***I think I might finally be catching up with my schedule! For the last week I have been nothing less than exhausted by the time I get home from work and have had something going on every day. (What’s new?)
I had a rather peaceful Saturday given the circumstances. It was my Great Grandma Hallberg’s funeral. She passed away the previous weekend at the age of 97. I have many fond memories of her and was surprisingly not “sad” when she passed. I felt a sense of peace for her and was happy to know she was with my Great Grandpa in heaven.
My Grandma was the strongest woman I have ever known. She taught me so many things, to never stop fighting for what I want, that “you-who” is always the appropriate greeting, to always stay close with your siblings, that a little sass goes a long way, to remember where you came from, and that you can never have too many tomatoes or salami in your fridge.
When I was eighteen I moved into her house in SF with her for two years while going to school there. She was in the beginning stages of dementia which made certain aspects difficult, but I wouldn’t have changed that time in my life for the world. Before I moved in I knew her as the loud and sparkly Grandma that shared a birth month with me and my sparkly Aunt, she was loving and she always cut the turkey for the holidays. When I lived with her, she shared memories with me, we laughed and played cards, we discussed current events, we visited family together, and we went on a scary car ride or two. She said unforgettable things and even scared me a few times.
One evening my friend Christina and I were getting ready to go out- I think we were just going to walk around with no real plans. As we were walking out my GG yelled “Have fun and don’t forget your bandana!” When we got to the muni we laughed so hard we cried. What bandana was she referring to? We figured she was referring to a head scarf from the 1960s or something like it. I still have no clue, we sure didn’t have bandanas!
Before this next story, I should preface it by saying she went to the senior center every day and on the way home she ALWAYS stopped at the grocery store to buy something. It was usually tomatoes and salami, sometimes pistachios or macaroons. She had so much salami and tomatoes that it was a full time job to rotate them for her! Especially because she never threw food out, I had to do it on the sly when she was sleeping or gone. She lived through the depression and never lost those habits.
One day she wanted to go to the store and convinced me to go with her, and despite my many attempts to drive, she insisted she did. I have never been more scared for my life. She drove slowly but did not pay very good attention to her surroundings and it was a miracle she was never hurt or hurt anyone. I held on for dear life while she chuckled at me and I said a few prayers when we got there safely. We bought some tomatoes and salami and went home, on another scary ride.
That car of hers was part of the discussion on Saturday as her godson and nephew talked about it moving through family members. It is a 1986 powder blue Buick, the typical granny car, that is still kicking. It was at the funeral, another great nephew is driving it now. That same car was the culprit in a curious blue streak on my then red Eagle Talon that GG denied ever happened.
Perhaps my favorite memories of living with her are those of us looking through old photo albums and talking about her childhood and telling me how my Grandma was growing up. I loved hearing about my Great Grandpa too.
I hope in my life I can be half the woman she was. She always had fun, always ate well, and always helped people out. She is surely doing the same in heaven. I know my life was greatly enhanced living with her and getting to know her.
I hope you all soak up your family memories and cherish the moments you get to spend with your grandparents.