Friday, May 27, 2011

A Lovely Lady

Grandma's 90th Birthday- (Not 2025!) :)

When Grandma, Gracie and I had tea at the Huntington Gardens. 

The girls' third birthday. Grandma always loved being right in the middle of the fun.

Christmas 2008. Praying before dinner.

Grams and Megan.

One of my favorites. She was in her absolute glory in the picture!

Sassy little great-grandkids!

Grandma and almost all of her great grandkids. Such a precious picture.

Last year- trying on junk jewelry. I even decorated her head! :)

Having her own personal piano recital from Emma

Another VERY fond memrory- Grandma got really dressed up to come down the street to dinner. 

Relaxing with Megan after our dinner

She adored ALL dogs- Sophie knew it!

Olivia knew it too!

One of her final visits with Auntie Anne. This was a good day.

With Danielle at my Master's Degree celebration

Gracie and Grandma on her last birthday

Both girls with Grams on her last birthday

Mom and Grandma with some of the gifts. Notice the Baileys!

I love her!

Kissing my hand after she gave me the ring

This cracks me up. She put her Bailey's in her walker.

Her final Christmas

Over Christmas break. Having some chamomile tea with me.

The infamous dalmatian robe and her wine

The gals and Grandma on their last visit. I'm so grateful they had this!

What a precious memory. 

My Grandma Otti was a lovely lady in every way. She lived in Chicago as a young girl, and she used to drive her dad's cars around the city to run errands for him as early as twelve years old. Later, she moved to California after her family lost everything. They started out in the Pomona area, and later moved to San Diego. She raised my Uncle Tom and mom in a house in La Mesa on a street called Butterfly Lane. We visited the house last year, driving through the neighborhood where her children played. In the past year, Grandma had a better memory for things in the past than for things that happened a week ago. She told vivid stories about her parents, my grandpa's job at the hardware store, and her friends in the swim club. I asked Grandma recently what her favorite time of life was, and she said that it was being a mother to her kids when they were young. She was a true caregiver.

Grandma Otti's husband and my grandfather Tom died when I was in fifth grade, and it was from that point on that I felt a pull on my heart every time we would leave after a visit with Grandma Otti. I remember pulling out of her driveway while she waved and wondering if she was lonely, or if I would see her again. (I thought she was VERY old. Grandma had grey hair in her early 30's, so she looked like a grandma for a very long time. Little did I know she would live to meet my daughters and to know them as ten-year-olds!)

Grandma was definitely a lady of The Depression. She was very frugal with her money, always saying, "We'll make that." She didn't throw ANYTHING away...from toothpaste tubes to old curtains, the "treasures" in Grandma's house were a plenty! I remember her snatching my Raggedy Ann doll to "fix it" when I was about nine years old. I found the doll years later (in my 20s!) in a box in her garage when we were moving her out of her house. I teased her that she kidnapped dolls.

Grandma was known for loading kids up into the car and going on adventures. She could make a trip to KMart exciting! I used to look forward to riding the horse merry-go-round in the front of the grocery store. Grandma would also put up with frequent visits to the Barbie aisle, and although she didn't buy me Barbies, she always had a box of ancient dolls/plastic animals/blocks/books/toys/etc. to play with.

Grandma was a beach grandma. She taught me to make drip castles, to duck under body boards, to swim. She never forgot the sunscreen, and would make us wait at least 30 minutes to go in the water.

I loved visiting my grandma at her house in Poway. She had a white swing on her patio and a very big Bougainvillea bush next to the patio gate. She would teach us to water the trees and plants, to pull weeds, and to clip roses in her beautiful yard, but we never wanted to listen too long; we were anxious to go into the pool. Grandma usually let us go after having us complete a chore or teaching us a life lesson. She loved to teach us important aspects of life.

Grandma taught me to drive. I was overly-confident, and put the pedal to the metal. When this happened, she slapped me on the leg repeatedly until I slowed down. She was more upset at my speedy driving than when I accidentally crashed her Acura. (She had allowed me to drive to the mall in the rain, and I only had my learner's permit.) Although a worrier about some things, Grandma was never one to hold back on something that would teach you a lesson. Crashing the car after failing to understand a four-way stop was a definite lesson.

I loved sharing books with my Grandma. Before she lost her eyesight, she was an avid reader. She and I would read the same books and talk about them. We liked the same kind of movies as well. She took me to see Dead Poet's Society in the theater and we both cried like babies when it was over.

Grandma drove longer than she should have. She used to pull up to the front of my house in Ocean Beach and hit the neighbor's car, back into our trash cans, and then deny she did either of those things. She had a knack for exaggeration. I remember her telling her friends that my family had a "summer home" in the mountains (which was really a fifth wheel trailer), and I would be horribly embarrassed because I hated to be considered "rich."

Grandma loved to cook. She made pot roast, mashed potatoes, and coconut cake. She loved making poached eggs on toast for any hungry grandchildren in the morning. Her kitchen was filled with the most beautiful, tiny dishes and plates. She would NEVER serve you something out of its original container. Instead, she would put it into a fancy dish with a tiny spoon. Ketchup? Fancy dish. Sugar? Fancy dish.

My grandma loved Dalmatians, the color purple, Oprah, Dr. Phil, wine, and candy. She was often scared that the great grandkids would swipe her candy, so she would hide it in her dresser drawers or her bookshelf, but then forget where she'd put it. There were many stale candies found years after they'd been safely hidden.

My grandma had many quirky sayings, like "Bingle Bangle Boom" and "It's the Dickens." If she wanted a piece of something, she would say, "Give me a 'hunk' of that." She liked to try pieces of things but pretend she wasn't going to eat the whole thing, so she would "test" See's Candy or a dozen donuts by picking bits off each one and leaving the rest.

On my Grandma's final birthday, she gave me a beautiful gift. She had recently hurt her hand falling, and her ring finger was sore. She could no longer wear her wedding ring, and she knew that I loved the ring more than anything. She gave me her ring, and I didn't even need to have it fitted. It is a perfect fit! I now look at it as a reminder of how much I loved my grandma, and how important family is in our lives.

I adored my grandma and will never, ever forget what a wonderful grandma she was. I hope to be just that sort of grandma. I will most likely be stubborn. I will probably exaggerate. I will definitely make up weird sayings. I will very likely pick at sweets like donuts and chocolate, and hide them from my grandkids. Most importantly, I will love my family deeply. I will teach them all that I know. I will give them my time, attention, and wisdom. I will do this in honor of my grandma, who showered me with love.


Melanie said...

Absolutely beautiful. What a special lady. We can't hold a candle to the women of that generation. Thank goodness we have their wonderful examples to inspire us.

Stephanie said...

Lovely post Dawn....