Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I have no words for a title.....

Yesterday my "grandmother" passed away. Now some of you may be wondering why grandmother is in quotations. This grandma was my dad's stepmom. My grandfather and her got married after my dad's mom passed away. My parents were already married and had two kids. This is the grandma that I always knew as grandma, but knew that my dad's mom had died a while ago. With Grandma Heffelfinger passing I have no grandparents left. I know that isn't that uncommon, but I sometimes wonder what I have missed not knowing them or them knowing about me. There is the obvious of me wanting them to know my girls and knowing what my parents were like when they were kids.

Over the summer my dad said that I would have liked his mom, Grandma Marcille. I don't know why that got me thinking, but I realized that I know little about her. I know that she loved photography and pictures. I sometimes wonder if that is where I got that from. I don't know how her and grandpa met. I don't know when her birthday is, I don't know when she died.

My mom's mom died when I was little, but I do have some memories of her. I remember going over to her house after 4 year old kindergarten and playing go fish with her. I remember listening to 8-tracks with her. (Yes I even remember 8-tracks) I remember having snacks with her, graham crackers and Tang. I don't know her birthday and I don't know the day she died, but I do remember her.

My mom's dad died when I was a sophomore in high school. Grandpa Waga was a quiet guy, but I think that if he was still alive, Chad could get him to talk, just like my dad could. I remember his brown el camino sitting in the garage with the back down and him drinking his Pabst. I remember his candy up in the cupboard and you always got a piece when you left. I remember the music box that hung on the wall above the sink and still wish I would have salvaged after the fire. I remember damn cat and having to tell him that he ran away after the fire, because we didn't want to have to tell him that the cat died. I remember his basement with his tools down there. I remember 3 bananas, sardines in tomato sauce, and low sodium V8. I remember the day he died and having to tell people who called that he died. I remember his funeral, it was my birthday. I remember him in his flannel shirt, because why should he be buried in a suit when he never wore one. I remember the pig he made at the Lutheran home that won a prize at the State Fair after he had died. I don't know his birthday either, but I don't think that is important because of all the things I can remember.

My dad's dad died December of my senior year of high school. I do remember the day he died, I was in Green Bay for a basketball tournament. I remember going to see him in the hospice once, but then not again. My dad said that he didn't want us to remember him that way, but how he was. What do I remember, well I remember shorties and bags of chips opened at the seam. I remember always wanting to go to the store with my dad on a Saturday at the small chance that Grandpa was at the Four Walls and we would stop to see him. That meant nothing better than a Kit Kat and a Mountain Dew and a dollar in your pocket when you left. I still find myself checking the parking lot when we drive by. I remember staying over at his house on 60th and Beloit and playing games with him. I remember his car that he painted that hideous blue, you all know what I am talking about. I remember the Lakeside Country Club jacket that my dad still has and had put on during Christmas. I remember his cardigan sweaters that he had on no matter what the temperature was outside. I remember everyone telling me stories about him the summer I worked at Interstate. I know that he was in the Navy, but never got to hear any stories.

I don't remember that much about "grandma" Heffelfinger. After grandpa died, she wasn't around as much. I know that she probably felt a little out of place being with her husband's family. The one thing I remember and always will was a few Christmases ago. It was either the one before Chad and I got married or our first one. We were at Susie and Kip's and we were sitting around the table. We were just chit chatting and she brought up Grandpa Heff. She was telling me how he used to carry a picture of me from tennis in high school and show it to all his friends. I don't know why she was telling me at that point, but it really meant a lot to me.

After my mom told me about her on Sunday and telling me she wouldn't make it through the week I just got to thinking about all of this. My girls are pretty lucky to have their grandparents and be able to see them and play with them and get to grow up with them. We may be thousands of miles away, but already they are forming their memories that they will take with them for the rest of their lives. I hope that they have memories that will make them smile their whole life. As ra-ra Heff is getting ready to come down here, I see Maddie getting excited and telling me how she wants ra-ra to go to the playground with her. She wants ra-ra to sleep in her bed with her. She know that we have to go to the airport and pick her up. Those are the things I want her to remember and I think that she will, just like I remember those small things that mean a lot to me.