Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Grandma

This is my first Mother's Day without my grandmother. Surprisingly, that thought didn't even occur to me until I was standing in the middle of a crowded aisle in Kroger this morning with all the rest of the last-minute Mother's Day card purchasers. I was silently tallying up all the cards to make sure that I hadn't missed anyone when suddenly my throat tensed, my eyes welled up, and I just knew the ugly cry wasn't far behind. I felt like such a fool crying in a grocery store. At least I had my ridiculously big diva sunglasses to cover up with until I made it to my car!

In her memory, I'm going to post one of her many stories. She wrote all the time--her journal (which let me tell you has been quite eye opening to read!!!), stories for church publications, and stories just because she she had a tale to tell.

This is the story of how my Grandma Norma met the love of her life, my Grandpa John, as told by her:

February 15, 1991

Dear God,

I’m sitting in the blue chair in the living room—my corner—listening to a birthday gift from Judy and Dave: “Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti in Concert.” Today is my birthday. Why I thought about writing this today—who knows? Maybe because I’m snow-bound and thought it would be fun.

You see God, I have this very special friend who edits all I write for publication of sorts. You know I can’t spell worth a bean and could care less where to punctuate correctly because I talk to people when I write just like they were in the chair next to me—just like I talk or write to you. Unless you’re Victor Borge, people don’t talk with : ; . ! ? as such. By the way, I’m eating popcorn as I’m writing this. The music is BEAUTIFUL!

“The Spiritual Growth Area,” or whatever at Church of the Savior—I know You know everything, but just in case You don’t know our church by name—ask persons in the “The Church of the Savior” to write “What the Bible means to me”—as you know I did that, but my friend didn’t think it was that great. She likes a story. A couple of days ago, a story about the Bible and Norma came to mind. Not really suitable for “The Lenten Book”—I can see you smiling and shaking Your head, because of course.

When I was a young girl, I used to open up my Bible in the morning with my eyes shut tight, and in like fashion would run my finger down the page to where I was sure God had me stop to read. That was “The Word,” so to speak, for my day. I did this whenever I needed help with problems also.  Norma was doing this Bible help into her twenties.

The time of this story I was in my twenties and was working at McDonald House at University Hospitals. There was to be a formal dance at the Union Club, but it was to be for the upper crust—so they said. I had charge of the nursery on the relief time 3-11 P.M. Our team worked hard taking care of the newborns. We had a happy, quiet nursery and some staff resented that—believe it or not.

I loved to dance, and romantic soul that I am, a formal was too much for Norma to resist. How I loved to dance in a long, beautiful gown. A good doctor friend secured two tickets for me. I was more than a little afraid to go, because at the time, it was true the hospitals had a definite cast system. One did not even eat in the hospital cafeteria with anyone in or out of your cast. I really wasn’t in the upper crust, BUT—I had chutzpah to the nines and no one was going to put Norma in any cast—top or bottom—that just wasn’t kosher—Jesus said so!

To make matters worse, I had fallen out with the only person I was dating at the time that could dance. I was desperate! I had paid for two tickets, new dress--no date—Oy Vey!

In order to get to work, I took the Noble Road bus to Euclid Avenue to catch the street car to the hospital (Yes most people rode buses and street cars in those “olden” days)—I had been to a big welcome home party for a friend a while back and met this handsome man named John. We talked for just a short time and that was that, never thought much about him after—until I got on the Noble Road bus and who was piloting it—John! And he could dance! 

Let me tell you, all the light bulbs went off in my head. He remembered me very well. I talked to John like I wouldn’t even believe. You could have heard a pin drop in that bus—everyone was listening. By the time we reached Euclid Avenue, John was going to the dance with me and the whole bus applauded!

What had I done—going to the upper crust dance with a man I really didn’t know that well? What if he wore the wrong clothes, and maybe WHITE SOCKS of all things!

Norma went to her Bible, closed her eyes, ran finger down the page and prayed “God what will happen?”—opened her eyes and read “YE SHALL BE THROWN OUT”—Well—what would you do? God had smited me, or so I thought. But it was too late. John came dressed proper with lovely flowers for me, and could that man dance!

We were not thrown out, but applauded (again).

I married that John, had four children—Judy, Sally, Clark and David. We loved, fought, laughed and danced for 35 years until John died. God must have been winking--Don’t you think?—when I read that Bible verse.
Never did know if he wore white socks. Forgot to look. J


  1. QB....reading this I can sense that your Grandma Norma was a caring and gentle soul from a bygone age. You were lucky to have her.

    And extremely blessed.

    Enjoy your day.

  2. I really enjoyed reading your grandma's story. Thank you for posting it. How fortunate you are that she kept a journal! I think you have inherited her talent for writing...part of her lives on in you. Take care!

  3. Thank you for sharing this story. This was my first Mother's Day without my mom, as she died in September. It was hard. But, like you, I have many happy memories to keep me going.

  4. It's lovely to have your grandmother's wonderful stories. Thank you.

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