One of the fondest events of my childhood was the yearly visits of my midget Grandma Day. Her arrival signified hope, love, joy, and even humor throughout my childhood.
After she left Oklahoma to return to California, I always read her letters which began with, “How are you? Fine I hope” and continued to open a window for me and my siblings to the world.
She and Uncle Dexter gave us kids attention, excitement, and caring in those summer visits.
She came armed with a boatload of amusing stories about her life. Once on New Years she was at the Rose Bowl Parade in a huge crowd. She and my Aunt Lucille were going to see the floats.
All of a sudden she couldn’t see a thing since a tall man was blocking the view. He heard her giggle and turned around to catch her staring at his belt buckle. She had just said to my aunt, “A gal would have to have a ladder to kiss that feller!” The man chuckled and moved over so she could see.
When the call came saying we’d lost her, I was devastated. She may be gone, yet what she meant to me will always be in my heart and memories.
The “sparkle” she gave to me I endeavor to pass on to the many children — some who could be considered “strays” whose lives I touch.
The lasting memory of how much the letters, presents and rembrances meant influence me to give special attention to the little things for the students of all ages who come to me for help.
Thank you, Grandma Day. You are my sunshine. I can hear her saying, “Why, shore.” I’ll try to pass it on. I didn’t say goodbye. I said So Long, Grandma Day.
As I flew back from L.A. to Texas I saw the ocean, feeling at once the depth of despair we all felt as we faced that day.
Then we seemed to be over the water forever, and I gradually felt at once the peace of land and the beauty of the oceans and mountains. I never quite knew when I quit seeing the ocean as the clouds misted my vision, as did my grief.
This reminded me that we all may not quite know when we quit feeling the depths of sorrow — but we surely will. We will cherish the precious memories and the warm sunshine of Grandma’s smirk and wit. None of us will ever loose the gift of her love — and the daylight of her presence.
I wrote a letter thanking my Uncle Dex for his caring for Grandma all those years, and for his kindness as I traveled back to California to say farethewell to one of my greatest childhood joys–Grandma Day. I also thanked him personally for being such a fine role model, as he was the only man in my growing up years who showed me kindness.
We must now be glad we are blessed with good friends. We can ride on the wings of friends, family, and faith. Sing, suffer, and choose to heal. This pain is a passage to a far better thing — fond memories.
My little grandma gave me many gifts of the spirit:
* Sense of humor. She never would fuss or quarrel. She’d wrinkle up her face, get a light in her eyes, and make a smart crack, and no one could resist a chuckle.
* Can-do attitude. She somehow survived living in a tent with her children and alcoholic artist husband on the banks of the Keystone River. She started decorating cigar boxes with shells in her sixties, and kept us and our cousins constantly exposed to the beauty of nature and art with those creations.
* Enjoyment of life. To this day, I still possess her gleeful cackle which found its way into the ears of all around her. She taught me life could be fun, no matter the specific circumstances of the day.
My Grandma Day lit a light in me which I will always carry: the light of fun, faith, family, and friends. She may have been tiny, but her life of 99+ years sure packed a whallop:-)
Copyright 1990 just after her passing, by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.