I have been very lucky to have been very close to my grandma Jody my entire life. When I was born, I was the first grandchild and she was younger than I am now, only 48 years old. She was an enthusiastic grandmother and had my mother and I with her for a week after I was born and when my brother Peter came along 16 months later, she had two cribs in her home at once for us.
My own earliest memories with her are doing something she called ‘having one of those days together,’ where I would go along while she did errands, and she would put me in the front seat of her metallic tourquise Buick Riviera with my own specially made booster seat that matched the silver leather interior. We would pick up her dry cleaning, drop things off at the cobbler, stop at the pharmacy, and so on while I popped protein pills from Jack LaLane she kept in the glove compartment. Later we would have a ladies lunch out, something I never got to do at home and I would order the diet plate which made her laugh and consisted of cottage cheese and half a pear or peach. Sometimes we would go by a children’s store and I would get to choose something special like a pretty umbrella or a frilly slip, things that were an indulgence of sorts, and I would not normally get, but only after we had visited her friends in the nursing home.
This was one thing I learned early from my grandmother- to care about the elderly and be present and spend time with those who are lonely or ill. She was so dedicated to her older and ill friends. She spent many years helping the elderly ladies at her church get there and when they couldn’t go, visiting them. Her church’s spring tea and other events like that became a huge part of her life, especially after my grandfather died and she made sure to include us too. I always knew that the church tea was coming or it’s annual bazaar and it was important to her. I credit my own mother, Suzanne who is no longer here, to helping me be close to my grandmother. I often got the call, even when I was young and busy with my own life saying, “Grandma is hoping you’ll be there,” and “Grandma is looking forward to seeing you.’ So I thank my mother so much for that.
Family photos from the 50s. Note my dad’s flat-top below. he says that was cool?