Here are a few stories that my Aunt Loretta sent me...
"Grandma's hair turned white when she was actually quite young (probably in her 50's). I have always loved it and hope my hair is like hers someday. She always has gotten her hair done weekly so she looked nice. I always loved that she was concerned about the way she looked. She hated her wrinkles!!
Grandma was the Relief Society President (in her LDS ward) for a few years when we lived in Bountiful. The car she drove was an old one that needed a new muffler and made a lot of noise. She was always embarrassed and said she could not visit any of the sisters without everybody in the ward knowing that she was going there.
She made Grandpa his elf suit to wear for Christmas. He ran up and down our street singing and dropping off presents to people. Grandpa always got the credit for doing silly or funny things but he could not have done them without Grandma right there helping him! She had a fun sense of humor!"
One story I remember hearing that I loved, was about my Uncle Rod and my dad, Bruce. They both had paper routes. Rod's bike was broken, and he needed to borrow my dad's bike. So, my grandma told my dad to hurry and do his paper route, and then come right back home so that Rod could use the bike. After Bruce did his route, he decided that he needed to stop at the Pink Poodle for a treat. When he didn't show up at home, my grandma took Rod in the car to find him. They found him eating french fries and drinking a Coke at the Pink Poodle. Grandma gave his fries and Coke to Rod, and made Bruce go home!
Here is a picture of Bruce (left) and Rod (right) as teenagers. I'm sure they were much younger when they had bike routes, but I've always loved this picture!
My grandmother was always a hard worker, as I've mentioned before. She worked right alongside my grandpa - helping him with his real estate business. She did bookkeeping, and showed houses. They had a business called Crown Realty. A little side note: My dad told me that my grandma came up with that name when she saw a shirt he was wearing that had small crowns all over it!
My grandparents goal in life was to leave each of their children very well off when they died. They did everything for their children.
Among other things, they had 14 duplexes. My grandmother did all of the cleaning in those duplexes when families moved out. They would hire cleaning companies, but then Grandma would go in and clean afterward. No one could clean like her. In fact, my dad said that when she was about 83-84 years old, he caught her down on her hands and knees, scrubbing floors in one of the duplexes!
One of my fondest memories, was when my grandparents took the entire family - kids, and grandkids - to Disney World. We had such a great time. I was about 12 or 13 years old. They gave each of the grandkids a certain amount of money each day, and that was supposed to be used for our lunch in the park, and anything else we wanted to buy. I still have the stuff bear that I bought for my souvenir! What COOL grandparents!
I always admired my grandmother for her devotion to my grandpa. She took care of him as he declined in his last years. Just like my other grandma, she did everything she could for him.
My grandmother had a really hard time when my grandpa died. He had been in the hospital for a little while. We had all brought our families to say goodbye. There was a point where the hospital decided they couldn't do anything more for him, so they sent him to a rest home. My grandma decided to stay the night with him, and so my cousin, Tina, my sister, Kris, and I stayed with them. We had the privilege of taking care of him that last night. It's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life. We spent that night keeping Grandma company. It was so sad to see how heartbroken she was. He died the next morning. I've always felt it was such a special time with my grandma. I went home for a few hours to take care of my little family, and missed being there when Grandpa died.
My grandma was devastated. I've never in my life seen anyone who grieved for so long as she did. I seriously don't think she was ever truly happy again. I believe she lived for about 7 years after Grandpa died.
I told you yesterday, that there was a story of amazing sacrifice. Here it is...
It was a few years after my grandpa died. My grandmother continued to be a landlord for the duplexes, and she collected rents. Apparently, someone knew that she collected rents. One day, this man showed up at her door. He had some papers that he wanted to give her - some kind of accusation about her handyman, I think. Grandma was always very careful and never unlocked the screened door to strangers. She always had the little button around her neck that would signal the police. In some way, he persuaded her that she needed these papers. She unlocked the door and told him to hand her the papers. He forced his way into the house and hit her in the face. She was surprised - asking him why he did that?! He grabbed her by the hair and threw her down the stairs and then stomped up and down on her. The button came off and went flying. He said he wanted all of her money and credit cards. She told him she didn't have credit cards. (She didn't - she never did have credit cards). He grabbed her wallet. He was pretty mad when he found no money. (She had just taken all of the rents to the bank the day before). In a move that still has us all stunned, she told him that she had some money in her bedroom. (??!!!) She led him there, and when she got in the door before him, she pushed the extra police button. She told him the police were on the way. WOW! What an amazing woman. He was extremely mad. He really beat her up - stomping up and down on her spine. I really think that if she wouldn't have pushed the button, he would have killed her. As it was, he almost did. She had a brain concussion, 3 ribs were broken, and he broke her pelvis in 3 places. She lost part of her hearing on the side where he hit her head. Another amazing thing... after he left, she actually crawled up the stairs to lock the door, so he couldn't come back. Then, when she realized that the police wouldn't be able to get in, she crawled back up the stairs and unlocked the door. This time was very hard for all of us. We were devastated at what happened to Grandma. I'm sure we all played the "what if" game. I did. What if I would have gone just a few more blocks and visited Grandma that day, while I was out shopping. Maybe I could have stopped it. I remember promising my grandfather the night I stayed with him, that we would all take care of Grandma. And then this happened. She wasn't expected to live. You might have heard about this - she was the little 80+ year-old women in West Valley City, that was beat up. Almost everyone who hears the story, remembers seeing it on TV. By some miracle, and with my grandmother's faith, she survived. It took a long time, but she was finally able to move back into her house (with a brand new alarm system). I mentioned that this was a story of great sacrifice. I'm sure that my grandmother would have been ok with dying - she so desperately wanted to be with my grandfather. It would have been so much easier to just not fight, to just close her eyes and go. But, she was determined that she wouldn't die this way. She didn't want to leave her kids and grandkids and great-grandkids traumatized in this way. She didn't want us to remember her dying like this. Once again, she sacrificed her happiness for ours.
The pain of her passing is still so raw for me. She died just a few weeks ago. I'm so happy for her, that she is with my grandfather now. That she is able to be with her parents again. But, like always, it's hard to let someone you love so much go. She had such an impact on my life. I lived away from home for about 12 years, and I've always wished I could have spent more time as an adult with her. She was a women of great faith, strength, and wisdom. Grandma, I love you.
Thanks so much for allowing me to deviate a little bit from what I normally do on this blog. The last two weeks - featuring both of my grandmothers - has been very special to me, because, really, they are 2 of the most incredible women I've ever had the privilege to know.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year. I'm going to take one week off from this blog (next week), because all of my kids, and my husband, are home. I wanted to enjoy this time with them, and I'm sure all of you will be busy spending time with friends and family as well. We'll start with a new feature the first week of January. I look forward to this coming year on Incredible Women. I already have several women lined up for features, and would love to have your recommendations as well. Take care!