Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Happy Birthday, Grandma! by Anna J Stewart

Hello Heartwarmers!  Great to be with you again. Hope you're all doing well.  Hard to believe we're already a few weeks into spring already. Summer is just around the corner (yay!), but this time of year, while it brings to mind bursting blooms and ankle-thick lawns (not to mention errant, rebellious weeds), I find my thoughts often turn to one of the most important people in my life: my grandmother.

Ruby Florence Harrison McLetchie Hunker would have been 100 years old today.  To be honest, I didn't realize that until just this second (and okay, I did the math on my phone, LOL). Wow. Kinda makes me misty-eyed when I think about it.  I think every kid thinks their grandma is special, and okay, let's face it, pretty much every grandma is. I mean, the name says it all; it has "grand" in the title. I feel so fortunate to have had her for so many years. It's funny, she's been gone almost longer than she was in my life (she died when I was 24), but there isn't a day that passes that I don't think of her, or remember something she said, did, or joked about. She just made me happy (although in this photo I look a little confused).



My grandmother was a woman ahead of her time. As the middle daughter of three girls, her home life growing up, from what I understand, wasn't the most stable. Her parents separated during a time it simply wasn't done and there was a rather contentious relationship with her mother. She had her children at an early age, as was the norm in those days, and from what I've heard, had a very happy marriage with my grandfather (an immigrant from England who had a plethora of health issues going back to when he had Polio as a child). She loved life. She lived life. She had...what's that word? Oh, yeah. Spunk. Oh, but she had spunk to spare.

That's not to say she didn't have her trials and obstacles (she survived two husbands, one of whom died on New Year's Day), but I don't remember her ever letting it get her down for long. I think maybe that's what I remember most: how positive she always seemed. She was the fun-loving grandma, the one who would get on the floor and play with me, who would read to me or take me to the bookstore. Every Easter she'd buy me my Easter dress and crocheted a poncho to match. She was a wiz at anything that required a needle: sewing, crocheting, knitting, needlepoint, tatting...alas, that talent skipped me entirely and I'm a little bummed I didn't pay more attention, but at least I have photos to remind me.


There are people who we are blessed to be surrounded by. As I grew older and my grandmother became my second parent, there were growing pains for both of us. But I wouldn't trade those years with her for the world. Not even when her health declined and I was forced to realize she wouldn't live forever. When my uncle, her oldest child passed away unexpectedly at the age of 60, I saw her change. I saw the light dim in her eyes as she realized "her baby" was gone. Two months later, almost to the day, so was she. As strong as she was, grief finally took its toll. My mother and I often joke (now at least) that she's enjoying whatever comes after this life with both her husbands and my uncle, no doubt kicking up her heels, smoking up a storm, a Rob Roy in one hand, and laughter in her voice. She had a great laugh. And a wicked sense of humor.

In times of trouble and crisis, so many of us ask what would so-and-so do, but for me, I always ask myself, what would my grandmother do? She always had the answers and those answers were always tempered with kindness and gentility. She was, to put it simply, a very nice woman.

To this day when my cousins and I reminisce about the times we all shared, the memories always come with a laugh and a smile--just as she would have added to the conversation. I remember the excitement I felt knowing grandma was coming for the weekend, or that she came with us on my first trip to Disneyland; that she took me again, along with my cousin Susie, a few years later (below. I'm the one on the left in case you couldn't tell, LOL). She taught me so many things, but most importantly, she taught me to enjoy life, to do what I loved to do (tell stories), and to never let anyone tell me I couldn't do something for whatever reason (like because I was a girl...grrrrr), because she always believed I could. When your grandmother has faith in you, there's nothing you can't achieve.



So happy birthday, Grandma. Thank you for being such a powerful guiding force in my life; for being that angel on my shoulder willing to tap away when I'm headed down the wrong path. I know you're there--I can hear you laughing. I miss you every day. Hug grandpa for me and Uncle Donny and know I'm celebrating you today as if you were here. Cheers! *clinks glass*


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USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart can't remember a time she didn't have a book in her hands or a story in her head. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family-centric romances with happily ever afters for the independent heroines she writes for both Harlequin and Berkley. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her). Her latest release from Heartwarming is MAKE ME A MATCH, a Valentine's anthology with fellow HW authors Cari Lynn Webb and Melinda Curtis. Visit her online at www.authorannastewart.com.


31 comments:

  1. What a lovely tribute to your grandmother, Anna. My Mamaw passed away twenty-seven years ago this month. I still miss her. Growing up, I lived outside the Washington, D.C. area and she'd come to visit from West Virginia. She loved when we took her to the mall. She'd be dressed and ready, with her purse on her lap waiting for us to get ready. Thanks for sparking this memory.

