Tomorrow I return to Africa, my other home!
Tomorrow I return to Africa, my other home!
I went to visit my dear friend, Penny this week. She is fighting to stay with us and we are fighting to keep her just a bit longer. When you’re with someone you love who doesn’t have much time left in mortality, you begin to look at things a little differently. Actually, a LOT differently. That is one of many gifts Penny has given to me. Watching her love others unconditionally has taught me to love more freely. Hearing her repeat, “Well, I can’t take it with me” has caused me to look at stuff in a different way. Watching her share everything she has has opened my heart. I am grateful to Penny for blessing my life in significant ways. I love her.
These words are from Claire right after Grandma Grace’s funeral on 1 Nov 1998:
Grandma had curly yellowish hair.
She liked to take care of us and read stories to us–the girl that rides on the goose (Mother Goose).
She gave us treats: carrots and M&Ms and crackers and cookies and pretzels in a little cup.
We did puzzles with her–the wooden ones–a pumpkin one is my favorite.
She always gave us apple juice from her fridge and applesauce.
She wore flower kind of clothes.
She had pretty flowers around her house–purple and pink and white and yellow.
She had a bird house and stones that we walk on every time by the front door and the hose.
When she died she went in that basket with all the pretty flowers on it.
They showed everybody in the box. Grandma was in it.
Her spirit went up to heaven like our balloons did.
Do balloons have a spirit?
What do you think Grandma Grace is doing right now in Heaven?
She’s looking down at us.
She wants to say “Claire, you look pretty today. Claire, I love you.”
What would you like to say to her if she could hear you?
“I hope you have a nice winter.”
Do the angels help Jesus get the snow down?
Claire wrote: “It snowed today. Christmas is coming. I love you grandma.”
(She made hearts between each word.)
1. She was born in Glendale, CA, and grew up in San Gabriel near Pasadena. She worked on the Rose Bowl Parade floats every year while she was in high school.
2. Her mother was a beautician and her father was a disabled veteran of WWI. He struggled with emotional health much of his life. He was a gentle scholar who lived a fairly private life. Both died before I was 3 months old, she of cancer, he of a broken heart.
3. Her parents’ first child, and only son, Glen, died of a mastoid ear infection when he was 1 ½ years old. He had blonde hair. I’m sure he was adorable. They didn’t have the right medications to heal him. Grace has a younger sister named Marilyn, who one day became the Queen of the Rose Bowl Parade.
4. During high school, Grace planned to combine her artistic talents with horticulture and one day have her own greenhouse and nursery, making ceramic pots and sculptures for her plants. She put herself through college by working in a nursery propagating tropical plants.
5. She attended UC Davis, where she studied horticulture, but changed her major to elementary education after her first semester. She transferred to UCLA and graduated with honors in 1954. She would be a 3rd grade school teacher for many years, then a supervisor of student teachers at Fresno Pacific College.
6. She met my dad, Arthur Laemmlen at UC Davis. They were secretly engaged, attending different universities for 3 years. They married in 1954 in a simple ceremony in the Chapel of Roses in Pasadena, California.
7. Their honeymoon trip took them across the country to Maryland, where Art worked as a hospital administrator for 2 years. As a Mennonite conscious objector, he refused to go to war. This was his assignment instead. Grace taught school in Leitersburg, earning $2,800/year.
8. Grace and Art went to Europe after their two years in Maryland. They toured and visited Laemmlen relatives during their several weeks there, living out of a VW convertible.
9. In 1956 they moved into an old farm house on road 52 in Reedley, CA, next door to my grandparents, Rudolf and Elsa. My dad started farming their 30 acres of alfalfa, vineyards and orchards. In 1957 my brother, Paul was born.
10. I was born in 1959, and my younger brother, Eric was born in 1962. In 1961 my dad joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and my mom returned to the faith of her childhood.
11. Our family was happy and enjoyed life on the fruit farm, although mom was more of a city girl. She really enjoyed gardening and canning fruit and did plenty of both.
12. Mom always struggled with asthma in the old farm house. Dust everywhere was a problem for her. She always had her inhaler nearby.
13. In 1967 we tore down the old house to build a new one in the same place. We lived in a 30-foot trailer for 5 months as our new home was built. Mom and dad designed every inch of that home. As a little girl I remember them staying up late in the evenings working on something called “house plans.” The home became a model home and was on many home tours. Shag carpet was new then, and we loved going barefoot inside.
14. Mom was creative. She loved oil painting and watercolor. During several summers, she took design and calligraphy classes at UC Santa Cruz which lasted several weeks. She enjoyed entertaining and gardening. Everything always looked nice in artistic ways.
