A to Z 2014: Grandparents

(An A to Z Challenge entry)

G

As someone who hasn’t had the privilege of having many, many memories with most of my grandparents, I often find myself telling others to make the most of the times they have, when they have them. But this post will be dedicated to my grandparents and the memories we have shared. I will also share a painting series I created to represent the memories I share with my grandparents.

grandparents painting

This is series I created about my grandparents — painted from photographs. Each photo has the date of the photograph inscribed on an edge.

The level of detail is important, as it indicates the level of detail of my memories. The two grandpas are significant because I have so few, if any, memories from them. This is my attempt to create a reality I never had.

These paintings currently reside above my bed, to indicate they are watching over me from above.

Maternal Grandparents: Daugherty

grandparents wedding

This is a painting of my maternal grandparents, painted from their wedding picture. As you can see, details are lacking from the faces. My grandmother has a few more details in her flower bouquet, which hints to the fact that I remember more about her.

Grandpa Daugherty

grandpa daugherty

Painted off a photo my mom had of Grandpa.

I don’t actually have any memories of my Grandpa Daugherty, so he is simply a mystery man to me. He died when my mom was 17, so any stories I have of him are through her. I remember as a little girl, one night we were eating chicken wings and I ate everything off the bone and quickly showed my mom. She simply responded, “Your Grandpa Daugherty would have been so proud of you.”

Grandma Daugherty

My Grandma Daugherty, Philomene, died when I was 4 1/2  years old. Even though I was young, I remember some very fond memories of her. Two of them I acknowledged in my post yesterday about petting her cat Snoopy and drinking chocolate milk at her table. But I also have a hodge podge of other great memories with her, or associated to her.

  • She used to give me the best back rubs. I would lay down on her lap and she would scratch and rub my back. This love for touch is something I still love today (as Jak can attest to).
  • My mom used to take me to lunch with Aunt Kathy and Grandma at Merwins Cafe.
  • After she sold her house, she moved to an apartment complex on West Broadway. Mom used to bring me over to visit all the time before I started pre-school. We would play Uno and Crazy Eights  and bingo at her kitchen table. She always had two bowls placed on her table: one filled with nuts to crack and one filled with peanut M&Ms.
  • If I was good, and always before I left to go home, she would let me run into her bedroom and get a Rondo ice cream bar from her small fridge/freezer. Rondos preceded the mini Dove ice cream bars.
  • I lost my first tooth on biting into a Rondo ice cream bar after my grandma passed away.
  • I remember going to an Arts & Crafts sale at my pre-school with my mom and grandma. My grandma let me pick out any doll and I clearly remember choosing the life size African American Raggedy Anne doll. My mom still has it at her house today and all my nieces and nephews play with it.
  • We got our dog Ace, who was born on the day my grandma died. And in many ways, she lived with us for another 16 years.
  • Every night for many, many years, we got a one ring phone call around 9 p.m. These phone calls started after my grandma died. My family always associated those phone calls to my grandma, like she was watching over us, because when she died, she died around 9 p.m.

Paternal Grandparents: Borman

Grandparents Borman

This painting has far more detail than the other grandparents photo. The reasons being that my memories from this side of the family are far more prominent. This painting is painted off an all-family photo with my dad and his siblings. Again, my grandma in this photo has a few more details (in her shirt, and more shading in her face) which is characteristic of my memories with her.

Grandpa Borman

grandpa borman

A relaxing painting of my Grandpa Borman.

My Grandpa Borman, Myron, died when I was 3 years old, so my memories of him are few. Like I said in my ‘F’ post, it is really hard for adults to remember memories prior to age 3. And some of my first few memories do contain my grandpa Borman. I wrote about (and referenced yesterday) my memories I had with my Grandpa Borman last May in the Blog Every Day in May Challenge. I will share a snipped of that post:

<scene>
I was three and at grandma and grandpa’s house. Grandma was in the kitchen. Cousin Claire was playing in the sandbox in the yard. The sun was shining through the curtains, providing the only light beaming across the living room hard wood floors. My grandpa was sitting in the rocking chair and I was sitting on his lap. And he rocked me. His lap was warm as the sun hit us. His big hands on the arm rests. He was wearing a plaid shirt. I recall my dad walking into the room. I could hear grandma moving pans in the kitchen, talking to my mom.
</scene>

That’s it. That is all I have.

My parents have told me other memories. One that I wish I could remember, but instead I created my own memory through their stories. They said when my grandpa was dying in the hospital, I sat on the edge of his bed and sang “You Are My Sunshine” to him. I don’t remember that, but every day I wish I did.

