Remembering Grammie

Instead of getting brighter, as the morning progressed, the sky darkened and thunder growled ominously in the distance. Looking out the kitchen window, the overwhelming greenness worried me. When I was 23 years old, the air had appeared greenish before a tornado picked up one end of my mobile home. Realizing that an earlier rain shower had enhanced the vivid color of the new maple tree leaves and a freshly mowed lawn, I relaxed. Weepy, blue clouds on the horizon suggested more rain was on the way.

My daughter Tammie joined me at the window, commenting, “This would be a good morning to have a sleep-in. I love lying in bed, listening to distant thunder and the patter of rain on the roof.”

Putting my arm around her shoulders, I reminisced, “Grammie Altmann loved nighttime thunder storms and rain. She said lying in bed listening to them made her feel cozy and happy. Do you remember that her birthday was today, the 15th of June?”

Nodding, Tammie acknowledged, “Yes, I know. If she were alive, this would be her 117th birthday. Grandpa Jacob’s birthday in July would have been his 118th.”

Pouring a cup of tea, I commented, “Mom and Daddy were the first in my family to be born in America. That makes me a second generation American. That’s pretty amazing when you realize my grandparents left Germany in the 1890’s”

Pouring a cup for tea for herself, Tammie figured aloud, “Twenty years is considered a generation. 1890 to 2022 comprises almost seven generations.”

Chuckling, I corrected, “Seven generations during those 130 plus years is possible, because a generation is considered to be the period of time it takes a newborn to grow up and have a child of their own. My parents were 45 years-old when they had me and they were both the younger children in their own families. That’s a longer than usual turn-around-time!”

With a smile, Tammie said, “Remember all the times we went to the farm to visit Grammie? Such happy, nice memories! She always seemed to be crocheting a new afghan.”

Nodding, I suggested, “Herrschner’s big warehouse sale is always held the week of her birthday. She loved going there to buy yarn. What do you say we go there this week to celebrate her birthday?”

Tammie agreed, “I like that idea. Grammie was amazing. Remember how we talked about all the changes she’d seen in her lifetime at her funeral? When she was born her family didn’t have electricity, indoor plumbing or automobiles. They only had a horse and buggy to get around. By the time she died, electricity, indoor plumbing, cars, airplanes and computers were common-place. I found that so amazing!”

Handing my daughter freshly-buttered toast, I confessed, “I’ve always thought that being born in 1950 was an interesting time in history to be born, too. Mom saw a huge change in life style between the year of her birth and the year of my birth. But as I grew up, the modernization of the world went into hyper-overdrive. I and others my age have witnessed some of the biggest changes right as they were happening; rockets flying to the moon, advances in medicine leading to successful organ transplants and the wide-spread use of computers. It’s hard to believe that no one could have ever imagined a world where these things would happen when I graduated from high school. Now almost everyone carries a complex, multi-function computer in their pocket. As far as I know, Bertha, the only computer in 1969 was as big as a room and was capable of performing only one function.”

Tammie commented, “I’m glad Grammie didn’t fight the changes. She actually took an airplane all by herself to visit one of my aunts, once.”

Rain pelt against the window pane and lightning flashed. A loud clap of thunder followed. I agreed, “Grammie was amazing about accepting changes. But she totally refused to learn how to drive a car. She had limits and stuck to them. As for her trip, I’m guessing she prayed about thirty rosaries before she ever got on that airplane!”

Agnes (Draxler) Altmann – June 15, 1906 to March 11, 2005


4 thoughts on “Remembering Grammie

  1. So nice to remember Grandma’s birthday. (Never knew her as Grammie, that must have come later)
    I still make her Hungry Man’s Delight recipe. Would love to have her tongue and dumplings one more time!

    • David, there are so many nice things to remember about my mom! As she aged, the girls and I went out to the farm a lot to help her. The name “Grammie” just happened spontaneously. There was no discussion about it. One day my daughters just started to call her that.

  2. Nice Mom/Gramma memories on her birthday & the day we are predicted to get severe storms yet this afternoon. (Hope the forecasters are wrong.) We all enjoy reminiscing. Thanks for sharing & ‘sparking’ our memories, too!

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