Gather Memories

Gather memories while you may.

After my husband’s grandmother died, I realized how I treasured the small personal memories I had of her and I also realized how few those memories were. I didn’t want to lose even a tiny connection to my Grandma and I challenged my family to remember personal stories about her and share them now while she was alive.Sooo…

A guest post from my mom about her mom to inspire you to collect your own reminisces about your family:

I have given quite a bit of thought to what story I could tell about Mom. I could tell how I learned about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as I lay on the couch as a six year old recovering from the Mumps and listened to my Mother (I always called her Mother before I grew up and married) read those very exciting stories to me.

I could tell how I learned the wonderful story of the Sager Children in the magical book of On to Oregon as I sat beside her on the couch when I was nine years old. She read the book from cover to cover, not once but twice one long ago summer. I could tell how she and I lay side by side on the lawn at our house on Karcher Road outside of Nampa, Idaho and spent wonderful summer afternoons identifying the ever changing shapes of the clouds as they passed overhead.

I could retell the stories she and Dad told me of how they met and how she knew from the first moment she saw him that he was the man for her. I guess she knew what she was talking about because, even though she was only 14 when that magical moment occurred, she never wavered from that knowledge. Even now, 10 years after his death, he is still the man for her.

I could tell you how she taught me to make chocolate chip cookies and trusted me to help her make her famous fudge, both of which are family favorites to this day.

I could tell how one summer day, I was sitting on the floor beneath the kitchen table as she and a friend were peeling peaches. Mom told this lady, whose name I have long forgotten, that she had never smoked a cigarette or taken a drink of alcohol in her life. I was only about 10 years old at that time but I remember thinking, if my mother could do that, so could I. It was a promise I silently made to her that day and have kept without hesitation for 55 years.

Or, I could tell how she and I traveled all over the country during WWII, following Dad from one army camp to another. That might not seem like much of a journey to the younger generation today who jump on planes, with what appears to be no trepidation and fly not just across country but all over the world. But, long ago, young women did not just take off and travel by themselves, especially young women who had grown up in a small valley in Idaho and knew very little about the world. But, when I was not quite two, she and I boarded trains filled with soldiers traveling everywhere in preparation to serve our country. She was not much older than 18 – 19 at the most; traveling with a tiny child, to places she had never even heard of just short months before. With an old suitcase in one hand, her purse over her shoulder, and me on her hip, she and I forged a bond that has never weakened.

I won’t try to tell the adventures we had–some only dim remembrances by a small, blond girl with hair lovingly combed into long ringlets every morning by a mother who always insisted that she look her best no matter what the circumstances. Other memories are remembered only because she has told them to me, but they are the adventures and memories that are the foundation of our relationship. I won’t tell you about all of those remembrances even though they are important and treasured by me.

Instead, I will tell you of a woman who left her close knit family when she was only 15 years old to follow a man who would take her in more directions than she could ever imagine. I will tell you of a woman, who loved unconditionally not only her husband but her children, siblings, parents, friends and all who crossed her path with a love that didn’t falter, no matter what choices were made by them. She has always put others first, even when it was detrimental to her own well being.

Her life has truly been spent in service to others. She has been my rock, my pillar and my guidepost. All that is good in me, I owe to her and the not so good in me–she overlooks and just loves me. What else can I ask from my mother? She offers to me, as well as to all others, unconditional love. I owe her much and can only begin to repay her by holding her hand and walking with her into her final years.

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15 comments

  • Wow. I’m glad AM posted this story told this way. I’ve been mulling over which story or stories I could tell. But as AM said, there are many. I’m nearly (close your eyes, Mom) 40, and have been very close to Grams from day one. Even after their travels took Grams & Grams far away to Salmon, ID when I had just turned 8, and then on to Nampa, where they took care of Gramps’ mom until she passed on, and where I spent summers as a teenager.

