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Posts Tagged ‘mother lovett’

 

Looking for the Glo Bar Winner?

 

 

Don’t know much about Mother Lovett – my deaf, blind, bossy and utterly hilarious grandma? She is funnier than a cross between Everybody Loves Raymond and Seinfeld.

 

You can find out more about her here, here, here, and here.

 

 

I loved hearing about the dialogues with your own grandmother (or mother!) in my weekend recap. I could laugh for hours reminiscing our Mother Lovett stories. Such as the one below – one for the history books.

 

 

 

Summer 2008, pre election.

 

Me: How are you, Grandma?

ML: Oh. I’m not great. I’m all in.

Me: Why is that?

ML: There is nothing on TV! I tried to watch the story but even that wasn’t on.

(for the record, ‘the story’ refers to The Young and The Restless, for which, my entire life, I have heard about as if the characters are her friends.)

Me: Oh that’s right, the election coverage is on.

ML: Yes. All I hear is Omaha, Omaha, Omaha. There is nothing else on but Omaha. I just want to watch the story.

Me: Omaha?

ML: Omaha! The man running for president!

 

 

 

Enough said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange cookies are one of my mom’s favorite cookies that Mother Lovett and I would bake at Christmastime. We didn’t always make them. The last couple of years we made them because since she could not see, hear, and successfully walked around with 4 blockages in 3 arteries for 20 years, I ran the show.

 

 

 

Her recipe called for shortening. I used butter.

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Big mistake. I tried not to use shortening because it just seems so…fatty. And filled with bad, fake…stuff. And I know this is surprising, given some of my favorite recipes.

 

 

 

 

Oranges.

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I always zested the oranges for Mother Lovett when I was younger, and now I know why.

 

 

It is a huge pain in the arse. 

 

 

 

We aren’t talking a tiny bit of zest here. 

 

 

 

 

We are talking the zest of 4-5 oranges.

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For the cookies, and the glaze.

 

 

 

 

Why does it taste so bad, but make food taste so good?

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The world will never know.

 

 

I probably shouldn’t say that because I’m sure one of you can google it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juiced those babies all on my own.

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Freshly squeezed. 

 

 

Into my mouth. 

 

 

Err..the bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

I have an old-school juicer that was Mother Lovett’s, but I couldn’t find it.

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So I jabbed these babies with a fork and let their flesh runneth dry. 

 

 

 

Does that make sense? Did I even say it right?

 

 

 

 

Discard the seeds!

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No one wants a cookie with a hugh jass citrus seed inside. Especially me, cause I don’t want no orange growing inside my belly.

 

 

 

 

I really don’t talk like that. In fact, when my husband reads this post, he will probably scold me for even typing like that.

 

 

 

He like to remind me to say ‘I’m doing well‘ instead of ‘I’m doing good.’ For all of you wives out there, I’m sure you just love when your husband corrects things like this, right?

 

 

 

Not. It drives me batty. Do you hear that hubs? Stop. It’s annoying. Kind of like your treasures that are in our beautiful home.

 

 

 

 

 

I used buttermilk in the cookies.

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I used buttermilk that expired on 9/15/09.  But I promise I did it in respect of Mother Lovett. She had a plethora of expired items, such as soy sauce that expired in 1978, yellow mustard that expired in 1999, and Campbell’s soup that expired in 1985. 

 

 

Soup is a CANNED GOOD. Do you have any idea how long it takes for that to expire?

 

 

Oh well. At her house we all just slathered that yellow mustard on our chipped ham sandwiches and partied like it was 1999. Even though 1999 was almost 10 years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zest in the batter.

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Cookies ready to go in the oven.

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I should mention these are more of a ‘cake-like’ cookie. Like the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from last month.

 

 

 

 

I set the extra batter aside so I could use my mixer to make the glaze.

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Freshly squeezed orange juice and powdered sugar. And zest.

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That’s IT. So simple and so, so delicious.

 

 

 

 

Almost thick enough – better add some more sugar.

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Ahhh…perfect.

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‘Cake-like’ texture.

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After the glaze is brushed on, it dries and slightly ‘cracks.’

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Tastes like Christmas.  I would be lying if I told you I didn’t eat the glaze by the spoonful.

 

 

 

 

I didn’t eat the glaze by the spoonful.

 

 

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Orange Cookies

1 cup shortening

2 eggs

2 cups sugar

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice

zest of 4-5 oranges

1 pound powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream shortening, sugar and eggs until fluffy. Sift flour, baking soda and powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet, alternating with 1 cup of buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Add 1/2 cup of orange juice and half of orange zest. Drop on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

For glaze, begin with remaining orange juice and zest in mixing bowl. On low speed, add powdered sugar in 1 cup increments until it reaches desired thickness.

