My grandma died this morning.
And I'm sad because she was a woman I loved dearly, even though I only got to see her for a few days every three years or so, between moves. But those were always good days.
And I'm sad because she was a woman that I didn't get to know well enough, and now I won't have the chance. The last time I saw her was in 1998, while I was pregnant. My older kids all at least got to meet her, but Heather never will. And that's a shame.
I never got to ask my grandma to tell me stories about what my mom and aunts and uncles were like growing up, or what it was like raising her family alone, or even what the world was like then. And my mom doesn't seem to like to talk about it much.
I do know that Grandma was a neat lady. She loved her family, and was always happy to see me. I've been told she was stubborn, which means that all the rest of us come by it honestly. She always had strawberries in her freezer. She'd gone up on the mountain and picked them herself, then she'd soak them overnight in sugar and water and then freeze them in pint- and quart-sized containers. Every time I saw her, those strawberries were the first thing I asked for, and she always had some. She also dipped snuff, and had a spittoon close by her chair. She had a plastic cup in it so she could just toss the cup instead of having to wash the spittoon.
I loved the smell of her house. I can't even describe it, I just know that it was a good smell. And I remember she used to have an antelope head on the wall, and a fox skin in a closet. And I remember the first time I saw her teeth in a glass in the bathroom, and was surprised that Grandma could take her teeth out... And she had this old Singer sewing machine, the treadle kind, and I always thought that was so cool, but I never saw her use it. My grandma used to make beautiful quilts--she pieced them by hand, and then quilted them by hand, too--she never used a machine to do it. Before moving here in 1990, Grandma showed me how to applique some pieces for a quilt she was working on, and I did all the pieces for one square while we were staying there. Then for Christmas that year, she sent me the finished quilt, and she'd put my square in one of the corners so I'd know which one I'd done. I remember contests in her yard between my cousins and me, to see how far we could spit watermelon seeds. I remember one year I threw a boomerang, and it ended up on her roof...I never did get that boomerang back.
I'm so sad for the lost opportunities. I wanted so much to visit with her again, and never had the money to go visit. And now I'll never have that chance again.
Myrtle Huskins Griffith
November 17, 1918-December 12, 2010
Grandma, I love you.