I can remember as a child thinking my grandparents were old at 50. Now, I am approaching 50 and I don’t feel old on the inside –but I do have aches and pains that I did not have at a younger age. I guess, what I am saying is that my spirit is still young.
I will always remember my grandmother in her 90’s cooking family dinners for us. She wouldn’t let anyone help her because that is how she showed her love for her family. She was raised in the generation where it was a disgrace if you were not married and did not have a man to care for you. I don’t think she ever understood my choice to remain single and follow the Lord.
My grandmother lost her first husband when she was in her 50’s. She lived alone and I stayed with her at night for about four years. Then, she was married to a man who took care of her and they had a good life together. He was a good man-I would spend weeks at a time with them during the summer. Then, the Lord called him home. My grandmother then eventually was married again – but I know in my heart this man was verbally and physically abusive to her. I didn’t realize what was going on until my grandmother was hospitalized and she had marks on her neck from where he tried to choke her. I reported it to the authorities – but since my grandmother didn’t want to leave him nothing was done. She came from a generation that you didn’t leave your man under any circumstances.
I tried to convince her that we could get a place together – but she wouldn’t do it. I believe another reason she refused was they were in a couples club and without a husband she wouldn’t have been included. My grandmother is with the Lord – but the only regret I have is the wonderful times that we could have spent together and didn’t get the chance. I have many wonderful memories of childhood and I will share a few of them with you. One of my most favorite memories was going to the local “Dime Store” and getting a hot dog with a bun. I can still remember the wonderful smells of the fresh popcorn in the store. My grandmother and mom would then continue shopping after I had the snack. Unfortunately, what usually happened was on the way to the next store I would trip and skin my knee. I remember crying and they would go to a local drugstore and purchase some medication that helped the pain and probably prevented infection. I just enjoyed being with my mother and grandmother. The reason this was such a great adventure was that we lived in the country and so going to town and buying a hot dog was a very special occasion.
The last two memories involve a train. I would go to my grandmother’s farm house to spend the day while my dad worked the farm with my grandfather. So, my day was usually spent with my grandmother playing with me. She lived in 2 story farm house with a long stairway that led upstairs. Grandma and I would spend hours sitting on the steps playing train. She was the conductor and I was the passenger – she would pretend to stop the train and then give me a list of possible destinations and I would choose one. Then, we would pretend the train was moving and then the train would stop and I would get off. Then, it would start all over again. This would go on for hours and only a loving grandmother would have taken the time to play with a child like this.
The next memory I have is that of riding a train in Flora, IL. I think it was located near a park and (I believe) the train was called: “Little Toot”. The train was going to be moved to another location – so one day my grandmother took me to Flora and we rode the train all afternoon. My grandmother told me as we rode the train the last time that day – she wanted me to remember this day forever because someday I would only have my memories to reflect on. She was very correct because at this point in my life – I have no family that I am close too and since my mom and grandmother are with the Lord – I am so blessed to have memories to get me through the tough times.
So, if I can leave you with one thought – that would be enjoy today and make memories that will last forever.
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