Glaze cookies while still warm. Let glaze dry.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy these cookies.

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And each time you make them, think of all the 8 month old oranges I had to zest as a kid.

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 Happy Monday! 🙂

 

Well, not a very happy Monday for me because it started off with a dentist appointment. I usually do not mind going because there are many things in life worse than the dentist. However, today I was told I have about 8 zillion cavities and will be spending the next few Friday’s in the dentist chair. Hip hip horray.

 

 

 

Thank you all so much for the well wishes on our first anniversary. 🙂 We spent the day in Cleveland and I was all ready to snap pictures, but my camera decided otherwise. It gave me some goofy ‘lens error’ message – but of course was working again by the time we go home. I saw sooo many beautiful Fall scenes that I wanted to snap.

 

 

 

Something occured over the weekend that had us all in giggles and remembering Mother Lovett. For as long as I can remember, Mother Lovett pronounced about 85% of her words incorrectly and used other phrases that we never heard. I think it is common as we get older, but her’s were always quite humorous.

 

Some favorites:

ML: ‘I found a coupon in the paper for Louie’s. I’d like to go get some pots for the flowers.’

Us: ‘Louie’s? What is Louie’s? Where is Louie’s?’

ML: (getting frustrated) ‘You know – LOUIE’S. The construction place!’

Us: ‘There is no construction place called Louie’s. What on earth are you talking about?’

ML: ‘YES THERE IS!! It is blue and white and we get flower pots there.’

Us: (after a few moments of contemplation) ‘Oh…you mean Lowe’s? LOWES.’

ML: ‘No! Louie’s! Look it is right here in the paper.’

 

She definitely meant Lowe’s. She was legally blind. The w appeared as a ‘u’ and ‘i’ to her. Hmmm.

 

 

 

Us: ‘Grandma, can we get you anthing at the store?

ML: ‘Oh yes, please get me some of that torillo soup.’

Us: ‘You mean tortilla soup?’

ML: ”Yes – torillo soup.’

 

 

 

 

Baking cookies:

ML: ‘Hand me the lifter.’

Me: ‘The lifter? What is the lifter?’

ML: ‘The lifter! To get the cookies off the pan.’

Me: ‘Oh…the spatula??’

ML: ‘Yes! The lifter!’

 

 

These are just a few of the moments that we were remembering in the car ride that had us howling. Maybe you had to be there.

 

Kind of like the time you probably had to be there when my 9 year old brothers thought it was hilarious to yell out obscenities and bodily parts since she was extremely hard of hearing.

 

The boys: (randomly) ‘Vagisil!’

ML: ‘What fell??’

 

 

 

Oh, these were the days. Luckily for us, we experienced a similar day in the car on Friday. I was a bit busy playing on my crackberry since I develop a tick when I’m not connected to the entire world.

 

 

My mother: ‘Jess, we had the best lunch at Miss Martha’s. It was so good. And afterwards we had dessert and Susie orded a tai chi. It wasn’t very good though.’

Me: (half-listening, obsessed with crackberry) ‘Oh that’s a shame.’

My mother: ‘Yeah, and it really just didn’t taste good. We have all had tai chi there before, but this definitely wasn’t tai chi.’

Me: (still losing brain cells) ‘Hmmm, I wonder why..?’

My mother: ‘It just tasted weird, we always get tai chi there. Have you ever had one? You have -‘

Me: (alert, cutting in) ‘WAIT. WHAT are you saying? Tai chi?? Do you mean CHAI TEA???

My mother: ‘Yes, tai chi.’

Me: ‘MOM. OHMIGOD. It is CHAI TEA. Tai chi is a form of martial arts.’

My mother: ‘Oh. I guess you’re right. I meant chai tea.’

Me: ‘Ohmigod, you are your mother.’

 

 

At dinner:

My mother: ‘Can we go to Nordstrom Shelf tomorrow?’

Us: ‘Ummm….MOM, it’s Nordstrom RACK.’

 

 

 

So happy that Mother Lovett can live on throughout my own mother. Now if that starts happening to me, please have me committed.

 

 

 

 

I bought some of this yesterday.

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Which obviously now has to be locked in a safe, since I have 45 cavities and from here on out will never eat sugar again.

 

 

 

Yeah, right. Bring on the veneers.

 

 

 

 

 

I bought some of this, too.

