Last couple weeks my mom has been helping her siblings clean out my grandma and grandpa’s apartment. It has been over 2 years since Grandma died and now Grandpa is being moved into Memory Care. They have a lot of stuff. In this two bedroom, two bath they fit a lot of memories. My mom, aunt and uncle worked hard to sort through everything and treasures were handed out. I got several and I’m so thankful for each of them. I had the blessing of being able to pick a few things out with my cousin Elise. As we politely asked each other for permission to take each thing it was nice to know she shared many of the memories and this made them real. We each found memories in particular items (snackster!) but also in different ones too. It was neat to run across a memory here or there that was unique to just me. That means we each had stolen moments with my grandparents – something that was our own.
When looking at the office I spotted several trinkets from our lives with grandma and grandpa:
– Teeny tiny pencils that were sharpened and used for crossword puzzles until just the eraser remained
– The clipboard grandma used in her chair to hold her crossword puzzles (yesterday’s too, if it wasn’t finished), scraps of news stories she wanted to share, quotes and funnies
– The magnets that Grandma had on her fridge with each of the grandchildren’s names on them. They were nothing fancy, just a magnet with a piece of scrap paper and our name written in red sharpie.
– The post it notes – I can’t believe they were saved! (and I’m so thankful) – that were placed on the wall in Grandma’s kitchen and marked each of our height with a date.
– The travel logs, notebooks and calendars – Grandma was a record keeper. Love it!
One of the smallest treasures in that room is a stamp. It’s ironic that stamps are what I sell the most of in my shop. But it’s significant to me for two reasons.
This simple question mark is the symbol of the question Grandma and Grandpa always asked. All of the cousins and my aunts and uncles remember being asked “Know what?” by a zillion times: at every hug, phone call, and visit – in every card and note. The answer is quite simple but it took a few years for it to evolve to the response they were looking for:
Until probably Gracie’s age (2) we would be “caught” and say: “What?”
Grandma and Grandpa’s response: “I love you!” followed by an tight and loving squeeze.
Then until Ellie’s Age (4) we knew what they were going to say but we would mess it up: “I love you.”
And they responded faithfully and genuinely: “No, I love you”.
Finally we grew and could remember the response: “You love me”.
As an adult I’ve caught myself, my brother and my cousins asking my grandparents “Guess what?” and I always smile. It was especially touching to hear my grandparents ask Ellie “Guess what?” – My kids will definitely know the love of their great grandparents.
GRANDMA HAD PROJECTS STUCK IN HER HEAD TOO
My Grandma most definitely was plagued with the same quirks I have. The greatest maybe the projects stuck in our head – small and large. This little stamp is was most definitely a project stuck in her head. Something that she wanted to have for inking in cards and notes to us…but also something she wanted to make with her hands instead of buying. I love thinking about grandma with a knife or letter opener or maybe even the toothpicks that sat on her dining room table as she picked off the pieces of cork. I love thinking of my grandpa standing over her shoulder probably offering his help or professional advise (Grandpa was an engineer from his toes to the tip of his head). Grandma wouldn’t take it because part of the project was doing it herself.
I love that she made the top too as a label of sorts of what type of stamp this was. And I wonder…if in her head she had plans for others.
So happy to have this tiny little cork sitting on my shelf.