her Life


Happy Memories.  

My gramma and grampa lived in a 3 bed, 2 bath single story corner home with attached garage, in a suburban neighborhood in Walnut Creek, CA.  Arriving by car, as we always did, we turned left from the street into the large driveway.  In the front yard to the right stood a large walnut tree on a well manicured grass lawn.  The backyard was filled with fruit trees, another well watered grass lawn, a bird bath, and hummingbird feeders.  Squirrels often played there while hummingbirds buzzed about.  The home itself was painted white and appeared friendly and welcoming.  It was a happy, simple home that could very well have been born out of the imagination of an artist like Norman Rockwell.  Both my gramma and grampa were patriots that loved our country.

I visited them often with my dad, mom, and brother.  We spent many nights and also our childhood thanksgivings with my Uncle Keith’s family from Minnesota.  We played many games: scrabble, upwords, cribbage, bridge, monopoly, to name a few.  We would watch Wheel of Fortune or Nickelodeon at night after dinner while my grandfather worked on crossword puzzles, the paper, or the sketching of interesting geometric shapes.  We would also often have chores like collecting walnuts when they dropped from the tree or washing and polishing my grandfathers car.  My grandparents would pay us for the chores and then bring us to the corner store where we could buy baseball cards or get candy.

Every visit my gramma would take us to Toys R’ Us.  She seemed to like to spoil us.  We’d go to Heather Farms and swim in the summers.  My gramma would always get in with us but never get her hair wet.  In between breaks at the pool she would get us treats like licorice ropes and icees.  I loved the diving pool and she always watched us from the side to make sure we were ok.  At home she would always have sun tea in the fridge, a frozen snickers bar in the freezer, and a cold Coca Cola.  Life at my gramma’s and with my grandparents was simple, fun, and happy.

When my gramma visited us in San Francisco she would always come to my room and ask to see my new artwork.  At Christmas I would always draw her a card and more often than not i had a drawing for her.  Her encouragement of my work and her enthusiasm for it and me have meant a great deal to my life.  I can not think of a time when i had not felt cared for, encouraged, and loved by her.  I was not ready to let her go.  

As an adult I appreciated her simplicity and thoughtfulness.  After carefully listening for some time I might pause and she would say something like “ Well then.. You’ll get there.. It takes time.” Or “Oh, Fuey: I’ve never heard such a thing.”  Then she would smile and look at me with her twinkling blue eyes.  I would usually just smile back.  Before she passed I told her “Thank you, I love you.”  She responded, “You are so good to me.”  I thought I had maybe not been good enough but i told her, “it is because you are good.  You’ve done more for me than you can ever realize.”

I could say so much more but I’ll stop here while i’m visualizing her bright twinkling blue eyes that twinkled until her last day, long after her memories failed her.

Next week I’ll get up, take Ness to school, go to the coffee shop and get an ice tea.  I’ll handle some e-mails and then go to swim practice.  Then I’ll draw.  Her love and support had a deep impact on my life.   I am blessed to have had her for 94 years and will think of her daily