Thursday, February 19, 2009


For Valentines Day, Chris took a ring of my grandmothers to a jeweler and had it resized to fit my finger. My grandmother had small fingers that seemed to fit just right on the keys of her piano. Nothing quite like the man hands that I own that I try to fit on the little keys of my laptop keyboard.

My grandmother loved to play the piano and I loved to listen to her play the piano. The music she made as her fingers gracefully slid across the keys, was beautiful. I have often tried to play it myself-maybe in a way, trying to bring back some of the good memories with her. Instead, my fingers remind me more of a child trying to quickly get away with typing on mom and dad's computer-fingers flailing across each key without understanding quite why.

My grandma died of cancer in July of 2002. It started as breast cancer and spread throughout her body. I remember when she was first diagnosed. I wasn't too scared because it seemed like not that long ago we went through the same thing with her mom, my great grandmother. My great grandma fought and won the fight against the cancer. I fully expected my grandma to recover and be with us many more years, but her cancer wasn't found early enough. By time we found out that she had it, it had spread all over her body and a cancerous tumor was pressing on the side of her brain causing half of her body to be immovable. It was a rough end for my grandma, but I prayed that she knew that she was loved by so many. She was a giver and overall a wonderful woman. She was buried next to my great grandma.

When Chris had brought my grandma's ring home from my dad's house, he also brought her jewelry box. One thing I've always know about my grandma is she liked jewelry and QVC, but I didn't expect to find what I did when I opened it.

As I opened the box, a faint smell appeared in the air. It was the smell of her perfume. A fragrant smell that was mixed with her aroma from her skinny cigarettes she smoked. Her rings were dirty and also smelled of her skin. It was like she was right there with me. My mind was taken back to the time that I talked to Grandma about how dirty her rings were. She admitted she never cleaned them. After using an old toothbrush and lathering them up with Colgate toothpaste, she smiled with delight and said that she had forgotten that they were so clear.

Among some of the things that I did expect to find, was a couple of angel pins and a BINGO bracelet. Both things she loved very much. There were rings and earrings in there of many colors. I also found her Eastern Star ring in the box. I spent hours researching her ring online and found it very interesting to read about their ideas and the reasons why certain things are on the ring. In the middle of the ring, it read F.A.T.A.L.--standing for Fairest Among Thousands, Altogether Lovely. I found that the Eastern Star organization primarily does community service which would be no surprise that my grandmother would fit right in. When I looked at her Eastern Star ring, I imagined her walking into the meeting room to be with her ladies. I imagined her helping others in her community. I imagined her dining out in one of her beautiful dresses with the women of her time.

I began cleaning each one ring, one by one. I questioned if I should be cleaning them. I didn't want her rings to loose the smell of her, but again, I was reminded of her smile and the happiness that came over her when rings found their sparkle again. As the brush clanged against the side of the rings, I heard her rings hitting each other as she moved her hands to talk. Her sweet voice rang in my ears. Her soft hands touched my arm.

My mind raced through so many memories. It was as if I was in a tunnel going back through time. Her laughter. Her touch. Her body so full of life and energy. I cried tears of happiness because it felt so real. I felt her sitting next to me...smiling.

So what did I see in the box that I hadn't expected?

Life. The life of my grandma.

(the little boy in the first part of the video with my grandma is my dad and then my grandma is the one in the white dress in the last part of the video. isn't she beautiful? i had more video to share from a bunch of old tapes that my dad had converted onto VHS and then DVD, but i was having technical issues)


GinSpaghetti said...

Abbie that was such a sweet and thoughtful gift! What a great guy! I felt like I was right there with you and your grandmother in this post! I know that having her special treasures must mean so much to you!

Jill Foley said...

It's not letting me watch the video..something about it being private and needing to accept an invitation.

I have a ring from each of my Grandma's and although I don't wear them, I treasure them. One of my grandma's is still alive - she's 93 - and she gave me the ring when I was 16. I had always admired it as a little girl and she wanted me to have it. It's an opal ring. The other grandma's ring that I have was her engagement's beautiful and old fashioned!

Some day I hope to pass them on to my girls.

Domestic Goddess said...

Kudos to Chris, what a great gift. Your Grandma sounds like an amazing woman and she is so beauitful in that video, that dress was amazing. My Grandmother (my Dad's Step-Mother) had a love for jewelry as well. She had some amazing pieces and I also got her jewelry box when she passed. It was one of the nicest things that my Dad has ever done for me making sure that I got it. They are priceless pieces that hold so much memory. My favorite is a tiny diamond & gold star pendant that my Grandfather bought her, I wear it daily, it is so small and simple and speaks volumes to me.

What a great post, and what a great way to relive her life in your memory!!!

Juli Jarvis said...

Great video! She is beautiful (like you!) And what a wonderful gift. I have my grandmothers' rings too.

Britt said...

WOW! Great job! Makes me want to bust out my video camera and takes as much footage as I can for my girls :)

By the way...I used to work for QVC :)

Da MiMi said...

Okay now. You've just made me cry - but it's a good cry. I remember spending hours listening to her stories. Yup, there sat Anita and Benita in your dad's backyard, chatting into the evening. Can't hardly believe it's been almost seven years.

Then you had me thinking back about my own grandmas. My mom's mom died two months before I was born. Can you just imagine it? My mom is an only child so to lose her mom while pregnant with her first child - how tragic.
I'd see my dad's mom most every Sunday. It was pretty much scriptural with the Vahcic brood that we allll went to Grandpa and Grandma's house each Sunday afternoon. My dad is the youngest of seven so you can just imagine all the aunts, uncles, and umpteen cousins running about. My grandma didn't talk all that much that I remember. Don't know if it was 'cause her English wasn't that good or what but anyway, I do remember those amazing hugs - the kind where a little girl could just get smooshed in her grandma's way ample bosom. Smooshed with love, I'd say.
Anyway, thank you for sharing and bringing up good memories.
Now, I've gotta go clean my rings!
Love ya, Benita

Steve said...

My mom gave me a few DVD movies that were old Super 8 film from the 50's and 60's when she was younger. Their silent too and very cool to pass down to our kids eventually. Thanks for sharing!

The Leeth family said...

Although my sister got most of my grandmother's rings, I was brought back to the memories of both my grandmothers. I lost all my grandparents within 3 years, and it has been a year since my last grandma died. She sounds so much like your grandmother! She was an Eastern Star, she LOVED QVC!! Her jewelry box was about 4 feet tall and I enjoyed the time my mom and my sisters and I spent going through it after she died. I miss talking to her so much!! Thanks for the memory booster!

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