Saturday, May 12, 2012

In Memory of Grams

In the spirit of celebrating Mother's Day, I wanted to share a little bit about my Grandma Lillian (Grams to me).  Grams was a wonderful lady, whom I dearly miss.  I think all the humor genes in our family came from her. Unfortunately, my brothers and sisters got the biggest portion of those genes and I have to be content to enjoy the humor of others.  Still, Grams was the person who taught me my first dirty limericks.  She was always saying something funny, pure deadpan demeanor.  She was great fun.

As I little girl, I loved going to Grams' house. I sat for hours at her vanity, playing with the jewelry in her multiple jewelry boxes and putting on her makeup. Grams had narcolepsy and fell asleep at the drop of a hat. I'm not sure if I was supposed to be playing in her makeup, or she fell asleep and didn't know about it, but I had a lot of fun!

Grams really taught me love of all things creative and was the reason I joined band in high school. She wasn't a writer, but a musician. Boy was she talented. Her and my Uncle Mori played in a jazz band and performed at many events throughout our community. That woman had mad skills. She played by ear. Grams only had to hear a song once and could replicate it on the piano.  Even when her Parkinson disease became so bad that her head and hands had tremors, she would still slide up to the keyboard and treat us with a tune.

She also loved singing. My last few visits with her, the dementia had become so bad that I'm not sure she always knew who I was. However, she never forgot the words to her favorite songs:  Say Say Oh Playmate, Strangers in the Night, How Much is That Doggie in the Window (she loved the "woof woof" part--I can still hear her doing it), and some song about Ka-Ka-Ka-Katie, beautiful Katie (don't really know what this one is called). We had many more, but my brain can't remember the names of them.

She loved singing those songs and would sometimes remember who we were after singing. Then, she could be enticed to talk about her childhood and tell stories about the horse she used to ride to school, Buck. She loved that horse. She and the other children had horse races during lunchtime and Buck always won.

We lost Grams four years ago, but I am so fortunate to have had her in my life. This Mother's Day, don't forget to thank the women who may not be your mother, but had a significant impact on the person you've become.

The best thing Grams ever taught me? She was babysitting me one evening when I was eight years old. Of course, she was asleep, but I played on the floor in the same room as her.  I asked, "Grandma, what's twelve plus twelve?"  She opened her eyes, looked down at me and said, "Twelve plus twelve is twenty-four. Now shut your mouth and say no more."

She promptly fell back to sleep, but I never forgot what twelve plus twelve was!

I love you, Grams!

Great books:
Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl, Carol Bodensteiner, A memoir of a happy farm childhood.

Michal's Window by Rachelle Ayala - Love, Betrayal, Redemption: King David and the daughter of Saul, E-book: Paper Amazon: B&N

Loyalty Binds Me by Joan Szechtman, A novel about Richard III in the 21st-century, E-book: Paperback Amazon: B&N

Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux - A story of love and perseverence. E-book: Paperback:

After Ten by Michele Shriver- A story of acceptance, forgiveness and the bonds of friendship. Amazon: B&N:

Always & Forever by Chantel Rhondeau coming summer 2012 - A suspected murderess must start over - romantic suspense. Excerpt


  1. Great memories, Chantel. Here are more words to your grandma's song: "Ka-ka-ka Katie, beautiful Katie, she's the only ga-ga-ga girl that I adore. When the ma-ma-ma moon shines over the cow shed, I'll be waiting at the ka-ka-ka kitchen door." I can sing it better than I can type it, but it's a song I remember well from my childhood.

    1. Ha! I remembered the moon shines over the cow shed and the kitchen door, but couldn't remember the I adore line! haha - now I will have it in my head all day, but I've been signing how much is that doggie in the window - woof, woof - the one with the waggalie tail - since I wrote this post! Thanks for more of the words!

  2. Family is a wonderful thing. I lost my mother to cancer and my family is smaller now, but we're so close. Happy Mother's day weekend.

    I also listed you as a recipient for The Versatile Blogger Award

    1. I am sorry to hear about your mother, Diane. That is always hard, but it is great that you have a close family.

      Thanks for the Versatile Blogger Award! I appreciate it! And have a great Mother's Day weekend, yourself!

  3. I love the story of her waking up and giving you advice. :) Thanks for the reminder that we need to remember the other "mothers" around us who are not really our mothers. Lots of wonderful women to be thankful for.

    1. Me too, Melinda! So many different women helped shape the person I became. I wish I'd gotten some more of the funny genes from Grams, but I'm content with the wonderful stuff she passed on to me.

  4. What a lovely story. I love how she remembers the songs and then remembers who you were. Love that math problem at the end too. You were lucky to have spent time with such a fun loving and remarkable woman.

    1. I truly was very, very lucky. I told the math story at her funeral and got a lot of laughs. I think she would have liked that. That's just who my Grams was. Thanks, Rachelle, for stopping by!


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