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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hazel

My Grandma Hazel passed away a few years ago. Occasionally (like when I open a bottle of Corn Husker's Lotion at Wal-Mart and breathe deeply), the memory of my grandmother hits me so strongly that I am frozen to the spot, as if by standing still I can bring little pieces of her back, or remember just one more thing about her.

She was a marvelous woman. A few memories I will treasure:

The Haze (as Rhett and I call her) cheated mercilessly at cards. Particularly Hearts, Spades, or Scum. She never apologized if you caught her, either. She just laughed and said, "Deal the cards again!"

Haze loved her a good romance novel. Her favorite author was Rosamunde Pilcher, and she especially loved The Shell Seekers. I read it after she passed away expecting it to bind our souls closer, but I still can't figure out why she loved it. Towards the end of her life, her long term memory sort of shorted out, so you could give her the same book to read over and over. She enjoyed it each time as well as she did the first.

Haze made killer pies. She used to sell them in a cafe in her younger years, and all of her three boys make delicious pies, too. Thanksgiving doesn't seem like Thanksgiving to me without my dad's (actually Haze's) butterscotch pie.

Haze decided to learn to play the harmonica when she was about eighty years old. She ordered one from a catalog, learned to play "Amazing Grace" and singlehandedly drove my grandpa crazy. I especially loved how her nostrils would flare as she determinedly picked out the tune. She always ended with a big finish--a big run up the entire harmonica (I think we can all see where I got that from, right?).

Hazel loved to golf. Well into her eighties, she was still playing nine holes here and nine holes there. Although she had to get a cart, because as she put it, her legs just weren't what they used to be before her knee replacement.

One year Hazel bought a large plastic goose and proceeded to crochet dozens of holiday and seasonally themed outfits for that goose. Fourth of July? Here, let me pull out this goose's red, white and blue cape! Christmas? Here's the goose's Mary costume! It sat on her porch, and trust me, it was awesome.

I remember when Cabbage Patch Dolls were all the rage, Hazel had me, my two sisters, and my cousin over and we made outfits for all our dolls. I made a beautiful stretchy striped dress for my girl doll (Anna, who claimed Swedish heritage) and a lovely set of Raggedy Andy pajamas for Todd, my boy doll. Is it just me that I now think this "fun activity" would be like a personal hell? Just imagine trying to sew with four girls under ten years old. Seriously, I don't get it.

At my sister's wedding, I sat by my grandma for a minute. "Grandma," I said, "I love your new outfit." "Well," she replied huffily, "your grandpa didn't even notice that I had a new outfit. And if I ask him how I look he always says, 'If there's something wrong, I'll tell you, if I don't say anything, you look fine.'" She looked at me with a half-smile, full of mischief. "Tomorrow I'm going to come out fully nude and see what he has to say."

I could go on forever here, really. I could tell you about the time that she shouted (she was pretty deaf at the time) to my sister in front of many, many strangers that her bra just wasn't holding her "Super-dooper-troopers" up anymore. Or I could tell you about what an awesome mom she was to my dad and his two brothers. Or I could tell you about how frustrating she found her two sister-in-laws.

I miss her.



Side note: If you want to visit more Hazel progeny, you should visit my cousin Celia and my cousin Adrienne. They carry on her funny, sassy loveliness as well as anyone could.

21 comments:

Jenny said...

what fun memories. today my kids were talking a lot about my grandparents for some reason. i miss them, too. i think they would love my kids. well, most of the time. :)

Melissa Bastow said...

What a fun grandma - that is so awesome! I will remember my grandparents as well, but for less vivid memories. I come from a reserved gene pool - I guess that kind of explains how you could love microphones when I think they're terrifying...unless I have one in the deepest most secluded cave on the planet where no other humans could ever possibly hear or exist. But I think when I'm old, slightly senile and horribly deaf I will let all inhibitions loose and yell things across the room about my bra!! I have also decided to always burp at the dinner table so that someday when I'm eating with my grandkids and their friends and let a big belch out, my grandkis will turn to those friends and say, "That's my grandma!!" THAT will be my proudest moment in old age.

Charlie said...

