I took the train from Scottsbluff, NE to Denver, CO in the summer to see my grandparents. They lived in Colorado Springs, which continues to be a magical place in my mind. Sometimes my cousin Kerry Jean met me there. Sometimes I was by myself. It was something that I greatly looked forward to doing. My grandmother, Jo Annette, was a great grandma to a young girl. She was the first beauty queen I personally knew. She showed me the picture of herself in her OSU yearbook and she was a stunner. I remember hoping I looked like that picture when I grew up. Grandma put me in a light blue room that had big windows and was filled with antiques that I was allowed to touch. She had jewelry boxes in every bedroom filled with costume jewelry. Kerry Jean and I used to quiver with excitement waiting to get our hands in those boxes. I always felt very grown up because Grandma would take us to fancy lunches or teas downtown and we went to all of her favorite antique stores and did lots of shopping in general. She never talked down to us. It was perfectly normal to do all of these things just like we were adults. If shopping is a genetic trait, it certainly came from her side. Grandma and Grandpa took us high into the mountains to a town called Cripple Creek. It’s an old mining town and we would pan for gold, certain our financial fortunes were about to change.
These are only a small taste of what Grandma and Grandpa planned for my visits. It was an important part of my childhood.
Time and aging were not kind to my grandma. A lot of sadness is attached to her later years, and frustration too. Even in things you wish did not happen or happened differently, there is an opportunity to learn from them and, hopefully, allow you to pursue your own life differently going forward. Grandma died in her sleep on Wednesday, and what is interesting, is that all I think about in regards to her now, is how much fun she was when I was little. One last gift, perhaps.
I’ll have another post again next Wednesday.