Monday, March 5, 2012

Birthday musings...

Today is my Grandma's birthday. She would have been 100 years old today.

My Grandma Gloria died last June after 99 amazing years. Here are some things I will never forget about her:

--She often watched my sister and my cousins while our mothers went back to school. She, who despised early mornings (I know where I get it!), would tell us to come down whenever we got up and wake her up by buzzing like a bee in her ear. And that would usually be before 6 a.m.!

--When I was little and afraid of the witch who lived under my bed, my Grandma took me out to the store and bought me a giant bunny rabbit to put on the outside edge of my bed so I would feel safe (of course, it  gave me a heart attack every time I woke up and the bunny wasn't there because I had knocked it off the bed!).

--Her famous rigatoni--yummmm.

--Grandma had a beautiful "golden" cricket box that my aunt had brought back from Korea and that each of the grandchildren used as their treasure box at some point during their childhood. She would often put a few Hershey's Kisses in it for us when we weren't looking.

--She would let us take all of the pots and pans out of the cabinet to play with, even if it ended up with a lot of banging!

--Whenever it was your birthday, and sometimes even when it wasn't, Grandma would give you a twenty and tell you to "go buy yourself a doughnut."

--When my sister, cousins and I would be at her house, she would make us toasted pita bread with cheese whiz on it (sounds gross now, but we all loved it then!), then sit us at her round kitchen table and tell us stories featuring all of us. We would be laughing until our stomachs hurt because the stories were so funny (and usually scatalogical).

--Grandma told all of us girls never to let a man put a hand on us. But if one did, to get the heaviest frying pan you could and "clock him one." None of us ever took that part seriously, but I know we all took the lesson to heart.

--When I was in college, I was invited to go to the May balls at Oxford University in England. I begged and begged my parents to go, and when that didn't work, I brought it up again at a big family dinner. As I suspected, Grandma and Grandpa took my side, and then offered to chaperone my trip. They took my sister, my cousin and me. They had such an amazing time, I wished I had stayed with them instead of going to the dance.

--Grandma called each one of us her "treasure," and we all secretly thought she really only meant us.

--Grandma wore high heels every day of her life until she was 86!

--As each of us grandchildren went to college, Grandma took us aside and told us that if we ever needed money and didn't think we could go to our parents, we should come to her. Only one of us took her up on it, and Grandma never mentioned it to anyone.

--Whenever we came back home for a visit, one of the first things we did was to go to Grandma's--she loved chatting with us about who we were dating (or marrying or divorcing) and what we were doing.

--She adored each of her seven great-grandchildren and they adored her. Even when she began to get forgetful, she always managed to remember and connect with the kids. They still tell stories about visiting her at her house.

--My Grandma's two favorite drinks were scotch and soda and pink champagne. Every time she had a drink, she would give her favorite toast--"Here's to those who wish us well, and all the rest can go to hell." The picture in the church during her funeral was of her holding a champagne glass (much to the priest's chagrin!).

We all miss her so much, although there is more laughter than tears whenever we talk about her, because her larger-than-life personality gave us all amazing stories to share.

We all wish you well, Grandma, and we'll keep on telling your stories!


  1. What a wonderful entry - and an amazing grandma. I found myself thinking about my wonderful grandmother who died 5 years ago just 2 weeks after her 99th birthday. It's the little things - like toasted pita with cheez whiz - that stay with us!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. What wonderful memories you have of your grandmother. I laughed about the cheese whiz--it was my grandma's favorite thing. And her toast was my grandpa's. You brought so many memories come rushing back. I think I may have to write a post about each of them

  3. Thanks for sharing about your Grandma. Today would have been my Dad's 95th birthday and I wrote about him. Oh the memories we have and savor. Be sure to write them all down for your children and grandchildren.

  4. Oh, Kat, your Grandma was a character! I love her favorite toast! Your love for her shines through each memory.