When I was younger, I used to say that I had a cooking grandma and a sewing grandma and if I could just get the two of them to merge I'd have the perfect stereotypical grandma. The truth is more complicated than that. My Grandma Jonte is the sewing grandma, though my favorite cookie recipe is one I got from her. I made some for Granddad's memorial. Some butterscotch and some chocolate. When telling Grandma about making the substitution to turn her butterscotch drops into chocolate drops, one of my aunts, possibly my uncle, laughed. Apparently Grandma had made the substitution to butterscotch from a chocolate recipe in the first place because Granddad liked it better. So, you know. The substitution gene comes to me honestly. Also, I remember one time Grandma made gingerbread. Like, actual bread, gingerbread. It was dark like molasses and delicious and served warm with a lemon glaze and I hope I can find that recipe.
So, you see, my sewing grandma was a great cook too. But to me, she was always the one with needle and thread. To her, sewing was both practical and a hobby. I can't tell you the number of dresses I wore that she made for me. My favorite is probably the dress I wore as the flower girl in my Aunt Dorothy's wedding. It was purple, had ruffles, and I got to wear it with my first pair of high heels (much to my father's dismay). Eleanor has worn clothes that were handed down to me by my mom, made by not only her (Eleanor's) great-grandma, but MY great-grandma too. I learned to cross stitch when I was 10 or so, because it's what Grandma did. I was never very good at it, but I always admired the beautiful framed pieces she had hanging about. Landscapes are what I remember most, and one of a Siamese cat--grey point ears and blue eyes. She did a cross stitch name thingy--my name vertically, with little ballet bunnies on the letters. On my couch, there are two throw pillows that Grandma made for one of my birthdays. They're purple and each has a different pattern crocheted on the front. Grandma was handy with all kinds of needles. I know I took one of those pillows with me when I went to Washington D.C. in 8th grade. I wrote my name on the back. Sometime last year, Jeremy took a Sharpie and changed Boswell to Boswelch. There's yellow glow-in-the-dark puff paint on the other pillow, because it was the 90s. Everywhere I look in my house, I see evidence of Grandma's love. The quilt she made as a wedding gift--all purples and greens. The quilt my great aunt started that Grandma finished. It's a cat pattern. It's in Bagel's room right now. There are pot holders in the kitchen & one of her skirts in my closet, the one she wore to Aunt Dorothy's high school graduation, though not one she made.
The past year, I've gotten to spend a lot of time with my grandma. She moved in with my folks after Granddad died, and when my folks had to travel, Eleanor and I would pack up and head out to the Weatherford Spa. Seriously, my folks house is great and feels like a retreat. Huge kitchen, fully stocked pantry, pool, soaker tub, 500 channels of cable. Grandma and I would read in our chairs when the baby napped. I'd cook dinner and learned that aside from chicken/turkey, milk and red wine, Grandma likes all the food. I definitely get my sweet tooth from her. Her blue eyes are part of the reason Eleanor got to keep her blue eyes instead of turning hazel/brown like the rest of my family. Of course, the E in Eleanor is also partially for the middle name that my mom & I share, which is an E because of her mom and grandma. Not too long ago, Grandma decided that "Grandma Jonte" was too much of a mouthful, and "Great Grandma" wasn't much better, so she asked that we teach Eleanor to call her GG. She loved that little girl so much. Of her 5 great-grandchildren, Eleanor was the only one who lived close enough to be seen on a regular basis. I know how lucky we were to have so much time to spend together. Eleanor took her first steps holding on to Grandma's walker. Grandma stood up with us at Eleanor's dedication.
So, even though my grandma is gone, she's still everywhere I look. In my baby, and in my house, and in my heart.