03 November 2008

Grandparents save lives

I was lucky enough to have good parents, but so many people don't, and for them, a good grandparent is often a lifeline, an adult who provides sanity and stability and love when no one else is doing it. God bless good grandparents.

In memory of Barack Obama's grandmother, Helen Philpot is collecting good grandma memories. If you are so inclined, go and contribute yours.

My grandmother Janie (we called her Gramie) was born in 1906 and was one hell of a woman. After her manic-depressive stepfather screamed at her when she was 14, she told him she would never spend the night under the same roof as him, and she never did.

She moved out and got a job at Woolworth's in Santa Barbara. She met my grandfather and married him and raised two children during the Great Depression, living in a big house with other relatives and no indoor plumbing to get by.

Later on in life, she got an entrepreneurial itch and opened a dress shop, Janie's in Morgan Hill, that provided the majority of the family income. She was known for her great, thoughtful customer service. As a little girl, many of my best outfits came from Janie's.

She was so saucy, too. She had a funny sense of humor and loved a joke. As a kid, I was fascinated because she owned drinking glasses that, when filled with cold liquid, would cause the swimsuits on the pinup models pictured on the glasses to disappear, leaving NAKED LADIES! Oooh risque!

One of her projects was to try and befriend her crabby mailman. Every day she worked on him, cheerfully greeting him though he showed no signs of responding. Finally, after literally years, he cracked. I think it was one of her proudest accomplishments that she got the postman to consider her a friend.

Gramie and her friend

She was a smartie, a good employer, a good businesswoman, a helluva bass fisherwoman and a good friend. I hope I am one-half the woman she was. God bless you, Gramie. I miss you!


g said...

Beautiful. I never knew my grandmothers - one lived too far to visit, the other had died before I was born.

I'm glad my son has both his grandmothers.

elvie said...

I miss her too. She was a special lady.

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