Lava lamps, rivers, make up, cards, cane poles, etiquette, love, beauty, health, discipline, hard work, drive, determination, style and elegant sophistication are just a few words I think of when pondering grandma Jo.
Young and experimenting in love, she fell for a beau. In her youth she found she was expecting her first child. A child in so many ways herself, she said good bye to those carefree childhood summer days. She chose to embrace adult hood, and embrace all the life had to offer. Married her Love, who was charming and captured her heart.
Married for 59 years the two became one. She loved and served the man she took to be her husband everyday of her life. Few of us can imagine what it is to live with someone by your side for 59 years.
As a child I watched her serve her man, and put him first. She loved him in every act that she did. I rarely to never heard her fuss to much about it. Occasionally there was the “Oh Paul, what did you do that for.” She longed for him to quit smoking, but that argument was lost. She still lovingly cleaned out his ash tray gave him a kiss on his bald head followed by a pat, and usually Grandpa saying “Jo, can you get me a beer.”
I would spend the night as a child and come heavy footed down the stairs to meet grandma by the percolator in the kitchen, there waiting for that first cup of coffee to be finished. We would eat at a pentagon table set in her kitchen. She would remind me to sit up straight, no elbows on the table and to always bring my spoon to my mouth. Grandma still has the best posture I have ever seen. Sitting straight, holding her chin high. I can only hope and wish to be half a beautiful and elegant as I age.
After a little breakfast and a cup of coffee she would state, “I am going up to get ready and put my face on.” There was always about 45 minutes of time for me to get into trouble and wait. Then she would emerge back from the upstairs smelling glorious, looking snazzy and having her face.
Properly dressed and ready we would head out for many adventures.
We may go to the consignment shop, church bizarre, the local grocery (that served pop corn and coffee), see a play, then head back home. At home she would prepare dinner and send my out with a few square pieces of cheese and a cane pole to catch some fish off the river. I never caught anything big, but I sure had fun, and in my eyes those tiny fish were monsters.
Grandma Jo inspired me to become the woman I am today. I was inspired to serve my husband, to see the value in being a home maker, to be disciplined and determined. She helped me to learn where there is a will there is a way. She taught me how to stretch a dollar, while not giving up on sophistication and class.
In 2012 Grandpa died, leaving her alone, for the first time in 59 years. He had been fading out for some time, but in the very end he left this realm faster than anyone really imagined. She was there every moment in the end. The pain is deep in real. Half of herself is missing. She is having to learn life again, and how to live without someone else’s needs and desires beside her own.
Gaining footing being a solo dancer is not an easy task when you have been in a partner dance for so long. It is tough to remember how to balance on your own, and find a new center of gravity. There are many fumbles during the process, and pain un speak able.
But grandma Jo has shown me that she has the strength and drive to do this. She looks forward to the day she will have her dance partner back, but until then she will keep on dancing.
Grandma Jo has a lot of spunk left in her. After all it was not that long ago she challenged me to get on a roller coaster that I was terrified of and she got on too!
I hope and pray my kids especially Autumn Grace would be as inspired by her as I have. I look forward to spending more time with her and really letting my children know who she is.
She has given us all in the Hamilton family inspiration to live like she has. To exhibit grace and love to others, and to extend mercy and compassion.