For some people Memorial Day isn’t the happiest day, but for me it’s a chance of remembering my history. Last year I put flowers on our family graves with my grandmother and this year I’ll be putting flowers on her grave. I miss her, my grandpa and my great-grandmother, but I always have little reminders of them. They all worked so hard to give their children (my mom) and thus myself a better life and yet they still found time to enjoy life and pursue their crafty side.
My great-grandmother was very crafty. She was excellent at gardening, crocheting, knitting and even embroidery. Some of my fondest memories are of her sitting on the sofa and crocheting afghan squares. I have her old knitting needles and crochet hooks and every time I use them I like to think I am channeling her abilities.
My grandpa was an orchardist which is a very difficult job. It requires patience, an ability to creatively come up with solutions to problems and an innate sense of the land. I wanted to be an orchardist for a long time and might have been except that things in my life changed with a baby and a move an hour away from my grandmother (my grandfather had already passed). He didn’t want me to be farm because it the life was too hard. Under it all, I knew that I probably didn’t have that innate ability that he had, but I really wanted to preserve the legacy of my family. I love the orchard and now that my grandmother is gone, will miss going up there regularly like I used to. It is a place that brings an ultimate sense of calm and happiness. It is a place that is surrounded by nature and yet I can still hear the laughter of all the people who would crowd the tiny (now dilapidated) house built by my family. There are so many memories, especially of my grandpa. He taught me how to fish and hunt for mushrooms and how to pick an apple. My son reminds me a lot of my grandpa, both in looks and personality. Every time my son smiles at me in that mischievous “I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m going to anyway” smile it reminds me of my grandfather who had that same mischievous streak. It makes me smile and wish that my grandpa could see him.
My grandmother, now she was an interesting character. She was very quick-witted, even at the end. We shared a love of jigsaw puzzles and could sit for hours together trying to figure out how the pieces fit together. She was a wiz at remembering names and I wish I had her talent. Even at the end she knew who everyone was and probably most everything about them too. I always felt closer to my grandpa than my grandma until he passed away and then I became very close to her. I wish that I had been closer to her. She was really good at sewing and I would have loved for her to teach me. She did, however, teach me the basics of crochet which helped my addiction to yarn.
I was always closer to my mom’s side of the family than my dad’s side and have much more fond memories of them. As a child my sister and I would spend a week at my grandparent’s orchard making mud pies, playing hide and seek and enjoying the wide open spaces. I miss being able to talk to my grandparents, but I know that they are always with me. They all carried a creative streak that they passed down to me just by being in my life. For that I am eternally grateful.