The past three days have been filled with reminiscing and sharing moments with my family, as we celebrated the life of my grandma. I had the privilege to share some of my memories at her funeral on Wednesday…
“On behalf of Mable’s family, as the eldest of the five Realdsen granddaughters, I would like to thank you all for being here today to celebrate the life of our Grandma. She has shared many traits with all of us, one being her sentimental emotions, so forgive me if I get a little choked up today. In fact, I am pretty sure that is why my emotional dad and Aunt Carol have passed this duty on to me.
Anyone that knew my grandma, knew how deeply she loved her family. This past weekend, some of us had the opportunity to peek into her Cedar Chest filled with random pieces of her past…her wedding dress and her daughter’s wedding dress, poetry and “neatly handwritten” Mother’s Day cards from her sons, my dad’s little ring bearer suit from Ruth and Gordon’s wedding, an army hat reminiscent of her son’s tour of duty in the Vietnam War, a school lunch ticket, a football mouth guard, one of the boy’s baby rattles, her daughter’s sparkly baton twirler shorts, and numerous photos and letters among other treasures .
Grandma loved her family. She treasured her Storbakken siblings and their husbands, wives and children…she deeply loved her husband — even all those years that she was left alone, her heart always belonged to Grandpa Rich…she was incredibly proud of the three children they had raised, as well as the spouses they had chosen…she showered love on all five of us granddaughters…and our children…her 12 great-grandkids.
Grandma also loved her photographs. We would often sit for hours, looking at pictures together. There were photos in albums, on the mantel, on the big kitchen bulletin board, magnetic photos on the fridge and a mini album in her purse, that often came out at church when she was trying to keep us quiet. There were photo shoots whenever she was with family…on the deck, by the geraniums, swinging from her clothesline swing.
I have many photographs of her that I will treasure. But I also have images in my mind that will be with me forever. I hope that you can picture some of these images too…
I can still see her at her desk up at the Donnelly Elevator, busy with her bookkeeping, working in her office next door to Grandpa, talking to the farmers bringing in grain, as she let us buy a soda in a bottle or walk with her to the post office to get the mail.
Picturing her in her kitchen is another easy image to recall, as she was making finger rolls, homemade donuts, sally anns or maybe her big chocolate chip cookies in preparation for the threshing bee. Or just sitting at that kitchen table, playing the Favorite Game with us girls, asking questions and listening to stories about our lives.
Her penmanship is memorable as well, with her beautiful cursive on letters, birthday greetings and recipe cards.
Special events always meant looking sharp in a classy looking outfit. She had a way of finding those perfect pieces to accessorize…and she LOVED when she could find a bargain at Secondhand Rose or a garage sale across town.
I can imagine her sitting on the davenport (does anyone say davenport anymore?) in her front room, embroidering dish towels, with the local radio station playing in the background, as she watched for the neighbor boys to come home from school.
I see her talking on the phone, as she received calls from her family members spread across the country. In fact I can still hear her voice…whenever I would call, she would say “Oh Sara.” And I just knew I was loved.
My guess is that my sister and my cousins share some of these same pictures and have many more that are personal just to their experiences with Grandma…I know that my dad and Aunt Carol have many more images and memories that they will treasure…and I am certain that Lillian and Ruth can even recall visions of my grandma as a child and young teen.
Grandma lived a very full life to the wise old age of 92. She experienced great heartache to lose both her husband and her son to heart attacks. She felt the grief of losing siblings and others that she loved. I too feel sadness that she is gone, but I also know great love because of her.
Let’s hold on to the legacy that she is leaving, one of love for others, of genuine hospitality, and finding joy in the simple treasures along the way.”