In celebration of what would have been her 100th birthday, I would like to share with all of you a part of who my maternal grandmother was. The original of this is posted on my my web site along with additional pictures of this remarkable woman I called Gram for 47 years.
On May 18, 2003, after a very long and wonderful life, our Grammy,
Mildred Reid Buckingham Dix
passed away after a short illness at the age of 94. Those of us she has left behind, three daughters, three sons-in-law, eight grandchildren, sixteen great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren, are all the more blessed by having had her in our lives. She will be deeply missed and forever loved.
What I wrote for her 90th birthday party still holds true today, even more so now, because my memories now are all I have of this very special woman.
"To my darling Gram on her 90th birthday....
How can I chose from over four decades of memories that single one that outshines all the others.
When each and ever one is so very precious to me. I am lucky, to have had the time and pleasure of sharing so much of my life with you, so many things to look back on and remember.
I think one of the thing that I remember most are the Saturday nights, sitting on the sofa next to you, as you did embroidery, or knitted sweaters, or crocheted. And of all the times that your skilled hands would guide my small ones to make the right stitches either with outsized knitting needles or crochet hook or small embroidery needle. Teaching me a skill, giving me a gift that would give me a lifetime of pleasure. Of the pride with which I still say, my Gram taught me how to do this when something I have done is admired. If I close my eyes, I can still see the living room, the big picture windows dark, Grandmother sitting in her chair with her feet up, Pap sitting in his recliner, Hogan’s Heroes on the TV and of sitting next to you surrounded by fabric and yarn and floss.
Of the endless summer nights sitting on the screened in porch, the smell of the hot summer night air drifting through the screen, Grandmother’s roses scenting the wind. Of helping you make Orange ice in the kitchen and carrying the heavily laden ice trays downstairs to cool in the big freezer, then helping you scoop it out and savoring each mouthful as we sat on the porch to catch the cooling breeze
And all the traditions that are so firmly planted in my life each based on a memory of time spent with you. That pork and sauerkraut are always served the night before Thanksgiving. That you put the oyster dressing in one corningware pan and the onion in the other and that good manners do dictate that you should tell your brother of any mix up even though it is much more fun to let him find out for himself. That Ham Liquor does NOT belong in a half full applesauce container. That no amount of hot water from the spigot in the laundry room sink will make getting the ice out of the old ice trays any easier. Or that it is OK to spit watermelon seeds, but not in the dining room and certainly not at my cousins or brother. That an Easter basket left within reach of a baby in a playpen will end up in that playpen and all over the baby. That cold turkey sandwiches eaten at 8pm after Thanksgiving dinner always taste better eaten in your kitchen. That you never put your water glass near Ellen. That Jenny doesn’t particularly care for being folded up in the sofa bed in the sewing room, no matter how tempting it is to do so. and that NOBODY enjoys being told that they missed Rudolph by five minutes at 3am on Christmas morning.
So many moments frozen in time, Grammy, each with it’s own flavor and feeling that is unique.
Going shopping downtown with you from the time I was old enough to put on patent leather shoes and wear white gloves. Of eating lunch at the Huztler’s downtown luncheon room with you and Grandmother. The time I got to go to school with you and spend the day with your fourth grade class and then eating lunch with you in the teacher’s room. Of going “up home” to get fresh corn or apples. Standing in the kitchen while you made Ham salad with the old hand grinder (I still can’t make it taste like yours did, no matter how hard I try). Going to the movies together, of seeing The Sound Of Music, Being in college and knowing that all I had to do was pick up the phone and you would come for me and of how much fun we had fooling everybody at the dorm into thinking you were my mother. Of the look on your face when you first held my Amy in your arms.
But of all the things we have shared, that you taught me through these last 42 years, the one thing that I will treasure, the one memory that is perhaps the most special of all, is that you taught me how incredibly wonderful it is to be a grandmother. And I will take this lesson in love that you have so effortlessly given me and pass it on to my own grandchildren and when they get old enough to ask me, “Gram, how do you know how to be a grandmother?” I will pull them on the sofa with me and share with them, each and every moment, each and every memory that we have between us, you and I. Tell them the stories of the things that we did together, of the fun that we had as I was growing up. But most of all, I will take the sum of all that you gave to me and pass that on to them. That when it’s time to show Leeni how to make her very first cross stitch, I will remember your patience and take her small hands in mine and pass on your skill to her, using my hands as the tool. And when Josh is old enough to help me pick the apples for applesauce, I will show him how to pick just the right ones, as you taught me to do, then bring him into my kitchen so that he too can share the warm rich smell of cooking apples and savor that heavenly scent as I tell him stories of how you taught me how to do this when I was a little girl, of standing at the kitchen table, surrounded by that wonderful smell of apples and sugar and cinnamon. And when I make party mix for them, I will tell them of how my Gram used to do this for me, and Uncle Phil and all my cousins when we were small.
So, for you, Grammy on your 90th birthday, for all the love and pleasure and fun you gave me as a child and for all the love and understanding you have given me as an adult, this is what it means to me to be your granddaughter. It is something that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
I love you."