I’m very honored to be standing here today to share with you just a little about a very special lady – my grandma. As hard as it is to come to say good bye, as sad as we all are at losing this very precious spirit, she is truly in such a better place. And I know this – but she will be missed. Her quiet spirit will be missed, her genuine smile, my grandma’s voice, her warm touch.
Elizabeth Brockwell grew up in the small farming community of Adsit, Virginia. Grandma shared memories with us of a life that few of us can even comprehend – I asked grandma to pen for me some of her childhood memories, and she did. A very small sampling:
“Mama made our dresses out of feed bags. They were pretty, she smocked, embroidered, and put lace on them. We had two pairs of shoes, one for everyday and one for Sunday. We washed clothes on a washboard and boiled them in the big iron pot in the yard. We raised hogs and used every part.
We used kerosene lamps for light. Water came from the wells, outdoor toilets and Montgomery Wood catalog for tissue.
I loved to read. I got books from the library to read. I still remember reading my first book, Black Beauty. Santa brought it to me.
We went to church in a buggy.
One of my uncles taught me to do the Charleston but my daddy didn’t let us go to dances.”
For awhile now, we’ve known that grandma was readying herself to go home. Ninety three years is a lot of life – and she lived all ninety three of those years. When Uncle Bob called me to let me know that grandma had gone home, I felt very panicked, fretful, and alone. I suddenly needed to remember. I needed to not forget anything about grandma. As we all know, memories dim as the years pass and I was frantic that I not misplace all that grandma had given to me – those life altering, priceless moments in time that we spent together. My purpose today is to share just a glimpse of what my grandma gave to me for a lifetime of memories:
-grandma pulling up a yellow step stool so that I could see over her counter as she baked.
-playing hide and seek in her yard – usually in the bushes out by the road
-the smell of grandma and granddaddy’s house
-grandma tucking me in at night and pulling the door to a crack and telling me to come and get her if I needed anything at all.
-grandma reading me stories from the big Children’s Bible on the bedside table
-walking around the backyard listening to all of the names of flowers and veggies and wondered if I would ever be able to have such a pretty yard – I don’t.
-frozen peaches from the freezer at grandma’s
-the full freezer at grandma’s
-sitting at the sewing machine as my grandma tried to teach me to sew
-the dressing table with silver brush and comb
-the squishy carpet in grandma and granddaddy’s bedroom
-breakfast in bed with mama and grandma on Mother’s Day
-the grandfather clock chiming in the night
-permission to taste concentrated orange juice
-dresses made with my grandmother’s hands
-loving arms around me teaching me how to crochet
-digging around in the yellow stool for yarn
-walking on the sand at Myrtle Beach
-quilts and crocheted blankets made by grandma
-watching Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights with grandma and granddaddy
-the ceramic monkey and black ceramic cats
-grandma’s desk and her great pencils she always shared
-the “tsk tsk” when granddaddy went down to the basement for an evening tottii
-setting the table for Thanksgiving and Christmas in the dining room with the pretty china and silver (she even let me pick out the tablecloth)
-Guy Lombardi playing on the record player
-the sound of grandma’s footsteps coming down the hall in her house
-climbing the stairs to the attic where lots and lots of treasures lived
-finding love letters from granddaddy and watching grandma blush
-pulling tomatoes out of the garden – listening to instructions on how to know when the veggies were just right
-riding in the car after grandma first received her driver’s license
-eleven stockings hanging on the mantle with those bendable elves
-old, old, old legos in that metal can that were Uncle Bob’s and dads.
-the black and white and red and white teddy bears we only played with at grandmas
-grandma & I playing dress-up with her old hats and scarves
-sitting in the sliding bench chair outside the garage
-the chain link fence that had the coolest contraption to get in and out
-silver, metal trashcans
-going to church with grandma and granddaddy at the big church in Cary, NC
-pulling the mixer up and down from underneath the counter in grandma’s kitchen
-sitting in the floor in the kitchen while grandma cooked
-ice cream floats
-walking in to the kitchen and looking down the long narrow kitchen and seeing an entire counter filled with Tupperware full of goodies
-the recipe rolodex
-washing dishes by hand even after granddaddy bought her a dishwasher (she said it was a good drying rack)
-walking around the neighborhood with grandma and granddaddy
-Christmas around the white tree with all of the blue ornaments waiting and waiting for the adults to finish eating
-the Wiggins’ coat of arms
-grandma tucking me in at night
-going through the cedar chest with grandma
I hope the list continues to grow so that I’ll always be able to look back and see not only where I’ve come from, but who I am – and why. We are a blessed family to have shared in this lady’s life. Truly, I believe that she is happy again with all of those that were waiting for her in heaven. I know that one day, I’ll see her and granddaddy again and what a happy time that will be. To quote granddaddy in the weeks before he died, “It’s going to be a glorious homecoming” – oh yes it will. Thank you for letting me share today.