My grandmother acted almost as a second mother when I was growing up. There were days that she would come over to drag us out of bed so that we could get to school on time, because my mother had to go to work early. There were many times when she dutifully picked me up from school after various sports practices (although, there was that one time that she got caught up watching a special about a girl who was addicted to crystal meth, and forgot to come get me hehe), or brought me to and from work. When I was very young, she made sure I washed my hands before meals, even going so far as to feel them to see if they were wet, and to smell them for the scent of soap (I was a little rebel, so I guess this was necessary, haha). There were definitely times when I resented her, because I think it was difficult for twelve year old me to have another person telling her what to do, but now that I’m older, I look back on those times and love my Grandma for taking care of me. There are so many happy memories, looking back.
I remember sitting on my Grandma’s lap, in her comfy armchair by the door, and playing with her fingernails, because she always wore a smooth, shiny opal nail polish that I loved. I remember her walking by me in the house, tickling my bum and saying “Yoohoo!” I remember asking for a piece of her gum, and her ripping a piece in half and giving both me and my sister a ration. I remember her teaching me how to walk like a model in the livingroom when I decided that I was going to be a model when I grew up (instead of a hula dancer). I remember all of the piano lessons that she gave me, even when I was frustrated and ready to give up, and that she was willing to start giving me lessons again after several years without practice. I remember her standing in the doorway as we pulled out of the driveway, and flicking the lights off and on and waving “I love you” at us as we drove away.
I remember the time when she went to squirt lemon into her water, and accidentally put out the candle in the middle of the table. I remember the time when she found spinach behind her ear, and she wasn’t even the one eating spinach. I remember the time when she saw Angelina Jolie on the TV and did a double take because she thought she was seeing herself. I remember the time when she fell asleep during her own turn while we were playing Scrabble. I remember the time that she sat at the restaurant and giggled at the people walking by who were startled by the large bear statue.
I remember her watching all of her trashy police reality shows and her westerns and talk shows. She would sometimes come to the bottom of the stairs and yell up to me when there was a guest that she thought I would enjoy watching. “BECKY! Craig Ferguson is on the Talk!” I remember that Carol kept her laughing for years just by imitating the man with the crazy smile that she had seen on Jeopardy. I remember her rolling up to me with her walker and saying “Beep beep!” I remember the funny clicking sound that her gum made. I remember her giggling to herself about a joke that someone had told 20 minutes ago, and saying “Speaking of…” about something that we hadn’t been speaking of for hours. I remember the many chain emails she sent me, and how fervent she was with her emailing, and then her Facebooking.
I remember waking up in the middle of the night and seeing only her white hair, seemingly floating down the stairs, and groggily thinking she was a ghost. I remember coming out to the driveway so she could drive me to work, and finding her sitting there revving the engine, because she didn’t realize her foot was on the gas. I remember her hilarious proposals during Scrabble games. “There are lots of words that start with J… Jip, jap. Zip, zap.”
I remember her taking us to Friendly’s ALL the time, and always letting me get an ice cream, with gummy bears on top. I remember her very specific ordering tastes when eating lunch anywhere (which we did a lot): chicken fingers with extra crispy fries. I remember the concoction of water with Sweet N Low and lemon juice that she made at every restaurant. I remember that the folks at the Hearth & Kettle, and the Route 28 Diner absolutely adored my Grandma. She made friends with people wherever she ate, to the extent that in the past year, she brought me in to the diner to introduce me to her friends. I remember going out to eat with her bowling buddies, and how much fun they all had together. I remember her saving her slice of cherry pie when she was at rehab, and sneaking it to me when I came to visit. I remember how horrible her roommate at rehab was to her, and how sweet and polite she was right back.
Mostly, I just remember how much I love my Grandma, and I think about how much I’m going to miss her. It will be so strange to go home for the funeral this weekend, and to see her empty chair.
Love you, Gma. I’ll see you again someday.
Evolene Ruth Boyne
1928 – 2015