    Some of my earliest memories are things I’ve done with Grams. Blowing bubbles on the porch of their trailer house when I was too young to remember much except the image of bubbles floating away into a pristine sky. Riding in a BIG green car, standing on the front seat (long before laws came along to make that highly fine-able, if not impossible) with my left hand on her right shoulder, telling her when the light turned green.

    Other memories, that are true, full, rich memories abound in my mind. The time, the many times, she let me practice driving some old pickup or compact car on Aunt Margie’s ranch. The time, again the many times, she sent me out to fish for my own lunch, and I usually, if not always came back with plenty. Setting rabbits free on the ranch, though I forget the reason now. Getting to borrow the neighbor’s Shetland pony for awhile, and riding her and hitching her to an old wreck of a wagon, and making it a covered wagon with pvc pipe and old quilts. Her stealthily recording a conversation we had while I was at my most imaginative, acting the part of an old lady rocking a baby while she interviewed me. Making sailboats from left-over pieces of 2×4’s and scrap cloth, and putting them in the irrigation ditch to see how far they’d go. Learning how to gather eggs from under roosting hens. Instilling in me an appreciation for fresh from the garden food, and homemade freezer jams. Those memories don’t even include the times I’d be there when Grams got together with her sisters, and sometimes with her brothers, to reminisce, making their memories seem like my own. I really can’t say how many times I’ve come away from those sibling reunions with a stitch in my side from laughing so hard.

    Recently, I feel like I’ve passed the torch on to your family, Kym. Standing back a little while you and your mom & your kids get to soak in all the goodness and fun that is Grams. And, though I do miss being able to just drop in on Grams (which I did quite a bit while I was single, even when she and Gramps lived far away), I know that I will always have these great memories, and the warm feeling in my heart, knowing that I am loved by Grams, and remain her “Little Princess”.

  • Wow. I’m glad AM posted this story told this way. I’ve been mulling over which story or stories I could tell. But as AM said, there are many. I’m nearly (close your eyes, Mom) 40, and have been very close to Grams from day one. Even after their travels took Grams & Grams far away to Salmon, ID when I had just turned 8, and then on to Nampa, where they took care of Gramps’ mom until she passed on, and where I spent summers as a teenager.

    Some of my earliest memories are things I’ve done with Grams. Blowing bubbles on the porch of their trailer house when I was too young to remember much except the image of bubbles floating away into a pristine sky. Riding in a BIG green car, standing on the front seat (long before laws came along to make that highly fine-able, if not impossible) with my left hand on her right shoulder, telling her when the light turned green.

    Other memories, that are true, full, rich memories abound in my mind. The time, the many times, she let me practice driving some old pickup or compact car on Aunt Margie’s ranch. The time, again the many times, she sent me out to fish for my own lunch, and I usually, if not always came back with plenty. Setting rabbits free on the ranch, though I forget the reason now. Getting to borrow the neighbor’s Shetland pony for awhile, and riding her and hitching her to an old wreck of a wagon, and making it a covered wagon with pvc pipe and old quilts. Her stealthily recording a conversation we had while I was at my most imaginative, acting the part of an old lady rocking a baby while she interviewed me. Making sailboats from left-over pieces of 2×4’s and scrap cloth, and putting them in the irrigation ditch to see how far they’d go. Learning how to gather eggs from under roosting hens. Instilling in me an appreciation for fresh from the garden food, and homemade freezer jams. Those memories don’t even include the times I’d be there when Grams got together with her sisters, and sometimes with her brothers, to reminisce, making their memories seem like my own. I really can’t say how many times I’ve come away from those sibling reunions with a stitch in my side from laughing so hard.

    Recently, I feel like I’ve passed the torch on to your family, Kym. Standing back a little while you and your mom & your kids get to soak in all the goodness and fun that is Grams. And, though I do miss being able to just drop in on Grams (which I did quite a bit while I was single, even when she and Gramps lived far away), I know that I will always have these great memories, and the warm feeling in my heart, knowing that I am loved by Grams, and remain her “Little Princess”.

  • That’s beautiful. Having just lost my Grandma October 9th, I can relate to this.

