If my grandmother still lived, she would have turned 108 yesterday. She would have donned her Mary Kay™ makeup and Estee Lauder™ perfume before shuffling to the kitchen for a slice of custard pie and coffee. And she would have soon found herself all covered up with grandkids and great-grandkids wishing her a special day.
Oh, how I wish she would have.
We all miss her much but look forward to seeing her in glory one day. Until then, I like to read this poem I wrote for her 90th birthday (and later read at her funeral) and remember.
My Grandma’s House
Eight twenty-seven South Spencer Street,
Its last owner I’d like you to meet.
Born in May some ninety years ago,
Now with three children and their kids in tow.
Meet Florence Amelia Zaeske Chase.
We’ve come to honor her here in this place.
Some in body, some in spirit,
All to pay tribute to a woman of merit.
A day of remembrance, today it shall be;
A day when all of the world will see
Inside the door of my Grandmother’s house.
C’mon in! I’ll show you around.
Down the long driveway of a stately brick ranch
Push open the screen, swing open the latch,
Through the Dutch door, you’ll see me grin
‘Cause now we’re standing in Grandma’s kitchen.
It smells of Palmolive and baking pie crust
A hug and a kiss for Grandma – yes, they’re a must!
The counter holds dozens of chocolate éclairs,
Cookies and donuts – so many to spare!
Gram smiles and shuffles her two slippered feet
To the big brown cupboard and pulls out a sheet.
It’s a wax paper bag to fill with goodies and sweets,
M&Ms and red hots, all kinds of treats!
At Christmas, it’s cutouts of snowmen and stars,
Bathed in sugar icing and hidden in freezer far
Far, far away with the chocolate and nuts,
Whirl-a-gigs, thumbprints – we wanted some, but
We played in the basement, good for hours of fun
With plenty of room for all little ones.
Perfect for hiding, perfect for play,
The best place to spend each rainy day.
Except for the Tomcats adorning the walls,
We loved to play store and whatever else.
Pool and shuffleboard, maybe dress-up,
We’d play ‘til grownups said, “Time to clean up!”
We’d sit at the kids table, never alone;
We’d devour our meals, then we would moan.
We giggled, we talked, we made memories galore,
And after Gram served pie, we’d clamber for more.
Us cousins, we loved to play all kinds of games:
Basketball, hopscotch – even in the rain!
Gram would make tea and all kinds of jam,
We’d watch from the sandbox, happy as clams.
Inside we’d go to taste her Swiss steak,
Maybe orange roughy or Texas sheet cake.
Whatever she made, it was the best in its class,
Gram’s a five-star chef, truly having a blast .
Cooking for grandchildren the dishes they loved,
Remembering with fondness her husband above.
Thanking her God she is able to cook,
She made her family a recipe book!
The love that she showed us, I’ll never forget
Nor the deep prayers her lips would let
Soar up to heaven each night on her knees,
Beseeching her God to “watch over them – please.”
Thank you, dear Gram, for investing your life,
I know Grandpa believed you were a wonderful wife.
You made a house into such a warm home,
I am so blessed to call you my own.
Happy Birthday in heaven, Gram!
They just don’t make grandmas like that much anymore.