This is a guest post by Deb, Joan’s daughter, copied from her knitting blog.
Because it’s her birthday, I’m going to talk about my grandmother today. Mom’s Mom.
This is the grandmother of the famous diamond ring story. The one who, er, visited Mom and me at the Sweet Life Cafe. The one to whom my dog Chappy owes his name.
Because, you see, Grandma grew up on Martha’s Vineyard. She graduated from high school there, her mother is buried there, and she had enormous ties to the island before she moved to New Jersey and met my Grandfather.
She brought my Mom up every summer of her childhood, to romp around Oak Bluffs with her friends Willie Jones and Jackie Robinson. To be spoiled by her godparents. To go to the beach. To ride the Flying Horses. (That’s Grandma kneeling, and Mom is the itty-bitty tyke on the blanket.) All of which, of course, has made my mother absolutely love Martha’s Vineyard–which, of course, you all knew already since you’re here, reading about her MV Obsession. And that love, of course, she’s passed on to the rest of us.
Unfortunately, my grandmother died when I was 9 years old. I distinctly remember the day–June 22nd, the last day of third grade–and I was setting the table for supper when the phone rang. It was Grandpa, asking to speak to my Dad–which scared me right off the bat because, why would he ask to speak to Dad first? And I remember the sound of Mom’s scream when Dad passed on the news. It was totally unexpected. She’d been in bed with a cold but–so far as we knew–relatively fine, until her sudden heart attack. She died in my grandfather’s arms and Mom still says that that was the worst day of her life.
Since I was fairly young when we lost her, I don’t have that many stories of my own to tell about Grandma. (Her name was Maude, by the way.) I wasn’t old enough yet to really sit and talk and laugh with her … but I know that Mom got her sense of silliness from her, and passed that on to me. In fact, Mom has also said that she used to get silly with her mom the way that I get silly with her–obviously something she and I would have had in common.
She also crocheted–I’ve got a box filled with beautiful, dainty handkerchiefs with handmade lace around the edges, for which I give her great credit. I’ve tried doing that myself and find it far too hard to see what I’m doing with the crochet hook at such a small scale.
And, um, did I mention her love of Martha’s Vineyard? (grin) Because, you know, if she hadn’t loved it so much herself, and had such ties to it, she wouldn’t have brought Mom there so often when she was little. And then Mom wouldn’t have loved it enough to infuse that into her kids and her grandkids. And then, certainly, I wouldn’t have a dog with a Martha’s Vineyard-inspired name. (Two of them, technically.) Considering how much I love Martha’s Vineyard, I’m really very grateful for that.
And, of course, those stories that I’ve got–like that diamond ring story–are certainly good ones. But the best thing I owe to my grandma?
Happy birthday, Grandma!
March 11, 2014 at 10:01 am
What a lovely tribute… thanks for sharing. I’m glad for all your MV love too, because it’s what brought my google search to your moms blog, and from there I’ve gained a vineyard soul sister and learned so much more than I could have as the occasional tourist about MV. 🙂
March 12, 2014 at 6:19 pm
how beautiful….my sister-in-law, karen, just lost her *oma* yesterday….and this is such a beautiful tribute, and how deb said that the best thing grandma gave her was *mom* ♥
mom’s & grandma’s have a very special place in our hearts