Heritage Sketch: Grandma Mina

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When you were nine, your family moved from Idaho to Florida. You loved playing in the swamp near your home until one day, your Dad found out, and took you to the swamp at dusk. He shined a flashlight into the wetland to reveal gleaming alligator eyes. Needless to say you never played in the swamp again.

Between the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Civil Rights Movement the climate in Florida was tense to say the least. One day you and your Mom were sitting on your front porch when you heard a rumbling sound the next block over. You went to investigate and discovered flatbed trucks casually carrying missiles through the town. Shortly thereafter you moved back to Idaho.

You always wanted to be an archeologist, but the school counselor told you that your family was too poor to afford college so you should just take office classes in high school and become a secretary. I have always wondered how your life would’ve been different if you had pursued archeology. You did have a lot of interesting jobs, from monitoring the border between Canada and Idaho, to working with troubled boys at a boarding school, to writing commercials for a radio station, but I still wish you would’ve had the chance to live out your dream. In your willingness to put a positive spin on any situation, however, you always say you wouldn’t have been able to handle the heat of archeological digs anyway.

Within a month of graduating high school you married your high school sweetheart. You had my dad at eighteen, and he had me at twenty-two, and the scant forty years between us has allowed us to become very close. You and I have discussed at great length how similar we are. I can’t think of someone I would rather look and be like.

You are one of the most selfless people I know. Out of the overflow of your heart you continually take stray animals and wayward boys into your home. You even took in Abby, the meanest of mean cats. Oh Abby, cornering us in the bedrooms and swatting at our legs as we walked by. But you and Grandpa loved her, and that was what mattered.

Your craft room has always been one of my happy places with it’s golden walls and overflowing jars of buttons and drawers of stamps. Some of my best memories with you involve sun-speckled afternoons sitting at the big table, making cards and talking about our deepest fears and longings. I’ll miss that craft room, but I’m you glad you finally get to move back out into a cabin in the woods.

As we always tell each other, I love you to the moon and back! I can’t wait to see you in 10 short days!

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4 thoughts on “Heritage Sketch: Grandma Mina

  1. Kelly, your love for your grandma is so sweet. I’m glad you can have a close relationship with her. Really, grandparents are some of the most fascinating people in the world. They usually have such interesting stories and life experience to share. It’s too bad more people don’t take the time to hang out with and talk to their grandparents. Anyway, thanks for sharing a slice of your grandma’s fascinating life! She sounds like an amazing lady. 🙂

  2. What an adorable picture (those little shoes!) and what a sweet tribute. I love your ability to blend sweeping summary with specific, concrete details and anecdotes. It is a deep privilege to learn someone’s story–or at least a part of it–and I wish these kinds of portraits could be seen more often. (Maybe this is why everyone loves Humans of New York so much.) Thanks for sharing, Kelly!

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