Somehow, most of my memories are connected with scents. Mom's lilacs, bread baking, a certain kind of shampoo which to me always means summer camp. Then there are the books. The ancient and musty and simply wonderful smell of books. My grandmas house was filled with books. She had shelves filled with them, piles everywhere they could fit and always had one or two within arms reach of her favorite chair. She had started school to become a surgeon but had to stop when she ran out of money. She became an elementary school teacher and loved it. Looking through old photos, we found that her students would often send pictures and cards to her, even many years after they graduated. Her love of teaching and reading were evident as she patiently taught her grandkids to read.
Not long ago, Uncle John gave Steve and I a set of commentaries that had belonged to her and I found this tucked in with them. I'm sure she didn't make it, as frivolities like this just don't seem like her at all, but someone probably gave it to her or Aunt Sarah as a gift and I'm sure she treasured it.
She's been gone for years now and sometimes I still forget. Something will happen that I know she'd love and I'll make a mental note to tell her before I remember that I can't.
Her family was from Prussia and they spoke German and English. She was so excited when I told her I was taking German in high school. I think the only thing I could say coherently was "hello, my name is Sarah" but she was still so proud. I can still remember her singing: "O tannenbaum, o tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blätter!"
She was a woman to be admired. A person who exuded grace, even in the midst of prejudice, injustice and loss.
Now all that's left are the pictures on the walls,
Memories and stories that are told.
The more often told the bigger they get
Create a legacy lest we forget.
Mary Katharine Gudschinsky Kennedy 1909-1999
Grandma would want me to tell you: God bless you richly, richly, richly.
Photo fiddling done with Picnik.