  • That’s beautiful. Having just lost my Grandma October 9th, I can relate to this.

  • Myrna, I love your remembrances of Mom. You two were always very close and I’m sure it has to do with practically growing up together.

  • Myrna, I love your remembrances of Mom. You two were always very close and I’m sure it has to do with practically growing up together.

  • What a beautiful tribute to a mother from a daughter.

    Kym, I think your mom needs to open up a blog.

    I have my daughter (a teenager) post on my blog from time to time. I see the blog as a family scrapbook that might be there forever. Don’t know.
    This is touching. Sounds like an amazing lady you are all missing.

  • What a beautiful tribute to a mother from a daughter.

    Kym, I think your mom needs to open up a blog.

    I have my daughter (a teenager) post on my blog from time to time. I see the blog as a family scrapbook that might be there forever. Don’t know.
    This is touching. Sounds like an amazing lady you are all missing.

  • Whew, Kitty, thank goodness, my grandma is still with us (I just reread my intro and it wasn’t very clear.) Its my husband’s grandma who just died and her passing reminded me how much I don’t know about my own grandma. I agree wholeheartedly with you about my mom (and her whole family actually). She is a good writer. I love reading her stories about the ‘olden times’ (Note that dig, oh my “elderly” mother?;>)

    I started this blog as a scrapbook, continue it as a tool to improve my writing and to express myself but, in the end, the strongest reason for its existence is as a scrapbook.

    Aunt Jackie, I think the oldest child gets so much undiluted attention that there is a unique bond between the two. That doesn’t mean that the mother loves the first more but just that the child knows the mom more intimately than the other children do. At least, that is the case between Mom and I and also between Clay and I.

    Jen, Losing an elder in the family is not only losing that wonderful person but also losing their connection to the past and their memories. So even though they may have been ready to go and suffering (as was my husband’s grandmother) they leave a big hole in our lives.

    Heather, I’m jealous. I never got to spend all that wonderful quality time with Grandma when I was younger. I wish I could have sat under Grandma’s table with you!

  • Whew, Kitty, thank goodness, my grandma is still with us (I just reread my intro and it wasn’t very clear.) Its my husband’s grandma who just died and her passing reminded me how much I don’t know about my own grandma. I agree wholeheartedly with you about my mom (and her whole family actually). She is a good writer. I love reading her stories about the ‘olden times’ (Note that dig, oh my “elderly” mother?;>)

    I started this blog as a scrapbook, continue it as a tool to improve my writing and to express myself but, in the end, the strongest reason for its existence is as a scrapbook.

    Aunt Jackie, I think the oldest child gets so much undiluted attention that there is a unique bond between the two. That doesn’t mean that the mother loves the first more but just that the child knows the mom more intimately than the other children do. At least, that is the case between Mom and I and also between Clay and I.

    Jen, Losing an elder in the family is not only losing that wonderful person but also losing their connection to the past and their memories. So even though they may have been ready to go and suffering (as was my husband’s grandmother) they leave a big hole in our lives.

    Heather, I’m jealous. I never got to spend all that wonderful quality time with Grandma when I was younger. I wish I could have sat under Grandma’s table with you!

  • “my grandma is still with us”

    Oh! LOL. Is she able to read this post? That would be so cool.

    Keep blogging. I like your family “scrapbook.”

  • My mom sat down with her day before yesterday and read her post, Heather’s comments and then went to Aunt Jackie’s blog. I guess they both were crying. It was very special.

  • My mom sat down with her day before yesterday and read her post, Heather’s comments and then went to Aunt Jackie’s blog. I guess they both were crying. It was very special.

  • Too often, we forget to share the love and feelings with those we care about. We save those stories for the memorial service. How sad!!

    Today, is always the best time to tell someone you love them and what influence they have had in your life.

  • Too often, we forget to share the love and feelings with those we care about. We save those stories for the memorial service. How sad!!

    Today, is always the best time to tell someone you love them and what influence they have had in your life.

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