Family History Tuesday: Grandparents

Almost every Tuesday, Dede offers question(s) or idea(s) to spark a memory to capture for your children, grandchildren, family, and friends.

This week’s prompt: Describe your favorite memories about your grandparents.

Robyn and Grandma Missestoney swingingMy mom’s mom died in May 1980. (Actually, my mom’s funeral was on the anniversary of her death.) I was only 4-1/2. I have a lot of impressions of “Grandma Missestoney”, but only a couple of concrete memories. My favorite involves pushing my sister into a towel rack. You see, I was chasing Ann (probably age 2) through the house. She ran into the kitchen and I pushed her. She hit her head on the towel rack on the kitchen/garage door. She needed to go to the ER, so my mom dropped me off at my grandparents’ house. They took me swimming, at Heather Farms Park I think. When we got back to the house, we had dinner. My aunts were there. They were in college, I think. Or maybe Aunt Carol was already working and just living in the Bay Area. Anyway, I remember sitting at the kitchen table with Aunt Carol, Aunt Sue, my mom, my dad, and my grandfather. (Ann must have been there too, but I don’t remember her there. I can really see the others sitting down at their places.) My Grandma was up and down going into the kitchen to get things. Everyone was trying to get me to eat broccoli, which I did not want to do. My grandmother came back from one of her trips to the counter and said, “Leave the girl alone!” or something to that effect.

Grandma Missestoney was an alcoholic. Apparently, she was incredibly mean to my mother. But I only remember her being nice to me. She yelled at me once, for pulling on a pussywillow that she had in a huge vase in front of the fireplace. It was a you’re-going-to-break-something yell, not a mean yell.

Grandma BabicaMy Dad’s mom, Grandma Babica, died in October 1980, so I was 5. The memories I have of her are vague impressions. Most of what I remember is her house, along with her garage. Her husband (my Dad’s stepdad, who died before I was born) built the house and garage himself. There was a peach tree out back, and rose bushes in the front. I know where the house is, but I haven’t been there to see it since I was in college. What I remember about Grandma Babica was that she made Jell-O with peaches from her tree. I remember playing with Ann in the back of the garage, where there were plants. It was dark because the back windows were covered with a ripply green plastic. There were clotheslines hanging across the driveway, and Ann and I used to throw a ball at them. If we hit them, we got a point.

Joe & Diane

My mom’s Dad, Joe, died in 2005, just a few weeks before Jack was born. I have lots of memories about him, fortunately. He was a truly awesome man, and I wish I had … I guess there are some things that I regret doing. I  wanted him to be proud of me. I probably succeeded in some ways, but there are three things I did that I think upset him, and I wish I hadn’t done them. Nothing major, but, I know he was disappointed, and it hurts to think of him being disappointed in me. I went to Carnegie Mellon because he went there when it was Carnegie Tech. I know that made him happy. Hey, it made me happy too! I met Max and learned so much more than I would have here at a UC.

Grandpa remarried after Grandma Missestoney died. At first, his new wife was “Grandma Diane”, but  she became “Grandma” by junior high. She’s still here with us. If anyone can live to be 100, Grandma can. I tell Jack that, and it makes him happy. I really hope I’m right. She goes to the Fitness Center almost every day, plays golf, does errands for and with her friends, and she’s in a bunch of clubs and groups. Her social calendar is probably more packed than ours most months. I know this isn’t a memory, just random facts.

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