personality.Conner and Elizabeth cringe when I talk to strangers in public about their clothes, I fight a fight to keep my emotions in check and at a healthy place( something she never mastered), I have the same relationship with my siblings,  short like her and fight the weight battle as well. I am her shadow still and always will be.