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Going to try out some of the recipe suggestions and eat more veggies this week. My husband is out of town.

 

 

Sometimes I go a little overboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And bought this $459 bottle of balsamic vinegar.

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Actually it was only $24. But in balsamic vinegar dollars, that equals $459.

 

 

 

 

Have a wonderful start to the week. 🙂

 

 

 

I’ll be back later with some goodies. In the meantime, I’m going to eat 5lbs of goodies before I get my new fillings.

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Treasures.

When we cleaned out my grandmother’s house, there was really only one thing that I desperately wanted.

 

 

 

Her recipes.

 

 

The majority of the recipes were truly hers – she literally made them herself.

 

 

 

I did get to take the recipes, but what I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet is that my husband and I closed on our new house on April 24th, and my grandmother died on April 25th. The recipes had been sitting in my parents’ house, along with most of my other junk because we all know there wasn’t more room for it here.

 

 

 

Moving into our house was a frenzy, as we also had a few days of funeral activities to attend. The recipes were inside a bag, which was inside a box, and until last week, I wasn’t even sure if they were at my house or my parents’.

 

 

 

 

I found them and decided to look through them last night. 

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This is just a bit of what I had to look through.

 

 

 

 

 One of the first recipes I found is a cookie we would make every Christmas.  

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Seeing her handwriting on the recipe got me a little shaken up, but in a nice, warm and fuzzy way.

 

 

 

I couldn’t believe how OLD some of this stuff was. 

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And most of it was hard to make out. Some of it even written in pencil, probably up to 50 years ago, maybe more. You can imagine how much it has faded.

 

 

 

 

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Most of the recipes had ‘age spots’ or stains on them, and I kept wondering what it could be. What was she making that day that she spilled on the recipe??

 

 

 

 

 

 Hmmm, here is one for her mother’s date pudding.

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I like dates, and I like pudding, but I don’t know if I’d like date pudding. Have any of you ever had this?

 

 

 

 

 

 Again, more of her mother’s recipes that I can barely make out.

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I’m sure you can see how old and discolored these papers are. Notice in the upper left corner a sheet of more recent paper…and by more recent, I mean probably from the 70’s.

 

 

 

 

 

Ooooh here’s an oldie.

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 Check out that paper disinegration.

 

 

 

 

Again, more old paper against new-ER paper.

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This here was a good find. Her orange cookies were AMAZING, and she made an even better glaze to go on top. Again, a usual Christmas recipe, and one of my mom’s favorites.  

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I can’t wait to fill my new kitchen with Christmas goodies. Hopefully I can restrain myself.

 

 

 

 

This will be our first Christmas in our new house, and I am SO excited. I can’t wait to decorate, light Christmas-scented candles, and obnoxiously bake cookies that could feed a small country.

 

 

 

And then obnoxiously eat them all in one sitting. Yes, I can’t wait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 How cute is this paper?!

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I love this one because it is either my mom or aunt’s handwriting, most likely from when they were my age. They were obviously planning a party, perhaps one of their wedding or baby showers, as the list reads chicken salad, lemonade, fruit salad, deviled eggs, stuffed celery, and…

 

cleaned lettuce…?

 

 

Would someone actually serve dirty lettuce?

 

 

 

 

At one moment I started to panic because she had recipes organized and clipped together by paper clips.

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I obviously took them apart, but I didn’t like taking them apart since she was the last to handle them.

 

 

 

 

 

I think this is really a true treasure.

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Hand-written recipes in a very old recipe book. Most of these are written in pencil, too. The paper is so old it is practically crumbling.

 

 

 

 

 

OK – a recipe on a NAPKIN.

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This takes the cake. Who saves this? Why not write it on paper!?

 

 

 

 

This napkin has seen better days. 

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 It appears to be about 212 years old in napkin years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is one BIG reason that I looked through these recipes. I wanted and NEEDED to find a certain recipe.

 

 

For my sanity, for my mom’s, my cousin Lacy’s, and probably every other person who had ever came in contact with Mother Lovett.

 

 

We didn’t ever think we would find it. We didn’t even think it was written down.

 

 

 

 

And after about 5 phone calls to my mom earlier in the evening, telling her ‘I found this, I found that,’ I finally found what we all had been looking for.

 

  

 

 

This is HUGE.

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Her pie crust was TO DIE FOR. I wish I could tell you in person because really, it was incredible.

 

 

 

And I found the recipe.

 

 

 

Then fainted.

 

 

 

 

Then regained conciousness.

 

 

 

Then ate a cookie to make sure I was alive.

