My Grandma Schieber would be celebrating a birthday (her 95th, I believe) if she were still alive today. So today, as Americans recognize and remember sacrifices of our military, I also pause to remember her.
I remember how she would inevitably find some little chore to be done around the house and mention it, conveniently, as soon as we were getting ready to go home. “Oh, Jim, could you just move that picture above the fireplace to the left two inches?” “Oh, I wanted to send you home with some of those canned peaches I had down in the cellar.” My brother Mike called this her evil plot–she never wanted us to leave, so she’d invent any excuse for us to stay a little longer.
I remember how she would always take the piece of chicken or toast or casserole that was a little bit burnt. She didn’t want anyone else to get stuck with it.
I remember going to her Apostolic Christian church services and being fascinated by the order of things–men and women seated separately, on opposite sides of the aisle. The nasal singing voices, clearly heard due to the lack of any instrumental accompaniment. Women with their hairnets as their head covering. So serious and reserved, yet jubilant and family-like at lunch as soon as the service had concluded.
I remember countless games of Skip-Bo and Rummikub with her and Grandpa Carl. After he was gone, she and I would play Bingo in the nursing home’s common room, which was a hilarious experience. Competitive and hard of hearing is quite the combination in a game of Bingo.
My first few years of teaching, we had Veteran’s Day off, so I would drive down and visit her for the day. I remember her telling me the same story over and over again as her memory grew weaker. I would remind her that I was a French teacher, and she would respond, “I never took French, I took Latin. My brother Curt heard I was taking Latin and told me to go ahead, but I would flunk it because he never took Latin.”
I remember how she loved her family more than anything. She would have been been utterly smitten with my baby boy. We will wrap him up in the blue-and-white blanket she made years ago for his cousins, and as he grows up, I’ll tell him about his great-grandmother.