Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Grandma Jane

Tomorrow, a very special lady will be celebrating her 83rd birthday and I just wanted to tell you a little bit about her.

My Grandma Jane was raised on a farm and received formal schooling at “Country School” only until the 8th grade, which was a common practice for girls back in “those days”. She and her sister, Emily, helped out on the family farm. Since there were no sons, I am certain that she and Emily probably did as much work as any male. This is where Grandma Jane gets her work ethic that has been passed through the generations. There is nothing this woman cannot do.

At age 19, she met my Grandpa Bill who was home on leave from the War. They met at the City of Brentwood Carnival and were introduced by the sister of Grandpa Bill’s buddy, Homer (her name was Mildred). Homer was also dating Grandma Jane’s sister, Emily. If I recall the story correctly, it was raining and Bill had offered to buy Jane a lemonade but didn’t have, as it turned out, enough money for both of them so Jane paid the nickel for her own. They didn’t ride any rides that night – just sat around and talked. Jane thought Bill was a cocky soldier and Bill was enamored by this young farm girl who had moved to the “big city”. She had spunk and Bill liked it.

The two were married in 1946 (coincidentally, Homer and Emily were married in 1945) and the wedding reception was held at a local dance pavilion, complete with banjos and fiddles. Sixty years of marriage later, they ended up with two daughters and a son, which ended up producing six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, with one on the way.

As a kid, some of my fondest memories include how Grandma Jane was the best back scratcher in the whole world. Sleepovers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house were the best as she would read book after book, at my request, until I was nearly asleep. To this day, when I hear her read anything out loud, I am instantly transformed into that seven year old who loved to sleep on the fold out couch at Grandma’s. Grandma Jane also introduced me to braunschweiger sandwiches, which I loved as a kid but cannot stand as an adult.

Grandma Jane and Grandpa Bill moved to the Ice Cream Capital of the World® from our “home city”, a large Metropolitan area, in June of 1999, following their oldest daughter, my mom (with dad and my kid sister, Diana), who had also made the move from that same city to Le Mars a year earlier, to follow their oldest daughter (me). This family exodus occurred nearly 12 years after I had moved here. All of this was in an effort to bring keep some of the family close together and to “get out of the rat race”, as they called it. Family has always been important to Grandma Jane and Grandpa Bill….and this, too, has carried through the generations.

Together with Grandpa Bill, Grandma Jane helped me tremendously by providing all the daycare and transportation from school to activities for both of my boys. They attended every single music concert and were such a rock to both myself and to my children.

Sadly, we lost Grandpa Bill in 2006, but Grandma Jane remains the steadfast matriarch of the family. She works almost full time as a greeter in a large “box store” and loves it because she gets to talk to everyone. At 83, she is often on her feet an entire shift and sometimes she will even work an 8-hour shift.

So much of who I am today is due to her influence and I owe her so much. I hope that on my 83rd birthday, I am able to do HALF the things that Grandma Jane does today. She has never missed a step and is the youngest and most vibrant 83-year old that I know.

Happy Birthday Grandma Jane!

…and if you would like to wish my Grandma Jane a happy birthday, please post a comment. When it asks for your ID, chose the “Anonymous” posting option – you won’t have to sign up for anything! She reads this blog regularly and I think it would be cool if anyone responds with a birthday greeting for her…plus it will be a good exercise for all of us to learn how to post comments within this blog and boost some interaction among the readers.

Until, next time, I remain….1SweetMama


Anonymous said...

From one Jayne to another Jane! Hope you have a VERY speical and joyus Birthday. If I were still in Le Mars I would wear my birthday hat and sing you the Happy Birthday song.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Grandma Jane! You Rock!