 

 

 

Not only was I alive, but I had found the recipe that has alluded us all for many, many years. Even if you were with her while she was making a pie crust, it was impossible to figure out her recipe. And if you asked for it, she said she just knew how to make it and couldn’t find the recipe. And to be honest, we rarely asked, because we were convinced she was immortal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Another VERY old sheet of paper.

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 Wow, probably one of the oldest in there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I came across this – a recipe was written on the back.

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It was a subscription letter to my grandmother’s FATHER.

 

 

 

 

 

 I don’t know if you can make it out, but they offered him a year subscription for $1.00.

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Good deal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A letter addressed to my mother right after she was born.

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Can you see the date? You do the math.

 

 

 

 

 

There were a couple recipes from newpapers tucked in with the others.

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 Check out that date!

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We found many, many old, saved items in her house. Some we deemed ridiculous, others reasonable. She lived during The Depression, so naturally she saved EVERYTHING.

 

 

 

 

Including a bottle of soy sauce that expired in 1978 and hairspray from the 40’s.

 

 

 

 

Not quite sure what she was planning on doing with that…

 

 

 

 

 

I love this last picture. This stirred the most emotion in me. I felt lucky and special to hold this, and at the same time my heart absolutely went out to the woman writing this. I want to frame these.

  

 

 

 IMG_0925A letter written to a prospective employer – I guess today we could call it a ‘cover letter.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were two letters. One sent to ‘gentlemen’ at the local newspaper, and the other sent to a female at the post office.  There was no resume to send, as my grandmother had been a homemaker since she got married – which I believe was her dream – to cook, clean and raise a family.

 

 

However, she was recently widowed, and it was time to find work.

 

 

 

 

 My, my, how times have changed.

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Her qualifications included typing, bookkeeping, answering phones, and following instructions.

Not much out of the ordinary, right?

 

 

But it was a few lines down that got me. She writes:

 

‘I am intelligent, have a pleasing personality and present an attractive appearance.’

 

 

I told you she was beautiful, right? She failed to include this part in her letter to the female at the post office.

 

 

Some things never change.

 

 

 

Us women have always had a bit of power over men. 🙂

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Mother Lovett was a tiny, tiny, tiny woman.

 

Let’s just say she had a BIG personality.

 

 

She only stood at about 4 feet, 11 inches tall, after osteoporosis had severly hunched her over. She tried her best to (literally) keep her head up, but sometimes it was just too tiring. 

 

 

The best moments that my cousins and I share involve Mother Lovett. Anyone that knows our family or has crossed paths with us can relate. Unfortunately, but in the MOST lovable way, we often enjoyed a good laugh at  her expense.

 

 

And still do.

 

 

Such as remembering her 87th brithday last April, the last birthday we would have with her.

 

 

She was angry, mad, infuriated – whichever way you want to spin it – she was ticked.

 

 

She had a fairly good reason. After almost 50 years, we had finally moved her out of the house her husband built. (I know you are wondering which husband, it was her first.)

That house was her life.

 

 

But after many falls, bumps, bruises, and scares, along with those other few tiny problems she had – you know, being BLIND and DEAF, and living alone – it was time to move her out.

 
We had to drag her. She refused to give up ANY pride and admit it was time to go. We mentally, emotionally, and physically could not take it anymore. The fear of her rolling down the landscaped bank while picking weeds, falling face-first on the pavement while carrying sticks to a dump-pile, or getting stuck in the bathtub (all of which did indeed happen), was just too much to bear.

 

 

It was very hard on my mom. But it was time for her to move. And we didn’t really give her choice. She had just spent a few months in a rehab facility recovering from her cake-baking heart attack, and my family arranged for her to go to an exceptional assisted living community where she had her own apartment.

 

 

It was a fab apartment. Much better cleaner than what I would be moving into within 6 months, after my nuptials. It was big, too.

 

 

She moved in about a week before her birthday. In my family, we always have birthday parties in our homes – always. This makes for lots of food, fun, unlimited alcohol, and just a wonderful, hilarious time spent together.

 

 

(We also get together most weekends just to hang. Have I mentioned I have the best family ever? )

 

 

 

Her birthday party was set to be on Saturday evening at her daughter’s (my aunt’s) house. All week, she swore up and down she absolutely, definitely was not coming. She was angry with all of us, pouting the majority of the time she spent with us.

 

 

Which was all the time. Someone was there 24/7. I really mean that. She was rarely alone.

 

 

Friday night comes and we are spending some time together at my aunt’s, sans Mother Lovett. We realize she really is not going to come celebrate her birthday. We are sad, but at this point also fed up with the stubborness. She is safe and in a very nice expensive place.

