Silver Linings Grandma
Recently we celebrated the RS birthday. The theme was “Inheritance” and we asked the sisters to reflect on something they have inherited from a grandma and write about it. It was such a pleasure to read about the things we carry from our beloved foremothers: temple handkerchiefs, fiery tempers, jewelry, love of chocolate. Thankfully it gave me an excuse to reflect on my own grandma and reminds me that family history is as much about stories as it is about charts. Here is my entry:
When I was in 7th grade my Grandpa married Johanna Schneider Krikopulo and gave me the best gift I’ve ever received: a grandma. His wife Jessie, my mother’s mother, passed away when I was two and all that remained for me were faded photographs and a longing to be mentored by a wise, kind woman who would make me feel special. While I adored my paternal Grandma, she was born in 1885 and hence her traveling days were mostly over. So she always felt out of reach.
Oma (she hailed from Munich) and I bonded immediately. We both loved our cats, jewelry, literature, and baking. When I went to BYU my grandparents’ house was my haven. I’d spent entire Saturdays baking and talking with Oma. She had me bring friends over for dinner and a movie night. When I went through the temple Oma was my escort. When Dave dumped me while we were dating it was her shoulder I cried on. When Dave and I got married and were dirt poor, she hired us to come clean her spotless house and sent us home with a check and bags of groceries.
My favorite times were polishing the silver. We’d start with the platters and work out way through the pieces. She’d make lists during the week of little things she wanted to share with me, and I’d unburden my heart as well. We’d rub and wipe and rub and wipe and talk and laugh, and before you knew it, our work would reveal the sparkling silver beneath the previously dark and tarnished piece. And that’s how my heart felt too. Oma has taught me to keep working, keep polishing, and beneath the sorrow and pain you will find a glimmer of silver, waiting to be revealed. And it’s a process. You never FIND happiness; you keep rediscovering it through time and effort. When we were done we’d always admire the end product, watching our waving reflections on the silvery surface. She’s living in a home in Provo, mostly speaking German now, having forgotten her English, her husbands, her cats, and yes, even me. But I keep her with me and I take down the silver platter I inherited and rub it til it shines, knowing that I too can shine, if I keep at it. I am so grateful to have inherited a Grandma who taught me to find the silver lining. Danke, Oma.
What have you inherited from your grandmothers? Have you written it down?