Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but they hold our hearts forever.
Soft-spoken and kind-hearted, my hero never had a harsh word for anyone. Whenever I visited, she went out of her way to make me feel loved and welcome in her little home. As soon as I walked through her door, she greeted me with a smile and warm hugs. Her entire face would light up whenever a grandchild came for a visit. My hero and my grandmother, Elva Marie Bryant Allen made a difference in my world. Her kindness touched my life in so many ways, and when she died, my life changed, for I lost my dearest advocate and my closest buddy.
Throughout my younger years, I cannot remember a time grandma wasn’t a major factor in my life. Whenever I had a free moment, I would often spend time with her. In the summer, we would enjoy our time together. Early mornings, we would drink coffee and visit. Often we would play cards or games. She always wanted to play Chinese Checkers.
In the afternoons, I would play outside or read while grandma caught up on her soaps. Days of Our Lives was her favorite. In the evenings after supper, we would watch T.V. She loved Gun Smoke and Bonanza. She was also a big fan of variety shows, especially any show that included music. We would watch The Lawrence Welk Show, for she loved the singing and the dancing. Other times, we watch Tony Orlando and Dawn. One of her favorite songs was “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree.” My gram was pretty hip for her day.
Even though she had arthritis and was in pain, she always looked at the bright side and rarely complained even when her body often hurt, and even when she finally needed a wheelchair to get around. She loved going to the South Shore Shopping Mall, and we would load her chair up in a taxi and cruise the shops. Afterward, we would head to the Woolworth’s and have lunch or a malt at the counter.
One of my favorite tales about her shopping sprees was the time my little brother took her shopping at the local mall. When he was about fourteen, he told her they didn’t need a taxi because he could push her in her chair. It was a warm day, and the two took off on their adventure. Grandma laughed so hard when she told me that when they hit the big intersection on Park Street. David raced her across the street before the light turned red. He didn’t give her any warning and took off running while pushing her swiftly across the street. Those two were quite the pair when they were together!
Often we would spend New Year’s Eve together. It became one of my favorite holidays because I loved having my gramma all to myself. We would have treats for the New Year, and she always said we had to have hot dogs and sauerkraut to begin the new year so that became our custom. Although my grandmother didn’t drink, my aunts and uncles kept an alcohol stash in her home. One year, when I was about thirteen, she decided we needed to add a little whiskey to our 7 Up. Although our 7 and 7 was barely alcoholic, she giggled all night about how naughty we were as we watched Guy Lombardo that New Year’s Eve. Those evenings were my favorite place to be, and I remember how lonesome I was the year she spent the holidays in Colorado. I missed my gramma, and New Year’s Eve has never been the same without her!
Over the years, I have had few regrets; however, one regret has remained. I have wished that I would have delayed my move to Colorado. When I left on vacation, I was supposed to return and live with her while I attended the local community college. Instead, I fell in love with this state and stayed. I would give anything if I could go back in time and spend those last few years of her life with her. I missed out on some precious years with my favorite person. But I also know that she would not want me to feel blue about my decision.
Even though I have become a grandma, the little girl within has missed my gramma so very much. There are days I would give everything away if I could spend just one more day with her.
She was always my favorite person, and my heart’s desire has always been to make her proud. Someday we will see each other again, and until then, I hope she knows that I miss her every day. Love you gramma always….