On Wednesday we went to Ottumwa, stayed with my friend Stacy (one of the roommates I had in college) we also got to attend Wednesday evening services at Christ's church in Ottumwa and see some other friends.
On Thursday morning we were able to go out for Breakfast with Angie (another friend from College) and her husband and sister.
After that we went to visit Edd the Florist were I worked while living in Ottumwa. I was quite happy to find Jane (the head florist who taught me how to design) still working there. It was fun to visit with her and Kathryn. They were having a great sale on a dozen roses (Just $7.56 which is cheaper than I can get them wholesale!) so we bought a dozen pink ones for Grandma.
We then headed up to Grandma's. For me MN is definitely home but the south eastern area of Iowa comes next with what feels like home. When I was a kid we had fun visiting Grandma there and then I went to camp in that area as a teenager and then I went to a small Bible college there, Ken and I got married (in MN but while we were living in IA) while we were there, Mara was born there and I have lots of fond memories of my time there! When driving out from Ottumwa to Grandma's home (which is by Sigourney) I decided to take some back roads which is another of my fond memories of Iowa. When my brother Peter and I were in college at the same time we did a lot of back road exploring (usually with Josh, Stacy and others) and then Ken and I did a lot of door to door calling out in the rural areas and went down many back roads.
It was very good to see Grandma. I hadn't seen her in about 2 years. Grandma is 85 and is struggling quite a lot health wise. Because of that she has a hard time keeping up with things. Her house is not very clean and we opened windows quickly to air it out but we enjoyed helping to get things in order while we were there. Grandma is to the point that she doesn't feel comfortable going places and hadn't even been outside since December (other than opening her door to reach out and get the mail) so we thought it would be nice to try to get her outside to enjoy the fresh air. We decided to have picnics on the front lawn and she thought that sounded like fun. We did that 3 times while we were there. In the picture above we are eating and also my uncle John and aunt Donna are there visiting too. They live about 1/2 mile from Grandma and help her out a lot!
One of the things we enjoyed while we were there was getting to watch a "circus".
On Saturday we left at 6:30 am to come home. Here are Mara and Jonathan at the end of the trip they didn't sleep at all until around the last 45 minutes of our trip and at that point they were out! (We had stopped a while in the cities so we didn't get home until 10:30 pm.) I had trouble waking them up to get them inside to there beds.
I thought I would include a short clip of Grandma reading to the boys. I just love hearing her read aloud. It reminds me of when I was little. I thought I would include some of my other fun memories of Grandma. It was interesting being down there with my 16 year old sister because as Grandma and I would talk about things that she used to do with our family Keren didn't remember hardly any of it. It made me feel a little sad that she didn't get to experience those times with Grandma but I guess that is the way life goes, times and people change. Anyway for some of my favorite memories:
- Having Grandma drive up to visit us at least every Spring and Fall. We would wait all day for her little car to pull in the drive. In the fall she would have a big box of ripe tomatoes to eat!
- Sitting on the chair next to her and letting her rub her fingers very gently on our hand and arm, enjoying the slight tickle sensation that it produced.
- Learning how to crochet from her, but for my having to sit opposite her (on lawn chairs outside as I recall) because she was right handed and I was left handed.
- Hearing about her shooting a skunk with her pistol. Also knowing that she cut her own wood with her own chainsaw (my Grandpa died before I was born and so Grandma has been a widow for many years, but she was very independent and not the sort of lady that anybody would try to mess with).
- Receiving birthday boxes on each birthday, complete with a gift, a box cake mix (the only time we had them in our house, so we kids thought it was a treat) and a box of whoppers.
- Grandma loved to learn how to do new things, she enjoyed sewing and was always trying out some new project whether it was making sweat suits (we all got some that she made for us), swimsuits, appliqued sweatshirts, etc. As I got older she also enjoyed getting stuff for us to use to make new projects and she helped us do them.
- Getting to go stay with Grandma for a week all by myself when I was around 12.
- Grandma enjoyed working with ceramics and when she came to visit us she would often bring some along for us to paint. We had a lot of fun working on those together.
- When I was first in college she would fix a meal for us every Sunday after church. Peter and I would go there to eat with some of our other college friends.
- Grandma enjoyed Gardening, canning and raising fruit trees and such. I have learned a lot from her in those areas too.
- Hearing Grandma's strong alto in church and hearing her request "I'm feeling fine" every Sunday for all of us to sing. I also enjoyed listening to her play the piano as she played pretty heavily with chording in the bass notes.
Grandma can't do much of that anymore but it was fun to visit with her and hear about how she is trying to teach her cleaning lady more about the Bible (Bible study has always been something that Grandma has loved) even though it means that not as much cleaning gets done.
Do you have favorite memories about your Grandparents? It would be fun to hear them.