Today, the woman that I know as queen, left this earth in peace. This beautiful lady is my grandma. To tell you the truth, I don't really remember exactly what started her title and reign as queen in our family, but I do remember all of us teasing about it and her happily accepting the title and role. From that point on, she was known as "the Queen" and/or "Queenie" and according to her, I was known as princess.
She quickly accumulated all sort of "queenly" gifts because everything pretty, sparkly, royal, and especially adorning a crown, reminded us of her.
I was so very blessed to live right across the street from my grandma and grandpa for almost my entire childhood. There have been many, many times over the years that I have talked negatively of living in that small town growing up, but today, I realized that if I had not lived there, I would not have all of the precious memories that I have with my queen. It's good to be reminded of the things that really matter.
If I wasn't following her around the house, I was following her around the yard and flowerbeds. If you couldn't find me in her lap in her favorite chair and her rubbing my back or playing with my hair, then you could find me rummaging through her box of fabric and her jars of buttons. If I wasn't sitting at her table eating her yummy fried eggs and toast with jam, then I was probably sifting through her closet looking at her clothes and shoes. She was a stylish lady; always looking her best and presenting herself as just that, a lady.
And if it was 5:30 in the evening, then you could most certainly find me sitting in the living room munching on cheese and crackers and kipper snacks for the daily snack time....in which I always invited myself to! We also watched The Wheel of Fortune together during snack time. Both my grandma and grandpa could've been on that show and walked away with lots of money!
If it was Wednesday, there was a season in which you would always find me at the laundry mat with my grandma helping her sort and wash and fold clothes with a trip to the ice cream parlor for two rootbeer floats afterward.
She taught me to sew a pillow, to play Rummy and Kings Corner, to play the knuckle song and Silent Night on the piano, to always laugh at yourself, to walk like a lady, that you are only as old as you feel and to enjoy life to the fullest, no matter what.
She made the best fried chicken in the world, the sweetest sugar cookies, and the most comforting grill cheese sandwich accompanied by the warmest mug of tomato soup.
She made me laugh so much and I thought she was so funny that I called her my crazy grandma. Apparently, I would bring my little friends across the street and knock on her door and when she answered, I would introduce her as "my crazy grandma." Then, I would ask her to do something crazy! I was proud of her; I wanted everyone to meet her. I am still proud of her.
Whenever anyone would leave her house, she would stand at the top of the driveway and do a little dance as you pulled away. She did this for as long as I can remember. We would all smile and laugh and wave "happy hands" back at her and I would watch out my window until she was no longer in sight.
I can still see her dancing.
She might have told an inappropriate joke or two, or three, or four as well. I remember one time in particular. I think I was in junior high and we had moved away at that time. She came to visit and stay with us and as she was whispering her joke in my ear, my dad walked into the kitchen and immediately could tell she was up to something. It was so funny, not the joke (I don't remember that).
I watched her every move. I listened. I soaked her in; her smile, her laugh, the way she would cut her eyes and crunch her nose and the way she could bring fun and joy into any room.
I held her hand and studied her wrinkles; they were beautiful. I loved listening to her play the piano and sing. I can still remember the smell of her perfume and her voice saying, "I love you always."
I asked questions....about everything she did and she was always so gracious to listen and answer.
I wanted to be with her every chance I got. I asked to come over all of the time and I LOVED the times that I would get to sleep over!
Once when I was older (in college), a few of my close girlfriends and I loaded up for a small road trip and headed to grandma's house. She stayed up late with us playing cards (Canasta!) and laughing and being her silly, fun self. We tried on all of her old hats and took fun pictures. She looked through old photos with us and told us stories.
She would often be ready for another game when the rest of us were ready for sleep!
I love this woman so dearly and she will forever live in my heart and my memories.
You reigned well my queen.