This is a post I wrote back in 2008. It never made it to my blog because I had somehow, inadvertently, lost one of the photos. It was a portrait of my Grandma from her younger days. I still can not figure out how to get it back on this tribute to her. So here it is, my memories of the woman who loved me so unconditionally. I hope Evelyn can say the same about me some day.
I thought I would introduce you to a woman who had a huge influence on me. This is my Father's Mother, Grace Genevieve Shanahan Trombly Barber. She was born on February 4, 1888 and died on my Father's birthday March 16, 1956. She died in my bedroom. I wasn't home. I was at a friends for dinner...a new friend who I was enamored with. Her name was Susan Decker and she was a "new" girl. Just moved to our area. Her Mother drove me home and invited me to dinner. It was Friday. Grandma had been over for the afternoon and was staying for a fish dinner to celebrate my Dad's birthday. Mom said I couldn't go to Susan's and I started crying. Of course Grandma persuaded her to let me go for a couple of hours. Susan's Father would bring me home in time for cake and ice cream. I kissed Grandma goodbye not knowing it would be the last time.
Off I went so happy to have a new friend and to be having dinner at her house. During our dinner I talked about Grandma and how close we where. Just before desert was served the doorbell rang. It was my Mother. Standing in the cold, tears streaming down her face and Dad's car in the driveway. Grandma had died...probably a massive heart attack. I put on my coat and got in the car, shocked and not believing this really could have happened.
You see, I spent a lot of time with Grandma. She loved me unconditionally. She nurtured me, she hugged and kissed me every time she had a chance. I can still remember what it felt like to sit on her lap and lay my head against her chest and hear her heart beat. She taught me how to be a lady. How to eat with my left hand on my lap. How to daintily wipe my mouth with a napkin that was carefully placed across my lap. She took me to have my hair done at the beauty salon at Crowley's downtown. She gave me manicures with only clear "natural" colored nail polish. She took
me to lunch at Stouffer's downtown and we traveled on the "street car". She read me a story every night I was with her, until I was old enough to read to her. I dusted the carvings on the ornate dining room table legs because she couldn't do it anymore. I ran up and down stairs for her. I spread cream cheese on celery stalks and sprinkled them with paprika for our Sunday dinner appetizers. I placed 78rpm records on the record player and helped roll up the oriental rugs so we could all dance on Saturday night get togethers. She taught me how to shuffle cards and we played Old Maid and War until I got sleepy. I handed her laundry from the basket so she could pin them on the line without having to bend over to get them. I helped weed her rose beds which were her pride and joy. Most of all I just loved her. And I told her I couldn't imagine my world without her in it, so much so, that I wanted to die if she died. Imagine my dismay that she had left without me.
GRANDMA AND ME, JANUARY 21, 1956(2 months before she died)