Life with Gramma: Chicago mom reminisces about the woman she adored

I had writers block for my bi-monthly piece for Chicago Parent.

I usually turn my post in the Friday before it is due.

That day happened to be the birthday of my Grandmother who is now in heaven.

She would have been 110.

I was almost ready to email my editor and throw in the towel.

Then it hit me.

I want to write about Gramma.

Because she was like a second mom to me.

She was a beautiful spirit.

And I think you need to know her.

So in honor of her, here is my post.

21 reasons why I still miss my Gramma

1 – She made the best barbecued chicken.

2 – She smelled like a mix of Anais Anais, old paper and love.

3 – She answered the phone saying, “yellow … “

4 – She rarely took a good picture … which I inherited. But when she did, it was amazing.

5 – She wasn’t a huge animal lover, but animals adored her.

6 – She was a sexy minx when she was young.

7 – She was named Ella but went by her middle name, Lucille, most of her life.

8 – She literally walked five miles to school, uphill, in the snow, at 5 a.m.

My Gramma and her family. L – R: Her mom, her sister Flora, brother William, sister Mary, my Gramma and her dad. Taken in front of their farmhouse.

9 – Knowing she was waiting for me when I got home from school/work always made me smile. Except during junior high because I was one surly teenager during puberty.

10 – I had trouble sleeping by myself when I was young until an embarrassingly older age. I slept with my Gramma and she never made me feel bad about it.

11 – She loved Kentucky Fried Chicken.

12 – Whenever I hear birds chirping I always think of her. The day she went to heaven, there were hundreds of birds on my front lawn. All day.

13 – She lived with our family from the time I was six until she died.

14 – I used to inhale her coats. Because of reason number two.

15 – The smell of Freedent gum reminds me of her. I may or may not have bought some since she died. Just to smell.

16 – She was feisty. Once, when a boyfriend didn’t send me flowers after I had my wisdom teeth pulled, she called him. I got flowers the next day.

17 – She lived to be 102, just three months shy of turning 103.

18 – When I was pregnant with my youngest, her namesake, she touched my belly a week before she died, said “I think it is a girl.”

19 – I used to love riding in her car, “the junker,” when I was little. I can remember going to the gas station to get gasoline for her mower. To this day, the smell of gasoline brings that day back to me.

20 – She was always a huge sports fan cheering on her Buckeyes and Cleveland Indians. But she became a huge Cubs fan after moving to Chicago in 1989. Her favorite player was Mark Grace.

Dancing with a friend of mine on her 90th birthday.

21 – She would have loved reading my blog. And this piece.

Every life she touched was touched for the better.

My friends adored her.

My oldest daughter considered her a friend.

To my mom, she was the world.

For 37 years, I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

She was a gift that I thank God for every day of my life.

And I miss her today just as much as that day she went to heaven in July of 2007.

If you still have your Gramma, Granny, Mamie, Nana or Mamaw, go give her a big hug.

Because there is just no one like your Grandmother.

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