My dear, sweet Grandma June passed away on the 12th of February at the age of 93. I'm really going to miss her.
A few memories I have include:
1. Spending summers with her when my mom had to travel for work. One summer I remember in particular was that my cousin Natalie had the chicken pox so Jodi and I both got it as well. I think I was around 8 and Jodi was 6. We sure missed our mommy but Grandma took good care of us. I don't know why I remember this, but one of my aunts wanted to check out Jodi's tummy for chicken pox, pulled up her nightgown, and Jodi was going commando because the pox were so itchy! My kids will never have such a memory, since chicken pox is now vaccinated. The summer trips always coincided with Pioneer Days in Lehi so we would watch the parade, attend the rodeo, and have a yard sale at the farm shop.
2. I remember riding in the back of my grandpa's old truck late at night somewhere, I don't recall where to, with those itchy wool blankets on us. Grandma loved those blankets (they don't make them, or anything, like that anymore now, do they) because when we re-did the cabin, she insisted on on those being kept. Life was simpler then so riding in the back of a truck was ok. We sure loved that truck.
3. I remember lots of sleepovers at her house, most notably with cousins Casey and Cameron. Grandma would make us chocolate malts, and we could have seconds or thirds if we wanted them. She would also let us stay up as late as we wanted to. We would usually watch Night Court followed by the Late Show with Carson. We always wanted to watch it to act grown up but honestly we had no clue what was going on. I still look at that old brown convertible couch downstairs and wonder how we all used to fit to sleep on it. We always wanted to sleep on the trampoline outside but Grandma wouldn't let us.
4. I lived with Grandma for two weeks before I got married while I was otherwise homeless at BYU. That was when Grandma first introduced me to Lawrence Welk. At first I had no love for the show, until I finally realized that Mr. Welk was one cool cat. He had all the ladies smiling!
5. Food at Grandma's was always an adventure. Let's see, there were the peanut butter tomato sandwiches, peanut butter miracle whip sandwiches (which I loved more than life but now get queasy just thinking about it), the coffee cake sans coffee, the chocolate cake with milk on top (something we ALL still do with chocolate cake!), and of course, cinnamon sugar toast for breakfast each morning. Also, when Nacho was living there, he worked at Little Ceaser's so we also got free pizza a lot. This was back when it was still pushing the pizza pizza thing so there was always plenty of cold pizza.
6. The frugality. Oh the frugality! I still remember when Grandma bought the car Jordan has now. She made Ford take the tape deck out of the car to save $40 or something like that! This was circa 1989ish, the year Jamie got married and the year we went with Grandma to Zion's. I remember we stayed at Motel 6 (where else with Grandma!) We had two rooms and Jodi and I slept with Grandma. The next morning, she had us make the bed. She said if we made our own bed there would be no need to tip the chamber maid that night. She also told me I sleepwalked outside that night looking for my mom. I also remember we loved to put the sprinkler on under the tramp and Grandma would come out and turn the water down, we'd sneak and turn it higher, and this was a neverending cycle.
7. Disneyland! I'm a disney kid, thanks to Grandma. Every fifth winter (ie 80, 85, 90, and 95) she rented a whole bus for the Holbrook's and we went to Disneyland! Of course we stayed at Motel 6, but still. I remember the 90 trip because my dad got really sick there so Jodi and I hung out with Scott and Michelle and Natalie and Cameron the whole time. I think I secretly wished Scott and Michelle were my parents a lot, and that Natalie and Cameron were my siblings. I thought they were so lucky to have their grandparents live next door to each other, across the street from their house. Also, that trip, one of Michelle's suitcases didn't make it on the bus so I also remember my mom and Michelle sharing wardrobes. The 95 trip saw me as an awkward teen, but we ruled the school and got to play in the park sans parents. Susie and I have grandiose plans to do something like this with our family as well one day (ie caravan to Disneyland, not rule the park).
8. The cabin. I will never forget that old cabin. I loved it. I also love the new cabin. Every time I think about moving from UT, I think of missing the cabin and decide against it.
9. Grandma was the first to meet Maggie. We drove all night from Costa Mesa to UT when Maggie was two months old for Mother's Day. Since we were exhausted we stopped in Lehi. Grandma would not let us leave. She and Maggie had a very special bond. Maggie loves puzzles to pieces because of Grandma June.
