Friday, July 25, 2014

Memories

We are experiencing another epic dust storm (haboob) here in Arizona.  It looks something like this outside.
Its bad out there.  No one is outside right now.  Everyone's phone has gone off in the house with the alerts from the National Weather Service.  Each time a phone goes off the dog freaks out.  I remember playing outside during the middle of dust storms like this.  Riding my bike too!  In fact, one time a friend and I were riding our bikes to the street behind us and we saw this big silver shiny thing right in the middle of the orange sandstorm.  We both saw it and to this day we do not know what it was.  Probably a UFO or something.  I don't think I ever told my parents about that either. 

 The dog barking sets off this weird tension headache I've had since last night.  (I've tried taking Tylenol, Motrin, and Aleve.  Nothing works.  It just zings at on the left side of my head each time the dog barks or the kids get loud.) I don't know whats happening to me.  My right eye is all sore and red too.  So i am squinting.  Then with this tension headache at the base of my neck on the left side I must look like a fright.  Kind of like a pirate without the eye patch and the wooden leg.  Good thing the swelling in my chin and cheek went down.  LOL!  I don't know what the heck is happening to me, but I'm falling apart! Eek!  Here is a photo of me now.

I know, I know.  A lot has happened to me in less than a week.  See how my right eye is squinting.  And I have lost all of my teeth too.  LOL!!!  Wink, wink!  
Seriously, that isn't me.  But I sure feel old lately.  Check out these ladies.  Maybe I will be like them.


Spunky aren't they?  Yep.  They are living life and having fun.  Are they just good friends or are they sisters?  Who knows??

I have to say these photos inspire me.  They remind me of my grandmothers.  Here are pictures of both of my grandmothers.  The first one is my Grandma Meyers.  She is holding me in front of her home in Farmington Hills, Michigan.  The house was really cool.  Looking at it from the front it looked like your average single story home.  But if you saw it from the back it actually had two levels...there was a full basement and you could walk out from the basement to the backyard.  My grandfather was born in Germany and came to America when he was nine years old.  He later went to college and became an engineer.  He eventually went to work for Massey Ferguson.  He designed tractors for the company.  The history of the company goes back to 1847 when Daniel Massey opened his first workshop in Canada.  The company took on the name Massey Ferguson in 1953 when two companies merged and become one.  They are now know as one of the biggest names in farm equipment throughout the world.  My grandfather was a big part of this companies heritage and designed many of the tractors used by many American Farmers around the country.   In fact, I remember the scale sized replicas of each tractor.  He gave sets of the tractors to my little brother to play with.  Because of my grandfather's carrier, my grandmother did not need to work during the time that she raised my mother and my Uncle Jay.  Later on she took a job at one of the big department stores in the area.  She worked in their drapery department.  My grandmother had an eye for decorating and she was meticulous about handing drapes or curtains.  Everything had to be just so.  I remember watching my Grandmother instructing my Uncle and Grandfather on where to place things while hanging the drapes in her home.  My grandmother was a lot of fun. When we moved back to Arizona after my father retired from the military, my grandparents lived one street over from us.  My Grandparents home was the gathering place for every holiday.  We spent every Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, 4th of July, and many, many birthdays at their home after my grandfather retired and they moved to Arizona.  We spent a lot of time in their pool.  I miss those days.  Just thinking about it brings back many memories.  Like how my Grandmother bought all this fabric and kept it in a hope chest in her spare bedroom.  We spent many nights sitting on her spare bed looking at the new fabric my Grandmother just bought.  She never had a project in mind, but she always got a great deal on it.  To this day, I bet that material is still in that old cedar chest.   She also had several sets of sheets still in the store packaging in her linen closet.  Why she bought so many and never opened the packaging is still a mystery. She was known for sneaking clothes into her closet she just bought and hiding them until the day she would decide to wear them.  She thought my Grandfather never caught on, but I bet he did.  He was a quiet man, but not much got past him.  I remember spending time in her walk-in closet and the closet in her spare bedroom looking at all the pretty things she had.  To this day I think she still has her furs hanging in one of those closets.  She never wore them here in the Arizona heat, but they sure were pretty.  Whenever my Grandfather gave my Grandmother a hard time he would say, "Ah Babs!"  That was his little nickname for my Grandmother.  My Grandma and Grandpa Meyers paid cash for their home here in Arizona when they bought it, and got new cars for each of them at least every other year.  They lived a comfortable life.  A life my Grandfather worked very hard for.   My Grandpa Meyers passed away a few years before my Grandma Meyers did.  That was a sad day.  But I remember my Grandmother passing quite vividly.  She fell and broke her hip and was placed in an extended care facility after her hip surgery.  It wasn't long after they moved her that we all could see her time with us would be coming to an end.  In fact, I remember the very day she passed away because she held on for a time.  She held on to meet my youngest daughter that day.  My mom had spent most of the day with my Grandmother that day.  I remember Grandma hanging on and we knew after she met Lexi that it was time for her to go.  I remember being the one to whisper into my Grandmother's ear that we loved her and that she did not need to hold on any longer.  She could go if she needed to.  It was so hard to do that, but I knew my mother needed someone to do it.  I felt a overwhelming sense of peace come over me after though.  I knew at that moment that my Grandmother and Grandfather would eventually be reunited.  

