Remembering Nannie on Her Birthday

It’s hard to believe that my grandmother, Nannie as we called her, was only 34 when I was born. It’s been years since I was 34, and I can’t imagine being anyone’s grandma at this point in my life.
 

Because Nannie was younger than the average grandma, I feel like we had a much closer relationship than many girls and grandmas are lucky enough to have.
 
Which is why when she died of colon cancer on Easter Sunday, April 23, 2000, it was more like losing a parent than a grandparent, and it’s why even now, almost thirteen years later, I still miss her everyday.
 
I’ve noticed the older I get, the harder it is for me to remember things. So many little details of my childhood have already been lost, and a couple of amazing recipes handed down by my grandmother have already dissipated into thin air because I didn’t write them down, believing I’d always remember.
 
So I created a Pinterest board, dedicated to all the things that remind me of Nannie. I enlisted the help of my sister Cindy, and I was amazed at the number of things she remembered that I’d already forgotten. But when we put our two heads together, we came up with a board that represents Nannie “to a T”.
 
Things like her love of hummingbirds, the tiniest and sweetest of birds.
 

 And her obsession with playing Bingo several nights a week – although I have to wonder what she’d think of current day sites like PartyBingo where you don’t even have to leave your house to play.

 
Nannie loved flowers, and her yard was filled with them. She took pride in her flowers, and spent a lot of time taking care of them.
 
 
 
 
Her yard was often filled with other things, too: cats. She loved cats, so she didn’t mind when, almost every spring, a mama cat chose Nannie’s tool shed as the place to birth a litter of kittens. Nannie always named each and every one of the kittens, although she never kept any of them. She always tried to find homes for them all.
 
 
But the thing she loved most in the world, besides her children and grandchildren, was quilting. She spent so much time, sitting at the huge quilt frame that occupied most of the space in her living room, hand stitching until her fingers bled. She made beautiful heirloom-quality quilts for everyone in her entire family, and as I write this, I’m looking at mine, hanging from a quilt hanger on the wall of my home office.
 
 
Today is Nannie’s birthday. She was born 83 years ago today in a tiny little town in eastern Kentucky, and it still pains me to remember that she spent her last birthday in a hospital bed in Muncie, Indiana. But soon after that, she got to go home, where she spent her final days and weeks in the care of her loving husband, my step-grandfather Bobby, and where she took her last breath early on that Easter Sunday morning with my uncle Jimbo at her side.
 
If I live to be the age Nannie was when she died, I’ll have lived half my life without her, and that’s a sad, bittersweet realization. But I’m so very grateful for the memories, and for the time I had with her. Most girls my age have probably lost their grandmas by now, but I envy those of you who still have yours with you.
 
In my Nannie’s honor, won’t you share a grandma memory here today?
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Comments

  1. says

    Leslie & I were very close to our mother’s mother, our Granny Ida. She passed away at the ripe old age of 89, 11 years ago this coming June. I have a million memories I’d love sharing, but I was just discussing a particular thing with my mom last night, so I will go with that one.

    My Granny was diagnosed at a very young age with crippling rheumatoid arthritis. She was never able to do so many things we all take for granted, like driving, or even twisting off a bottle top. As a very young child, I knew all about her disease & I developed a fascination with her hands. Even as twisted & crippled as they were she worked hard. I loved to watch her shuck corn, shell peas & crack pecans for hours. I think my Granny had the most beautiful hands I have ever seen. She had long nails, always kept them so carefully, even in her hard work. She still held me like a baby & they were so gentle & soft to me. Since that time as a child, I always noticed hands & they are my favorite body part & also one of the first things I notice about absolutely every person I meet. She may have appeared crippled & unable to others, but she was invincible to me & she was my hero & she always will be.

    Ida Mae Spears Adams ❤
    April 19, 1913-June 20, 2002

  2. Cindy Blake says

    Very sweet, Lauren.
    I don’t know how to access the pinterest, so if you have a link for that, that would be great.
    Nannie and I didn’t always get along, and I’m not sure why. I remember when she had her first surgery, we hadn’t talked for a while. When I walked into her hospital room, she asked me why I was there. I told her, “Because you’re my grandma and I love you.”
    Thanks, Chrissy, for sharing this. What a sweet way to honor her birthday.

  3. says

    I did not know some of these things, like her love for hummingbirds. I remember her love for cats, and I remember a little poodle (I think poodle) that she fried a hamburger for every single day. I remember drinking my very first diet pop, Tab, at her house in Indiana. I remember visiting a friend who was in college at Anderson and we drove to see her and visited for a few hours. I have some wonderful pictures of her just a few years before she died and I will get those out very soon and scan them and share them on Facebook. I would love to see all her quilts someday, or at least pictures. The log cabin above is beautiful. Love you guys.

    • says

      Rhonda, I don’t know about a poodle! Jimbo had a little dog named Peevy, but I don’t remember what breed he was. I think he was gone before I was born, or at least when I was very young. She did have a little tiny toy manchester named Tiny, but I don’t recall her eating a hamburger!

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