Saturday, April 19, 2008

More thoughts on Grandma Jeanie

I am speaking at the services that will be held for my grandmother today. Here is what I'm saying.

Grandma Jeanie
I’m Jeanie Hogg’s granddaughter, Nikki Wilson, and I get to tell you what it’s like being her grandchild. Going to grandma’s house was always a great adventure. There was always so much to look forward to. For our first evening at grandma’s house we usually had Little Ceaser’s Pizza for dinner. And we were allowed to eat as much as we wanted. Then after we were feeling quite fat and happy for awhile she would say, “How does root beer floats sound?” We would get all excited and grandpa would say, “But Jeanie, we don’t have the stuff for root beer floats.” And she would tell him, “But you can go get some Wayne.” And he would say, “Yes I can.” And he would get his shoes on and go to the store and we would get root beer floats and Stephanie remembers sitting at the white bar stools waiting patiently. At bedtime we knew that most likely we would get to sleep in grandma’s bed, or if all the grandchildren where there at once, she squeezed all 7 of us on one air mattress. Somehow she made that seem like the best sleeping arrangements ever. She would pile us all on the air mattress then sit on a chair and tell us stories about when she was a little girl. Mostly she talked about her family and how much fun her brother and sisters would have with all their cousins. She would tell us how important family is and that we should help each other. Then she would have us lay down on the mattress facing one direction and we would scratch each other’s backs. Tiffany remembers that sometimes grandma would sit in the other room watching the news while we did this. But soon we would hear her call out from the living room. “Switch!” and we would turn around and scratch some more. It’s not until now that I realize she was teaching us an important lesson about serving each other, and the benefits that are in it for each of us.
Grandma knew each of her grandchildren well and knew exactly what we looked forward to when we went to her house. I loved a cup of apple juice in the morning with grandpa. So whenever I came to visit there was apple juice in the fridge, even last November when I visited her in Cordes Lakes. Beth remembers that whenever she came over, grandma had Sunny D and hot dogs with saur kraut. Josh and Crystal remember the ice cream because they weren’t allowed to have ice cream at home. Jeremy always ate grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup at grandma’s house. Kim remembers making the cream of wheat to eat with Grandma and she loved picking out a nightgown from grandma’s pajama drawer.
Grandma was big on education. She would encourage us to do well at school and to strive to go to college. Kimberly, Daniel and Evan remembers grandma reading books to all the grandchildren. She worked at Glendale Community College for a long time. Recently I wrote an essay for a scholarship I applied for and the essay title was, “How a GCC staff or faculty member empowered me to succeed and continue my education.” I of course knew this would be a no brainer for me and wrote it all about my grandmother. I took it to her at the hospital two weeks ago to let her read it. She told me how much she loved it and how proud she was of me. Then she told me to double space it and not to use abbreviations. Grandma was very forgiving in a lot of areas of her life, but grammar and punctuation wasn’t one of them.
If we thought grandma loved being a grandmother, we soon found out that she loved being a great grandma just as much. As soon as the great grandchildren, and more grandchildren, started rolling in, grandma was in seventh heaven. She always bragged at how good she was at getting any of the screaming babies to fall asleep. We always teased her that it wasn’t skill that her perfume acted like a sleeping gas. She would just laugh and say she had the touch. When my oldest child, Samantha, was able to talk, she got confused by all her grandparents and had a hard time keeping grandma and grandpa Hogg separate from great grandma & grandpa Hogg. So grandma told Sammi she could call her Grandma Jeanie. Sammi did as she asked but she figured that if grandma was grandma Jeanie then grandpa must be grandpa Jeanie. I was a little embarrassed when I first realized what she was calling him, until grandma started to laugh really hard, and said, “no it’s ok, you don’t mind do you Wayne?” Grandpa just shrugged and said, “It don’t matter to me.” So Grandma & Grandpa Jeanie stuck. Soon there were more and more grandchildren and great grandchildren to keep track of she did a good job of making us each feel important and special. Justin remember sitting on grandma’s lap just talking to her and then giving her hugs and kisses. When I asked my kids what they remember most about grandma Jeanie there was a variety of answers which included her hugs, how she never worried about herself, how she was always there for us when we were going through hard times, their trips to the boutique store, and they all said they will miss grandma saying, “Wayne!” cuz it usually meant she was sending him for Happy Meals.

Grandma was all about family. One needed only see the time she spent organizing the Godbehere Family Reunion every year to know this is true . She always took great pains to make sure the reunion letter was perfect and that no one was left out. The yearly reunion meant so much to her, and when any of us told her it was too much work for her she would just sigh at the fact that we didn’t understand and continue planning it. Every year people would continue to show up. This year grandma let me and my husband arrive early to set up and organize everything since she wasn’t feeling too well. As everyone showed up the first thing people noticed was that Jeanie wasn’t there yet. Everyone looked as lost as I felt without her there to shout out directions. I know now that she was just preparing us all to carry on the reunion without her and we will. My grandmother spent her life trying to keep her family close. This past week our whole family has benefited from the fruits of her labor. Because when it comes down to it, we are a strong close knit family thanks to grandma. Without all her hard work, our support system wouldn't be so extensive. She knew this she saw what the rest of us are sometimes too blind to see. So thank you grandma for knowing how much we really need family and for making ours strong enough to with stand anything even missing you.


giddymomof6 said...

Thank-you for sharing this! I loved reading it! It is so wonderful! And it's nice to see a part something, I'm not able to attend. We are thinking of you all! We love you!
The James Gang

TheWenbergFamily said...

Hey Nikki... this is your cousin Sheena. It was so nice to read this post about your grandma. My aunts, uncles and father are all so sad about her passing. My dad called her "the nurturer". I know she made a huge impact in their lives because they are all so upset and have talked about how much she meant to them. I wish I could have known her more. I'm feeling kind of jipped that my dad lived so far away and I never really got to know my extended family. I remember her always being so sweet and kind. It's amazing how much my grandma and Aunt Jeanie look alike. Thinking about you and your family and sending prayers your way.

Merrimom said...

It's perfect Nikki. I really enjoyed reading it and I'm sure you did a wonderful job today.

NancyM said...

You did a magnificent job at the funeral. Your words were very touching, and your stories about your grandma were all heartfelt. I love you and your little family very much, and pray that even though your grandma is gone, we will all stay just as close as before.

Wilson Family said...

Hi Sheena! Hey I've been trying to read your blog but it says it's private. How can I be included? My e-mail is Let me know what I need to do to read yours. Thanks, Nikki