This is my Grandma Meyers.  She was as nice as could be and very sweet.  She always made the best food from scratch.  I remember many meals at her dining room table.  She was an awesome cook and this talent was passed down to my mother, and I would like to think to me too.  As well as to my sisters and brother.  Her spaghetti sauce was NEVER made from a jar.  It was always homemade and fresh whenever we had it.  She cooked it for a very long time and it was always best the 2nd day.  This woman knew how to cook!!! 

The photo below is my Grandma Zimmerman.  She too was lucky enough to not work much during the time that she was raising my dad and my Uncle Ken.  My grandfather worked for Ford Motor Company and was a graduate of Duke University.  He worked hard for his family.  My grandmother and grandfather made sure their children were well educated.  In fact, my father learned to read at a very early age.  His first word was not Momma or Dadda.  It was Rhubarb, if you can believe that!  My Grandma Zimmerman loved education and loved to read.  I think that is where my dad got his love of reading from.  They traveled a lot as a family spending free time visiting many historical spots along the east coast.  Eventually my Grandfather had to have both legs amputated due to problems he was having, but that didn't stop my grandparents from doing anything.  I remember my grandfather driving us all over the place anytime we got together as a family.  My Grandma and Grandpa Zimmerman were from Pennsylvania but eventually ended up in Michigan too.  This is where my parents met,  Eventually my Grandma and Grandpa Zimmerman moved to Arizona too.  They lived in Tucson for several years, until they decided to move to Long Beach, California.  In Long Beach my Grandma Zimmerman decided to continue her education.  She took several classes at the Community College.  Eventually she also became a docent at a museum in Long Beach and spent much of her time taking groups on tour to see the sites.  My Grandma Zimmerman was a go-getter.  Nothing slowed her down much.  Not even the passing of my Grandpa.  She was always busy doing something.  She died at the age of 96 and oh what a life she had!  She was an inspiration to anyone she met.  She was sharp as a tack right up until a few months before she passed away.  In fact, she was the one who handled all of her affairs right up until a few months before her passing when my father and uncle took over.  She was amazing!  You see, meeting my Grandma and Grandpa Zimmerman you would never know they had money.  In fact, there were things even my Grandmother didn't know about their financial situation until after my Grandfather fell ill and ended up in the hospital.  After he passed away my Grandmother went to my Grandfather's desk.  Laying on the desk were all of the paperwork my Grandmother would need to get his affairs in order.  As well as all the financial paperwork she would need.  My Grandfather had been saving and investing for years and years before his passing and my Grandmother was well taken care of.  After years of her handling her financial affairs after my Grandfather's passing she was taken in by an investment advisor at Merrill Lynch who got her into some bad deals without her consent, which eventually would have been cause for my Grandmother to seek legal advice and ultimately file suit against the firm.  But she never pursued it,  I wish she would have and my father kept telling her she should have.  I think my Grandmother just didn't want to go through a lengthy legal battle and I don't blame her.  

This is my Grandmother playing the guitar.  She learned to play after my Grandfather passed away.  She was a go-getter!  

So, why am I telling you all of this?  I'm not sure.  My grandparents are on my mind a lot lately.  I think it's because we need to do their temple work.  It's been a long time. I also think it's because I need to remember something about their life to help me with my life.  I need to remember their example, their spunk.  I need to remember that life wasn't all fun and games for either set of grandparents....or even my parents.  I also think I need to remember my Grandpa and Grandma Zimmerman's example.  My Grandfather spent many many years in a wheelchair after he lost his legs, but he kept on going.  He did everything.  I remember spending time with him at the Sonora Desert Museum and at Old Tucson.  Then after my Grandparents moved to Long Beach they asked me to come for a week long visit.  They took me to Disneyland, the Queen Mary, The Spruce Goose, and a lot of other places I can't remember.  Nothing kept my Grandfather down...he drove the freeway without any legs.  He had hand pedals.  It was amazing to see and he was quite good at it too!  Sometimes life isn't a bed of roses.  Life can be tough.  But its all about how you handle the things you have been given.  Life is a gift that needs to be used to its fullest no matter the circumstances, and we need to remember that!  A GIFT!  Not a right.  It's time to LIVE the life you have been given and stop feeling sorry for yourself.  Now is the time!!! NOW!

I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.  I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.  I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.  I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someones garden.  I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.  I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.

-Marjorie Pay Hinckley



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