It is hard to think about my Grandma dying. She is the first relative of mine that I feel like I knew well that has passed away. Growing up, she was always called Grandma with the pool. My mom’s mom was Grandma on the farm; Kathryn was Grandma with the pool. I think it either comes from the house in Houston or from John Knox Village’s pool that we would swim at. That was so long ago, I can’t remember.
Most of my memories come as a comparison between my grandma’s. Today, it seems bad that I would compare the two, but I don’t think that as a kid I did so thinking one was better or worse, just different. The thing about grandma that I remember the best was the food that she had. Grandma with the pool had sugar. She would have little Shasta, 6oz, sodas in her fridge. She always made these chocolate or butterscotch cookies by melting chips and mixing it with some sort of cereal. They were great. She always had candies and cookies. She was a grandson’s dream. My other grandma didn’t eat sugar. Instead of chocolate, she had carob chips, honey or fructose was sugar, dried fruits and jams were sweeteners. I liked eating at Grandma with the pool a lot better.
We would also go out to eat with her. When she lived in Orange City, there was this little restaurant in Deland that to this day is one of my favorite places. Whenever we would visit, that is where I wanted to have breakfast. Ponce a De Leon Springs State Park. There was an old sugar mill that had been converted into a breakfast place. It was unique because the old wooden tables had a hole cut in the middle where an electric griddle was placed. You would order whatever pancakes or eggs or meat that you wanted and they came to you raw. You would then cook them in front of you and eat them hot of the griddle. They had a whole selection of syrups too. (This was before I ever went to IHOP.) We only ate there a couple times, but I certainly remember them well. Even to this day, I ponder the idea of starting my own restaurant with the same setup. At the time it seemed brilliant.
Long John Silver’s was the other great restaurant.
Besides the food, another great memory that sticks in my mind was her energy. Grandma always had more energy than people 30 years her young. I remember visiting her on family vacations where we would go shopping or the beach or to a spring and she would walk circles around my dad. She was always going, always talking. We would talk about all the things that she was doing at John Knox. Helping at the library, playing games, eating with friends, taking people to church. She kept driving probably a few years more than she should have, but she didn’t kill anyone so all’s well that ends well. Grandma was a little fire ball.
She hated the sun. Too many years of cooking her Swedish little self to a brown crisp as a young woman lead to numerous fights with skin tumors. As a result, on even the hottest Florida days, she would be bundled, head to toe, with her wonderful polyester clothes. Big hat and sunglasses were hidden under her ever present umbrella. Even in Florida it didn’t rain that much.
Grandma’s house smelled like moth balls.
Grandma had this great coffee table made of brass. I really wanted that table when I was young.
Grandma loved a good deal. She would always tell us about the $100 shoes that she bought at the thrift store for $0.50. I always thought that spending even $0.50 on something so ugly was a waste of money, but she loved those shoes.
She always wore high heels, which helps when you are 5’ nothing.
Finally, Grandma loved Jesus.
Grandma loved Jesus.
She would talk about the things that she had read in the Bible. She had notes all over her house reminding herself to pray, praise, thank Jesus for His blessings. I can’t say enough about how much she loved him. I hope I will have that same love when I am old. For years all she wanted was to go and be with Him, a very noble thing. One Christmas when I got older and started to realized that I too love Jesus, though not as much, I bought her a new Bible. It was a New King James Version, Large Print. I don’t know how many times she would remind me that I bought it for her and how much she loved it. I cried the last time I saw her. She wasn’t there, her mind wasn’t, but her Bible was. On her lips where prayers to Jesus, prayers that others would know Him and love Him as she did. By her side was that Bible, note scrawled throughout it, the pages well worn. In her heart was God’s love.
I love my Grandma with the pool.