10. Her house. Words cannot describe. Rachel and Leonard stayed there after my MIL Frances's funeral and I don't think they'll ever be the same. The wallpaper, the washer in the kitchen next to the stove, the carpet, etc. That house is so vintage and I cringe at the thought of anyone else living there, unless Jodi gets it. My grandparents built that house when they were newly wed and settled into the farming life in Lehi.
11. In my later years, each of my aunts and uncles were asked to take a day with Grandma June. My mom got Monday. Susie went to visit Grandma more than anybody else. I was so touched at the way Susie loved Grandma. We used to invite Grandma to live at our house all the time when she was lonely. Grandma was laugh and say how sweet it was that Susie would offer her home when they weren't even related. But we were totally serious.
12. Also in her later years, I saw how lonely Grandma was. She was so excited for any visitor at all. She would insist on a restaurant as long as it had Coke. We could do McD, IHOP, Winger's, but not Wendy's because the line is too long and not Arctic Circle because they serve Pepsi. She made up her own menu items everywhere we went. One time we insisted on Cafe Rio and she kept saying she felt uncomfortable because the restaurant seemed like Mexico to her!
13. Our weekly visits to Grandma became pretty routine. Maggie would make a mess of the toy box, and Grandma would ask us to play her songs on the piano. We learned a new primary song, Purple Pansies, from Grandma that is not sung much these days but is now a favorite of Maggie's. Often Grandma would tell us that she was going to lie down and die and she would get the phone and put it on the piano so we could call the paramedics when she was gone. That got harder to hear each time, and I'm certainly glad that's not how it went down. I was at Frances's house when she passed and I didn't want to go through that again.
14. Weather permitting, we also used to take Grandma to the cemetery to visit her husband and my Uncle David, who died about five years ago. One time my mom got a flat tire there so we had fun giving directions to the AAA guy! We were there quite a while, all got sunburned, but loved the experience nonetheless. I'm sad Grandma died in winter; I shudder at the thought of putting her in the cold earth.
Well I'm going to miss the funeral, but we knew that was possible when we came to India. And maybe it's for the best. Grandpa Holbrook died when I was six, Grandma Chadwick when I was eight, and Grandpa Chadwick when I was 23. Due to my young age, I didn't know my other grandparents well. I was by far closest to Grandma June and I think the funeral would be hard for me. I'm happier to be away from it all. Incidentally, I'd probably get stuck as a pall bearer or something and I'd just rather not.
On a very personal note, we spent Feb 12-14 in Pondicherry on a little vacation. We decided not to take the computer so that if Grandma passed we could enjoy our trip. Because traffic in Bangalore is insane, we left at 4 am on Saturday (FR night in UT). Our driver called us at 4 am to let us know he was here, which woke me from a dream. I dreamed I was in India but I flew home to see Grandma. She was telling me how she just couldn't die. I told her about Susie's mom's experience, wherein she related that she also had a hard time dieing. Susie's mom said she finally had to accept the fact that, despite her independence the past 14 years, she felt like she couldn't die until Susie's dad Roy was able to come and get her. She said she finally accepted that, and she passed the next day. I told that story to Grandma, she said she felt that was the answer she needed, and she died in my dream. Seconds later, my phone rang to wake me.
I didn't share this dream with Susie until we got to Pondicherry Sat afternoon, as I wanted to mull it over first. I'm not a visionary person, not at all. But when I turned on the computer today, the email from my mom said that she spoke about/with Grandpa a lot the past few days, and I had this dream the about 15 hours before she died. I don't know what it means, other than I was thinking about her that night when I went to bed, but it means something to me I suppose. Susie says Grandma used to ask her all the time about her mom's final days, since we were all there with Frances up until the end.
Grandma would have no problem with Grandpa getting her. Grandma was a widow for 25 years, and I never saw her date once after he died. They were madly in love.
I'll miss Grandma, and I really don't look forward to telling this to Maggie tomorrow. We mailed her a package from India last week but I'm sure she never got it. I had asked Susie to mail a package a few weeks ago but oh well, she didn't. I feel bad about that. But the older I get, the more comfortable death gets. It's hard to grow up and lose people but that's just life. I remember when Susie's Grandma Rosie died, Frances said she was officially an orphan. With both my parents still alive, I get the sentiment a little now that all of my grandparents are deceased. I love you Grandma and wish all happiness.