 

 

We got hungry. And we had a perfectly good cake.

 

 

Coconut cake. Delish.

 

 

 

So we had a few slices.

 

 

 

Saturday morning, our wonderful friend Barb spends some time with Mother Lovett. Barb tells her that we never know what tomorrow will bring, and we are all together and healthy TODAY, and she shouldn’t pass up this opportunity to spend time together. At the last minute, Mother Lovett decides to come for the party.

 

 

Her party.

 

 

 

There was no time for a new cake. 

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Probably the first and only time her height ever came in handy.

 

She never noticed.

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I began blogging for 2 reasons.

 

1. maternal grandmother.

2. paternal grandmother.

 

Let’s start with materal grandmother. Many moons ago, my dad lovingly nicknamed his mother-in-law ‘Mother Lovett.’

‘Lovett’ being her last name. And it certainly was her last name, since she was married to brothers.

 

 

Yes people, she was married twice – to BROTHERS. How cool is that?

 

 How 1700’s of her.

 

Unfortunately, she passed away in late April of this year at the ripe, old age of 87. Her stories live on. And Lordy, let me tell you, THERE ARE STORIES.

 

 

We could write a sitcom.

 

 

That is an understatement. I wish you could understand.

 

 

 

I will get to the hilarious goods at some point in my blog, but for now I have to give you the excellent background on her so you don’t think I’m hellishly cruel.

 

 

She was a baker. A mighty fine one at that. She most likely is the reason I adore baking, and I won’t lie when saying that baking these days occasionally makes me tear up since it is something I used to share with her.

 

 

Well, actually when I say ‘share,’ I really mean I took orders from her for a few hours standing in her kitchen.

 

But that’s a different story.

 

She suffered 7 miscarriages, and was diagnosed with Menear’s disease in her 20’s, causing her to lose all hearing in one ear. She had macular degeneration, a serious eye disease which cause her to lose almost ALL of her sight. She lost her siblings.  She cared for her cancer-stricken mother in her own home, losing her only 4 months before she lost her first husband, the love of her life. He passed away before I was born, so I never knew my true grandfather.

 

Luckily for us, she remarried.

 

His brother. Her brother-in-law.

 

I know.

 

I can’t imagine marrying my brother-in-law. Partly because I don’t have one. But if I did, and if he looked like George Clooney, I guess I would.

 

This truly was a wonderful thing, this marriage of my grandmother and her brother-in-law. He and his wife (don’t worry, she had passed away as well) were never able to have children, which meant by marrying my grandmother, he inherited 2 daughters (or neices….yikes) and 5 grandchilden. Amazing man. Wonderful. Words can’t describe.

 

However, many times in my life I remember my grandmother telling me about her whirlwind love with her first husband, Gerald. I specifically remember one evening at the beach her eyes welling up with tears when speaking about him.

 

‘That love was the greatest love I had ever felt. If you ever find that, don’t ever lose it.’ She STILL missed him after more than 30 years. THAT is love.

 

Perhaps she is where I got my passion from?

 

 

The longer she is gone the more I realize what a strong woman she was. Of course, we all knew this as she infuriated us at the age of 86 trimming bushes, climbing ladders, and carrying 40lb pots up the driveway.

 

I don’t mean strong THAT way.

 

She lost 2 husbands, and still talked about love. She still wore high heels to church, even though we fought her on it. She still went to church on Sunday, even though she was legally blind, deaf, and hunched over from severe osteoporosis. She walked around with 4 blockages in 3 arteries for 20 years. Suffered a heart attack, multiple broken bones, and bounced back from injuries when the majority of us would believe it was time to give up.

 

 I better be wearing heels at 87.

 

 

Yes we called her stubborn, but now I call her strong.

 

 

She was so stubborn strong, she basically refused to die. And we really never thought she would. I mean…REALLY. We were all there to watch her last breath. And she put up a damn good fight.

 

 

Again, an understatement.

 

 

(Which I find quite odd, since I am extremely dramatic.)

 

 

Everyone ALWAYS complimented her on her beauty. She had an excellent sense of style. I never saw the beauty until recently. Of course I loved her, but she was my GRANDMA.

 

Beauty wasn’t the first thing to come to mind. Seeing how many Reese’s cups I could shove in my mouth at one time without anyone noticing at her house was.

 

What do you think?

 

0641

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0642

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will never believe what began her demise.

 

She had a heart attack while hand-mixing a cake.

 

 

 

 

She could always do everything better herself, anyways.

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