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Bonus Friday: My other grandmother

Those of you who've followed me for a while have read about my paternal grandmother to whom I was very close growing up, but I was lucky enough to know both of my grandmas. My first Friday of the month post over at Everybody Needs a Little Romance is about my mom's mom and the different role she played in my life. I'd love to have you come over for a visit.

Have a great weekend!

What a lady

My grandma in Pompeii, 1980

I lived in Germany twice as a kid. The second time (ages 5-8), my grandma came to live with us after the first year. She became my backseat-mate on the many long trips we took in our teensy, weensy VW Rabbit. She was also my playmate, tent-mate when we camped—which was very, very often, maybe too often, Dad—and built-in babysitter.

Did I mention I was an only child?

Maybe it was because she’d once been a kindergarten teacher—or more likely it was why she became one—but my grandma had a youthful spirit that lasted until her death at age 93. She was playful, adventurous, and just plain fun.

One of our more memorable travel moments happened while riding a city bus—somewhere in Europe, I can’t remember quite where. We decided to pretend we were speaking a foreign language. So we just made up words on the spot, talking in complete nonsense to each other, but speaking English to my parents who were probably back there rolling their eyes (or maybe hiding their faces).

Finally after several minutes, the guy ahead of us turned around and asked us what language we were speaking. I must have blushed five shades of pink when we admitted we’d just been goofing around.

Me and Grandma in Bern, Switzerland, 1980

I’m not sure if he was honestly curious or just wanted us to shut up, but we recovered quickly and found a new game.

When I think back on our time overseas, my grandma was only there for a year-and-a-half of it, but she dominates my memories. Sledding in Switzerland, riding the loop-de-loop at the Oktoberfest in Munich, letting me “take her out” to dinner at the restaurant around the corner from our housing area in Heidelberg.

Leaning into each other in the back seat every time we went around a corner, listening to her stories about her prankster father and always-getting-into-some-mess sister.

If I have even half of her spark and sense of adventure, I’m a lucky woman. I know I’m lucky to have had such an amazing lady as my grandmother.

Who had a big influence on your life?

The Sunday Squirrel: poem for my grandmother

My brain is full of lists of things I need to do for the move, so I'm cheating on the impromptu part today. Instead, I dug up a poem I wrote for my grandmother several days before she died in 2001 at the age of 93. She was an amazing woman full of smiles and laughter and a sense of adventure. She lived with us for 18 months while we were in Germany, and I spent many weekends at her house when I lived in Tucson. We had a special bond for which I will be forever grateful.

Long over the years you’ve seen,
So many things have changed.
From carriages to motorcars,
And even more insane.

Depression, Hitler, World War II,
A new family to start.
Motherhood is now your cause,
And Arizona’s in your heart.

Men in space and still you race,
Head held high and strong.
Loving arms of motherhood,
Growing ever long.

Peace and love and war rage on,
Generations born anew.
And so the family grows,
And grand-motherhood ensues.

Deutschland awaits, we’re at the gates
And off to see the world.
Back seat giggles and stories abound,
Precious to a little girl.

Robots, rap and techno pop,
The malls we scoured for hours.
And love grew stronger in my heart,
As did this bond of ours.

Another war, the Internet,
New babies in your hand.
Now a mother can add greatness,
Where once was merely grand.

Y2K and still we stay,
A new century is born.
Across the generations ours is
A tie that can’t be shorn.

There’s more to see, I beg you to stay,
But only for selfish gain.
If in your heart you long to be free,
Then I’d rather ease your pain.

If freedom will bring you joy,
Then let your spirit soar.
May sunshine brighten every day
For you for evermore.

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