Grandma Borman

I have the most memories of Grandma Borman, Bernadette. I was lucky enough to have her in my life until I was 16. Grandma Borman was a fighter, one of the toughest people I have ever known. Prior to the final stroke that took her life, she survived three strokes and two heart attacks. She survived raising nine children. She survived moving to the city for the first time after they lost their farm in Royalton, and she survived learning to drive for the first time after my Grandpa lost his sight.

Since she had so many ailments while I was growing up, she was often in assisted living or a nursing home. It was so incredible to watch her have a stroke or heart attack, go to a nursing home and then eventually make her way back to an assisted living arrangement. She never gave up. Even with her final stroke, she didn’t want to spend the last of her days in the hospital, so they moved her back to her assisted living apartment and my dad, aunts and uncles took around the clock shifts to be with her.

My favorite memories with her include seeing her after church at least one Sunday a month for as long as I can remember. Also, since she has 19 grandchildren, every Christmas for several years, all my cousins and I put on a play to act  the narrative of the birth of JC. Some of us had to be sheep or donkeys, but every year some one had a part to play!

grandparents painting 2


Grandma Betty

Until recently, I haven’t been able to create memories with grandparents. And then I started to date Jak and now I get the pleasure and benefit of creating memories with his grandma. He is so nice to share her with me! Every Monday night is grandma night where we watch/catch up on our shows and chit chat. We always play team Wheel of Fortune, his dad and grandma against Jak and I. Sometimes we play cards, sometimes she cooks for us. She has become one of my most favorite people and I am so glad she is in my life. I honestly cannot imagine life without her!

What are some of your favorite memories with your grandparents? Have you ever had the pleasure of being able to “adopt” a grandparent to be one of your own?

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Posted in A to Z Challenge, Family, Memories, Painting, Thankfulness
11 comments on “A to Z 2014: Grandparents
  1. Jak Cryton says:

    These are all wonderful memories, even the vague ones. As well as the art associated with them. It’s more than I have of some of my past. I’m very thankful I have many of my grandparents around to this day.
    Your Grandma Borman sounded extremely tough! The learning to drive for the first time after her husband began losing his sight is pretty hardcore! Not to say surviving strokes and heart attacks is chump change…
    I’m glad you have taken to my grandmother. I think you should read this post to her next Monday. I bet she would love that!
    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

    • kborman says:

      Thanks. Grandma Borman was hardcore. Funny thing is, after each stroke or heart attack, she loosened up and got more fun to be around. She didn’t lose any of her spry, just got funnier and mischievous.

      Perhaps I will have to read this to grams, I bet she would enjoy it!

  2. I didn’t get to spend as much time with my grandmothers as I would have liked before they died. Maybe I should try that adoption thing!

  3. The level detail in the paintings corresponding to the level of detail in memory is fascinating.

  4. First, your paintings are amazing! I love the vagueness in the ones representing the ones you have the least memories of (that was a terribly written sentence, but you get what I mean).

    My maternal grandparents died when I was very young, but I was lucky enough to have two maiden great aunts (my grandfather’s sisters) who were like grandparents to me.

    So nice that Jak shares his grandma with you!

    • kborman says:

      Aww thanks so much! I love that I was able to incorporate my level of memories to the level of details. Makes it more meaningful to me, even if others don’t.

      I feel the same way about my mom’s side. While I lost those grandparents young, my mom is the youngest of 7 children, so I have an aunt and uncle (married) who are 74 and 83 respectively, so for me that were much more like grandparents to me.

      I love Jak’s grandma! I am so glad I have adopted her as one of mine. 🙂

  5. Raquel says:

    What a moving and beautiful post. Your painting style is beautiful and elegant, and I love how you conveyed the specifics of how much you remembered the individuals through detail or lackthereof.

    I’m close to my maternal grandparents and am lucky that they’re still pushing on, even well into their 70s. I’ve written about my grandmother before on my blog. She’s an amazing lady 🙂 My husband has both sets of g-parents still around! We’re close to both. Just yesterday, I called one of them after I sliced my finger with a serrated knife. Thanks to her, the bleeding stopped quickly and it looks much much less scary 😀

    Here’s a post about my gma if you are interested. http://www.raquelsomatra.com/2013/03/setenta-y-tres.html

    • kborman says:

      Thank you so much. It is a very personal series for me.

      I am so glad to hear you are close to your grandparents on both sides. Cherish the time you have with them! As you already could tell with your incident, they hold a plethora of knowledge! I will definitely check out your post.

      Thanks!

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