Friday, September 14, 2007

Josephine Hughes

I wrote about my grandmother and her passing awhile back, about the memorial afterward and her eulogy. Less than a week after her passing, we received word that T's grandmother passed away as well. It can be hard being on this side of the world and receive word of deaths in the family. The one place we want to be is there helping, seeing what needs to be done.

I remember when I first met Gramma Hughes. Timothy was a baby, and she came to visit, something she really didn't like to do. Not because she didn't want to see people, but mainly because she didn't want to be a guest. She was a hard worker and didn't like to be waited on. She was a tiny woman with a pleasant demeanor, and she loved the outdoors.

My daughter was able to go with Mom and Dad Hughes to visit up north when she was in 3rd grade, and she has such wonderful memories of the time she spent at her home. She especially remembers the garden, because Gramma H was always in it. Em helped her in the garden and it ended up being a lifetime memory for her. Something that simple.

I love that generation. They were a generation of hard workers with a sense of duty. The Great Generation. A generation that knows suffering, doing without, hard times and hard work. And they lived a long, healthy and happy life because of it. Gramma H was a machine operator for 40 years. She saved her money and didn't live a lavish life, though I'm sure she could have. That Polish frugality served her well. At the age of 92 she sewed over 70 pillow cases for troops overseas. She also helped care for her ailing 93 year old cousin. And in my closet, tucked safely away for now, are some doilies tatted by hand just a few months ago that she probably could have made with her eyes closed. Then there's the handmade Raggedy Anne doll that she gave my daughter when she was born.

It's not the stuff that we treasure. It's that part of Gramma H that's in it. Her attention to detail and her commitment to quality and a job well done. It's there in everything she made.

Today is her memorial. We would love to be there and hear the family talk of their memories of her. I wish I could have known her better. Distance does that to family these days. But we have a few tokens of her abilities around our house. We'll be thinking of her today.

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