What an interesting timing for this post. My grandma passed away this past Sunday, and I'm trying to gather up my memories to write something about her...

Jenn said...

Of course I don't mind if you comment on my blog!!! I love friends;-) Even new ones I make while blogging. Your kids are beautiful by the way!

Jen said...

That is an elegant tribute by any measure. Sounds like you treasure your Grandmother as much as I treasure mine.

Queen Elizabeth said...

Ok woman - I totally know your cousins Celia and Adrienne. "Totally" meaning a long time ago. I grew up (debatable I s'pose) in Farmington, Utah and my parents are good friends with Kay and Mike Smith. I think they knew them in Germany if I recall... I am a year older than Nate (what's he up to?) and so I'm loving spying on their family through their blogs.... small world!

Texas Mommy said...

I love grandmas! They are so fun. I sure miss seeing mine all the time.

liz logan said...

Heidi,

What a great blog, and yes our Grandma Hazel was one of the best. I am glad that you got to enjoy some of the many fun times with her as I did. THanks for making my day a little happier with my memories of our wonderful family. I love staying in touch through your blog.

Love,
Liz

Yvonne said...

She sounds like a wonderful lady. What great memories.

Being a grandma is the best ; )

Carol said...

Oh that totally made me miss Nanny. Wish you had shared more about the super-dooper-troopers too funny!! I still wish I was adopted into your family.

Lippy said...

It's remarkable the effect some people can have on our lives, often through just the simple, everyday things. While we mourn the loss of the physical presence of those we love, it's a tribute to their legacy to live on so fondly in the memories of those left behind. Love really does transcend all boundaries, and I could clearly see that love here today.
I bet you miss her a lot.

Amy said...

she sounds like she was a great grandma:) how fun!

Anonymous said...

How sweet, grandmas are the best. how wonderful that you still talk about her so highly. I know how you feel.
Mandy

Valerie said...

Wonderful memories. It's great that you can write them all down so you will never forget. She sounds like a hoot.

Bob said...

It's funny how a scent, a song or some simple thing can trigger so many fond memories. It's a great thing and helps us remember so many emotions, events, and people in our past.

I have a sister in law who is a card cheat as well. She's pretty obvious and everyone knows she's doing it. The sad part is that even though she cheats she still loses!!

Celia and Scott said...

Oh Heidi. Bravo. I miss Hazey. One of my favorite memories was at my baby shower with about 30-40 people there, I'm opening presents, someone asks me what I'm going to name the baby, and I say, "Henry," and turn to G-ma sitting next to me and ask, "What do you think about the name 'Henry' Grandma?" knowing very well what her answer would be and in front of everyone she replies, "Well, I don't think you want to hear my answer and that's all I'm going to say."

I was just in Utah two weeks ago and Blair and Nick started practicing their air tee-offs and as always happens, one of them started impersonating G-ma's awesome golf swing. We were all hysterical. She was quite the tiger on the links (listen to me spewing golf talk -- like I even know what I'm talking about).

And as you say, she wasn't quite "the same" near the end. The last time she went to Hawaii with my family, they were out to eat, going around the table getting drink orders, it gets to Hazey and she casually says, "I'll take a glass of wine." My brothers just about lost it.

Oh Hazey. We miss you. And thank you, Heidi, for sharing her with your blogging fans and for brightening up my day.

Leisha said...

I love it. She sounds like a combination of several matriarchs in my fam. I totally want to be like her!

Janene said...

When I first married into the family, and she cheated on cards, I thought it was a joke. I soon realized--no joke, just Grandma Hazel at her best. She was a crack-up! We miss her too!

monkie mama said...

She sounds like a real hoot! It would also seem that Celia and Adrienne are not the only granddaughters who carry on her funny, sassy loveliness. Thank goodness she learned the "big run" from you before she passed. I'm sure she died feeling very complete.

Matt, Karin and Sienna said...

I didn't read this post yet but my great grandma's name is Hazel and we have debated using it for our next girl. Random info -

Karin

Bisel Family said...

you are the best. when you describe your memories my own sweet memories come flooding back. love it. I know where you got your spunk!