April 22 is widely celebrated as Earth Day. It is also my grandmother’s birthday. Today she would have been 107. I was lucky to have known her for a little over 20 years of my life.
Grandma was my “Martha Stewart”—the original DIYer in our family. She was an active lady and lived with us for a good part of my childhood. She was into everything – odd parts of animals would be cooking on the stove, she set up a little “kitchen” in her bedroom (fire hazard), electric appliances would be dangerously close to water, she’d put random plants in our garden, you’d walk in her room and would most likely step on a pin that was lost from one of her crafting projects. She asked for my help quite often – it was because of her that I learned how to thread a sewing machine. I also had to sort out dozens of sequins and beads that she’d spill on the floor. It was frustrating to keep up with her and put things back to how they were, or making sure she was okay climbing up the hill in the back yard. She was the epitome of, “If I don’t know how to do it, I’ll find out how.” I once told her that I wished she would just relax (and not get into things) like “other grandmas” but stupid “little kid” in me couldn’t see that she was keeping herself alive.
From time to time, I’d take her to the craft store and to her senior center where she would socialize with her friends. She’d have pageants and would want my sister and me to be in her court (I didn’t enjoy that – I despised dressing up). She knew how to enjoy life and did everything she could while she had the time here on earth.
Despite my frustrations, I knew she loved us. She enjoyed watching me play the piano from the top of the stairs and would even make song requests. She would glow when she told her friends about all of our accomplishments.
If she were alive today, I’m sure we’d be “making things” together and she’d ask me to browse for some projects for her on the internet. She was upcycling and recycling before it even became popular. She would make clothes, bags, “things,” before she would buy them. She was frugal and did what she could to make little waste.
Earth Day really is a great day to commemorate my grandma’s life.
Happy B(earth)day Grandma Julie.