Friday, September 10, 2010
Some days are more interesting than others. Wednesday was like that. I had returned home from a RS meeting and a stop in at the office to see if I needed to make a deposit. Glen had returned home from an appointment in north Phoenix and due to a somewhat sleepless night, had just awakened from a short nap. The door bell rang and two young women stood at the door. They were somewhat expected as mission transfers had just occurred.
Glen, the ward mission leader, welcomed them inside and seated them in the living room with ice cold glasses of water. I joined them for the introductions, Sister Holliday from Idaho then Sister Stephens from Maryland.
"Glen, don't you have family in Maryland with the last name of Stephens?" I asked.
"Yeah, my cousin, Kaylene," he replied.
"That's my MOM!" exclaimed Sister Stephens.
And so the reminiscing began. Sister Stephens is pretty young, but she vaguely remembered Grandma B and her home in Draper, especially since her grandparents (daughter of Grandma B) lived right next door to the south. I told her about the missionary board on Grandma B's dining room wall with a map of the world surrounded by pictures of her descendants with a ribbon leading to the location of where each had served as missionaries. That map was bordered shoulder to shoulder with shining faces and it was covered from top to bottom and side to side with colored ball tipped pins. I'm sure that Gina is included on her map in heaven.
Talking of Draper and Grandma B took me right back to her front porch with its view of the mountains. Family barbeques in her yard were a constant experience for our young family. My sons had just participated in the annual Easter egg hunt in this picture.
While on FB today I was reminded that it would be Grandparents Day on Sunday. The poster had also shared a story about her grandmother and challenged her FB friends to share a memory of their grandparents. I've thought about that all day and once again felt saddened that many of our grandparents had left us at a young age. I wanted to share a picture or two with my children of the grandparents that they knew personally.
Grandma B always welcomed visitors. Here are those same three great grandsons, who once sat on the porch, stopping by to say hello.
Sister Stephens remembered the toy closet in the corner of Grandma B's living room and also remembered her sitting in her favorite chair. Her husband, Raymond, passed away from cancer in August 1975 just after Glen and I were married.
Grandma B (June) had a daughter whom she named Elma. Elma married Jordon and had a son named Glen. My children were in heaven when the pickup truck with personalized plates would arrive in Arizona from California for a visit.
They also loved it when they would go to California to visit Elma. She loved to share the "happiest place on earth" with her grandchildren. When she had cancer one of her final wishes was to have ALL of her grandchildren join her on a last Disneyland visit. Unfortunately, she was unable to go with them but they returned to her home to tell her all about it.
June and Elma loved to have a good time. Whenever a new ride would open up at a Southern California amusement park, Elma would secure an airline ticket for her mother, June, so that they could be among the first in line. Unfortunately shortly after June's 80th birthday, Elma died of cancer.
Jordan didn't stay much longer. He died in his sleep a couple of years later in the home on the north side of Grandma B's in Draper where they had planned to retire together. He was a quiet, gentle, and loving man.
My mother, Velva, was a pillar of strength to all who knew her. Her husband, Gary, passed away after a long and lingering illness just short of his 50th birthday. Her life was one of service to him as well as her six children.
Velva's life ended after an 8 year battle with Alzheimer's disease. We lost her piece by piece so my youngest son, Nathan, never really knew his grandmother as she really was.
My grandfather, George Ostler, lived into his nineties. This picture was taken on his 80th birthday in Idaho Falls. His second wife, Alice, sits by his side. His daughter-in-law, Velva, as well as myself and my children, David and Janae ,were in attendance at this special party. During my childhood, I spent more time with George and my grandmother, Georgianna, than with my other grandparents. They had three sons, the oldest of whom was my father, Gary. When I, their first grandchild, was born they were thrilled to have a girl and I was often invited to spend several days and nights at a time in their home. Georgianna passed away when I was almost 12.
Glen's father Jordan's parents both passed away when Glen was quite young. My mother Velva's father passed away when I was 7 and her mother when I was a very young mother myself.
As family members have gathered to celebrate special occasions over the years, I have often wished that these special people could still be in attendance. We've missed them at mission farewells, weddings, and grandbaby blessings. Perhaps they have been closer than I knew.