Sunday, December 18, 2011

Memories of Grandma Z

Ralph's mother died a few days ago. Tomorrow I will leave for Iowa for her funeral.

She was a small lady with twinkling eyes and a bright smile. She bore five children and had a huge flock of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One of the great-grandkids called her Grandma Grape because she always offered him grapes when he came to visit. She taught kindergarten, was active in her small community in eastern Iowa, and never met a stranger. When she came for her last visit to Ralph, within hours she knew all the nurses on his hospital floor by name.

After Susan, her third child was born, she came down with rheumatic fever. The doctor told her she couldn't have any more children, but after a few years of good health, he agreed she could get pregnant again and she had two babies in rapid succession. Carol was the older of the last two children, she was Ralph's stem cell donor, and I fully believed she was born to save her brother's life. She would have, too, for the transplant was successful, but other medical accidents depleted whatever reserves of strength he had.

Ralph's favorite story about his mother concerned the summer he, his sister, and some neighborhood kids formed a secret club. They had a clubhouse in the back yard. Suddenly they began finding anonymous notes in the clubhouse. They couldn't figure out who left them. After a couple of weeks, the culprit confessed--it was Mom.

She was a feisty lady, very independent. When her daughters decided it was time for her to stop driving, they knew they were in for a battle, so they insisted that Ralph, who was then in the hospital, call and tell her she had to give up her driver's license. They figured since he was ill, she wouldn't be able to argue with him. They were right.

After she lost her driving privileges, she acquired a little scooter and would zip around town on it. That's how I like to remember her. She will be missed.


monicastangledweb said... [Reply to comment]

So sorry to hear about Ralph's mother. I can just imagine her on her little scooter. Sounds like a sweet, yet feisty woman. You have such wonderful memories of her.

Rossandra said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for sharing that Thelma, she was lucky to have you as a daughter-in-law. Merry Christmas!

Jodi Aman said... [Reply to comment]

Sounds like a beautiful woman. Thanks for telling us about her. It inspired me to do something like the note thing. How sweet!

Bella said... [Reply to comment]

Thelma, I'm so sorry for your loss. Ralph's mother sounds like a delightful person. The thought of her zipping around on her scooter made me smile. :)

Heather A. said... [Reply to comment]

Sorry to hear about Ralph's mother, Thelma. I feel like I knew her through your memoir. I'm sending you cyberhugs.

Carol Ketelsen said... [Reply to comment]

Thelma, thank you so much for this great tribute to Mom. You totally captured her personality! You're very gifted at that. Thank you, too, for the comments about one of the purposes of my life. I feel that way, too. The time I had with you and Ralph are precious to me and I wouldn't trade it for anything. We will all be together again someday. God bless!


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