My grandma died in 2001 at the age of 81. But she is one of my favorite people, and every March 31 I think of her.
She was married at the age of 15, and gave birth to my mom at age 16. Can you imagine doing that today? Wait, I guess it would be possible if you live on the YFZ Ranch or in Appalachia...
Anyway. She was so much fun. We usually had the gift of her visits for Thanksgiving every year. Idaho got her for Christmas. She was a tiny 5'2, and probably 100 lbs. She was known for her baking skills, and always made the yummiest things; most notably her rolls, peanut butter fingers and mint cookies.
She always mopped the floor with a rag after dinner, always drank orange metamucil right before bed, and kissed on the lips. She loved spice gumdrops, read romance novels, and loved her "play" Another World. Time stopped every day to watch that soap!
The three of us (mom, grandma and me) would brave black Friday every year after Thanksgiving. The last time we went was when I was pregnant with Jillian. The two of them ran circles around me and my swollen ankles. After that year, for some reason, we started getting her for Christmas instead of Thanksgiving. It was great!
She and my grandpa drove school buses. She lost her husband suddenly at the age of 55 and never remarried. After he died she sold the buses and worked as an Elementary School Aide. Right up until she died, she sent checks to my kids for their birthdays. Her bedroom was filled with pictures of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even a couple great-great grandchildren.
I loved her so much, and we always knew that she loved us unconditionally. Happy Birthday Grandma!
(edited to add: I looked up "school bus" and tried to find the proper spelling of the plural...every place I looked spelled it TWO ways, "buses" and "busses." I've now looked at the word so much that it looks like a different language to me. So pick which one you like. Good grief.)
6 months ago