It was 1990 and my 2 year old daughter’s first plane trip! We were going to my cousin’s wedding in Iowa. There were going to be many family members from my mom’s side that she had never met. After changing planes 3 times we finally made it! Out of all the relatives, I was very much looking forward to seeing my grandmother! My grandmother had never met her great-granddaughter!
I have very fond memories of my grandma, she and grandpa were the ones that housed us in their nostalgic basement when we visited for reunions. I remember the wonderful, mouth-watering smells of her making apple butter! I loved talking to her, and the stories she’d tell. I also loved to hear her laugh, it was quite contagious! I was named after her, Anne Bennett, “Anne” means grace, and my grandmother’s maiden name was, Grace Bennett.
She and grandpa came to Florida to visit in the winters and they would stay in either trailer parks, or a downtown hotel for extended stays. They usually would visit for about a month or two. It was so much fun having them nearby! I can still remember in the evenings my mom and her laughing while making dinner. And boy could she cook!
It had been way too long since I had seen her. I wrote her often, but she was now living in an assisted living facility, and I had lost touch with her. Needless to say, I wanted her to meet her great-granddaughter.
My aunt took us up to see her and she warned that my grandma was quite forgetful. As soon as we stepped into her room, I was instantly reminded of her home in Burlington! (The facility let them furnish the rooms with their own furniture) It even smelled the same to me! I rushed over and hugged her so tight! She didn’t remember me at first. My aunt kept saying, “it’s Anne B Nancy’s daughter”, now my mom (her daughter) had been deceased for about 13 years, so I could understand her not knowing who Nancy was, much less who Nancy’s daughter was!
Finally it clicked! Her whole countenance changed, and I could see I had my same grandma back again! She was so sweet and loving and absolutely loved seeing my daughter! Then out of nowhere, she wanted to write me a check! What?! “I don’t need a check grandma I just came up to see you”! “No, no, I want to write you a check for Christmas for everyone”. My aunt said to take it, so I reluctantly did. My aunt explained they had to watch her, because they didn’t know who all she had offered to write a check to!
She took us on a tour of the facility. She made sure to show us where she played Bingo, and the Thrift Store where they could exchange their winnings for “stuff”. Regardless of memory loss, some things never leave you! When we got back to the room she showed me her closet that was filled from floor to ceiling with her Thrift Store finds!
You see, one of my grandma’s wonderful traits was to seek out really good deals! I can vividly recall during their 50th wedding celebration, my mom, grandma, and others all went to an estate sale, and came back with all kinds of furniture, including an old buffet. I’m not sure of any other details about the deal on this buffet, but I remember watching them from the pool at the Holiday Inn (I was swimming with my cousins there were 15 of us!). That buffet is in my house now it is the only material object I chose to keep of my mom and grandma. But I do have their sense of humor and the ability to seek out bargains!
“Let me write you a check”, she said again and again, forgetting that she had already written me one. Even though this was the last time I’d see her, there were no sad last goodbyes, no drawn out sad words, only these, “Let me write you a check”!