Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What Grandma Gave Me

I spent the majority of my childhood overseas, away from extended family, and sometimes feel like I didn't get to spend a great deal of time with my grandparents. But as I look at the blessing that Grandma, Virginia Owen, was to my life, I realize that there really were many memories made, stories told, and lessons learned. In an effort to post quickly and not post perfection, this blog is just a conglomeration of the things Grandma gave me.

A Love for Creating:
My grandma was an excellent seamstress and crafter. Although I wouldn't call myself an expert crafter or seamstress in the least, I love to create. I don't remember the first time my grandma let me practice sewing in her sewing room lined with shelves of fabric, multiple sewing machines, jars of buttons, and drawers full of embroidered patches and spools of thread. But I was probably four or five. One Easter, my brother and I went down to the "bay house" in Rockport, TX with my grandparents. In between fishing sessions Grandma helped us sew our own quilts. Mine had a patriotic theme, and Garrett's had a Dallas Cowboys theme. Years later, while Lorenzo and I were dating, he said he wanted a t-shirt quilt. I hadn't sewn in years, but from what Grandma taught me years before, and a little help from youtube I made Lorenzo his very own t-shirt quilt.

Anyone who has known me for very long, and probably anyone who has known my grandma for very long, would say we are slightly forgetful or absentminded. When I was probably 9 or 10, I tried to collect stamps. Grandma took me to the post office one time to help me expand my collection. There was some kind of nice coffee table book about stamps for sale that I wanted. Grandma told me that she would buy it for me then, but save it to give to me for my birthday or Christmas. We'll just say, 19 or so years later, I still have not received a coffee table book about stamps for my birthday or Christmas. A few weeks ago when my parents said Grandma was sick,(not at all expecting that she would pass away) I decided I'd send her a get well soon card and a couple pictures of Thomas. I bought the card, wrote in the card, and didn't get around to printing pictures of Thomas for a few days. Finally a week or so after I bought the card, I sent it to Grandma. I think she would have gotten in the mail sometime towards the end of last week. At least I hope my forgetfulness and dilly dallying didn't keep the card from getting to her in time for her to see it.

A Little Baylor Bear:
Grandma's mother, Grandmother Hightower, graduated from Baylor University, and Grandma also attended Baylor for a time. I believe she only went to Baylor for a year or two, before she married my grandpa and moved to be closer to him. But she was always so supportive of me going to Baylor. Someone had given her a little pin of a bear when she went to Baylor. When I started at Baylor she sent me that pin, with a little note that said, this Bear needs to go back to Baylor to graduate.

Memories and Family History:
Grandma always had a story to tell. I have many memories of sitting around the dining room table at the bay house, or in the fifth wheeler, listening to Grandma tell about her childhood and her relatives. I don't so much like to tell stories, but want to make sure that memories are recorded, thus...things like this blog. I won't give the details here, but a couple of my favorite stories from Grandma involve something about trading guns in Mexico and a donkey, and a stolen gravestone being thrown in the Brazos.
Grandma was always making sure that there was correct information about family members, where they were from, and when their birthdays were, etc. When we went down to see her one of the last times, she got her little notebook out and noted Lorenzo's name and birthday in the book...officially part of the Owen clan.

14 karat gold and hypoallergenic please:
These were words my grandma and I were both very familiar with. Grandma and I were both allergic to metal. Grandma would always tell me how they had to sew little pieces of fabric over the metal snaps on all of my baby clothes because my skin would get irritated from the metal. When I was a little girl Grandma started giving me a special kind of lotion that would help keep our skin from breaking out into a rash from wearing jewelry. Every once and a while over the years, she'd give me another bottle of it, but hadn't given me one in probably 8 or 10 years. We went to visit Grandma for her birthday in April, and while we were talking in the living room, she went to the refrigerator and got two bottles of that lotion out for me and my mom. I'm not sure why my grandma had two spare bottles of lotion in the fridge, but I'm glad she did, cause I've been using it on Thomas for the past few months, and it always reminds me of Grandma.

An Ivory Cross:
My grandparents went to visit my dad while he lived in Tanzania when he was in his 20's. At that time, buying and selling ivory was legal. Grandma must have bought several simple ivory cross necklaces to give as presents back in the states. She gave me this cross necklace when I was probably in my early teens, possibly younger. I think she gave them to my cousins as well, but it was always so special to me, to have a little piece of Tanzania, a place that was so far away, but so close to my heart.

There are so many things I could say about Grandma. The things above that she gave me are pretty trivial. The things that I hope to get as I get older and grow into more of a daughter in Christ, are her soft spirit, her genuine kindness, her generosity, her class, and her poise. I will always be thankful for having such a wonderful Grandma.


Kathy O said...

Beautifully written, Claire.

RickO said...

Well done! Thank you, Claire, for such a beautiful tribute to your grandmother.