My last living grandparent died this month, April 19, 2011. She was my father's mother. I have so many wonderful memories of my Grandma Shorter. She was a very elegant woman. She was always well groomed. I remember every Friday was her hair salon day. She would go and in and have her hair washed, sometimes trimmed, rollers put in and then it was under the heat dryer for an hour or so. Then the hairdresser would do her hair just so. I remember accompanying her from time to time to one of these appointments. She always looked so grand and beautiful after. Her makeup was done, her nails. She always smelled of jasmine. She had a presence about her. I only knew her to be calm, sweet and gracious. A true southern woman.
She would randomly take me for over night visits to her house. That's when she would teach me how to embroider and sew, with the sound of "Love Boat" or "Fantasy Island" playing in the background (it was the 80's). I treasured those times with her. She was a safety net for me during a time that was not very pleasant for me at home.
She loved to cook Sunday Supper and lay out her best Franciscan Desert Rose dishes. She loved strawberries, her kitchen reflected this love and the Franciscan Desert Rose dishes looked very much like the blooms from strawberry plants. Whenever I come across these dishes I'm reminded of her.
I was only around her as a child and teenager, so I was never able to appreciate any stories she may have told me when I was little about her life. I wish I could have spent time with her as the adult I am now and found out more about her life. She will now remain a lovely, mystery to me.
It's always a strange feeling when someone you've known your whole life passes away. A part of my childhood has passed along with my grandmother. I feel very blessed to have had two sets of grandparents (material and paternal) and have had intimate relationships with all four of them. They took up the slack raising my sister's and I when our own parents were unable to do so. I learned how crochet, sew, cook, clean, embroider, be crafty and creative from my lovely grandmothers. These wonderful gifts I now posses are all thanks to them so there is a part of them that lives on in me.