15. Mom was a really good cook. She didn’t need recipes. She was intuitive in the kitchen, knowing what flavors complimented each other. She also took many cooking classes. She made excellent breads and soups. She loved to use a Wok. She loved making Swedish and German foods from our family’s heritage. Saturdays were baking days. We loved her cinnamon rolls and Kuchen best.
16. Mom loved children’s books and taught us all to read (from Dick and Jane readers) before we attended school. We always had lots of books in our home and we were all good students. Mom taught me to love the smell of books.
17. Mom struggled some years with depression and her health. Sometimes during those times, she struggled with her weight. Marriage became difficult for my parents. They divorced in 1988 after 33 years of marriage.
18. Mom was private and a bit reclusive in her older years. She liked to be alone. She moved to Orem, Utah in 1994 to be near us. She enjoyed reading, gardening and watching the stars with her widowed neighbor friends. She loved classical music and her apartment was always perfectly organized. She loved keeping things in Ziploc bags and she folded laundry perfectly.
19. Mom died on a beautiful Halloween afternoon in 1998, unexpectedly, with no warning. She had all of her decorations and treats set out for her grandchildren, who would come to visit, but who would find her gone for now.
20. On the day she died, there was not a thing out of place in her home. No dirty laundry in the hamper, no old food in the fridge, no trash in the wastebaskets. She had spent the morning cleaning oil off her garage floor. Every single thing in her life was in it’s proper place, as if she knew her home would soon be exposed to all after her departure. Appearances were always very important to my mom. She wanted things “just right” and that’s just the way she left them.
I have been sorting and organizing the piles in my sewing room. In the last week I’ve uncovered about 20 years of quilting magazines that I could never bear throwing away. I’m not a clutter-free sort of person, I’m a keeper and saver. I tell my kids that living in Third World countries for several years qualifies me to be like a Depression Era survivor. I do not throw things away if they still might be useful.
So, this week I went through 20 years of magazines, page by page, project by project and I actually tore out the patterns and ideas I wanted to keep and I filed them by topic in sheep protectors in binders. It just about killed me to compromise an intact magazine like that, but I had to let go of them to make room for other things. I am donating 4 large boxes of mint condition magazines (minus a few pages here and there) to the book sale next month at our quilt guild. I’m feeling pretty good about the shelf space this will buy in my sewing room.
While I was uncovering piles of magazines, I happened across this old 2005 telephone book. Wow. I haven’t seen one of those in several years. It took me back.
I looked through the pages, remembering life as it used to be before we all carried cell phones wherever we went. We got our information from phone books. We had phone books in drawers by the phones in our homes, and we looked at them almost every day to find the phone numbers of neighbors and friends, to find businesses and services in the yellow pages, and to find information about our local and state and federal government officials.We used phone books to look up zip codes to know where to send letters. We used phone books before GPS systems were even imagined to find our way.The back half of each phone book was printed on yellow paper. The Yellow Pages. This was where we found the phone numbers and ads for businesses and services. The listings were grouped alphabetically by topic.The white pages at the front had all the names, addresses and phone numbers of normal people, like us.Here we are in 2005 at 24 West 500 South with a phone number of 801 224-9355. We used that number for about 20 years, discontinuing our land line when we moved to Washington 3 years ago. Very few people have a land line these days. It’s becoming a thing of the past. Today we have cell phones that connect us to a digital world.
I no longer subscribe to quilt magazines printed on paper. I see them at the checkout stands in stores, so I know they still print them, but when I want to search for quilting ideas, or fabric, I can go directly to quilt sites or internet sites like Pinterest right in my phone and on my computer. It’s all at my fingertips.
Our world has changed. Quite drastically, I’d say.
I’ve just spent a week in Kansas City, Missiouri, with GRANDCHILDREN! Having been away, I’m still getting used to the fact that I’m a grandma and now I can visit my 2 grandchildren! This is just about as good as it gets!
We visited Adam at Kansas City University Medical School:
Adam’s study room and studies:Adam’s food supply before our Costco run:Family love:My comfy spot on the floor:We read so many books!Getting ready for church:Is Josie in there??Squirrel eating Clark’s pumpkins!
Farewell to little Josie and this wonderful family!
This grandma job is pretty fun! But farewells are getting harder and harder.
We’ve had a Glorious General Conference Weekend at the cabin filled with inspiration and goodness. We learned of some big changes to our Sunday meeting schedule and 12 more new temples, including one in Lagos, Nigeria were announced. I am so excited.Here are 3 quilts I bound while we watched and listened to our beloved Prophet and Apostles and our church leaders. I left with sore fingers and a very full heart!