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    1. Happy to bring up memories of grandmas anytime, Jill! Thanks for stopping by to post! :)

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  2. Oh, Anna. What a lovely memory! How cool that she remains such a strong part of you today, and that you know how much of your strength and resolve comes from her. I had only one grandmother and she died when I was four, so I remember very little. Your grandmother is probably bragging on you to God at this very moment. Have a great day!

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    1. Hi Muriel! Thanks. I really do think about her every day, which proves just how much of an impact she made on me. I like to think she's proud. :) Thank you for commenting and helping me to celebrate her.

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  3. You’re so fortunate to have had such a loving grandmother. I just finished Forget Me Not, my next Heartwarming book that is all about a loving grandmother, but I didn’t draw on my own experiences. One died when I was five and the other wasn’t around until I was an adult, so the bond never formed. Happy Birthday, Ruby!

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    1. Isn't that what's great about being a writer, Marion? We can make the world the way we wish it could be. :) Thank you for helping me celebrate her birthday today. Hugs!

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  4. Anna, it's so great you have those beautiful memories. I didn't know either of my grandmothers as my parents were the age of most of my friends' grandmothers. I really hope I'm the kind of grandmother yours was. I don't crochet, knit or tat, but I made the girls dresses and the boys suit jackets when they were younger. By the way, I just finished the book with the novellas. Loved, loved them.

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    1. Hi Roz! Sounds like you're an awesome grandma! Trust me, your grandchildren will look back on those dresses and jackets with such love and appreciation. Glad you liked the novellas! <3 Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Grandma Ruby sounds like a wonderful woman, Anna. It's clear you inherited some of her spunk--the proof is there on the page of every story you write! Looking forward to reading Make Me a Match, and wishing you a wonderful Wednesday!

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    1. Hi Loree! Thank you so much--that really means a lot to me. That I could come close to being the type of woman she was definitely makes my heart happy. Have a great day.

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  6. Mr. Curtis had a Grandma Ruby, too! Thanks for sharing the memories. She'd be so proud of you

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  7. Hi, Anna! You were one of the luckiest kids ever to have a strong woman like that in your life. I can't wait to read your new book, as I love every word from you. Thanks for this wonderful post. Just great!

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    1. Hi Catherine! Thank you so much for the lovely words and compliment. It means so much coming from you. And I agree--I hit the grandma jackpot! <3

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  8. Grandmothers are wonderful. I had one like that, who made me feel special. She would listen to my stories and tell me wonderful stories of her own. Happy 100th birthday to your Grandma.

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    1. Thank you, Beth! *clinks glass against yours* So glad you had a rockin' grandma, too! Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. I got so teary reading this, Anna. Wonderful memories. Yours made me think of my mother's stepmother who was the grandmother I grew up with. She too was ahead of her time, an executive when very few women were. She bought me smocked dresses and took me to lunch at the big department store where fashion models came through to show the styles and always stopped at our table, which was a thrill for me. I loved spending weekends at her house. I still miss her so much. Happy 100th Birthday to your Ruby. Love that name.

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    1. Hi Leigh! I totally forgot about lunches at department stores! Yes! I think we used to go to the Emporium in San Francisco. Yay, another memory! I love when my memories make other people revel in their own. Hugs!

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  10. Your memories of your grandmother are a touching tribute to her. I never knew either of my grandmothers, but now that I am one, I want to make good memories with my grandchildren.

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    1. From what I understand being a grandma is just as great as having a fabulous one. :) Go grandmas!

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  11. What great memories. It's is so special having loving role-models in our lives.

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  12. I had a wonderful grandmother too who died 30 years ago and I still remember her fondly with tears in my eyes. She seemed to know everything, and whatever was troubling me she had a way of putting it into perspective. She made me feel safe and loved. We were fortunate to have such wonderful grandmas in our lives. Thanks for telling us about yours.

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    1. Hi Laurie! Thanks for commenting! That's it exactly...our grandmas just knew everything. Glad you have such wonderful memories. :)

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  13. Anna, this is one of the most touching posts I've read on our blog. It brought both tears to my eyes and a smile to my lips. I never had the opportunity of knowing either of my grandmothers. For a few moments I enjoyed the experience vicariously through you! You are indeed fortunate to have had such a wonderful grandmother.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kate. :) Always happy to share Grandma with my friends.

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  14. Such a sweet post and a beautiful tribute to what sounds like an amazing woman! Thank you for sharing that with us. I adored both of my grandmothers as well. Happy 100th birthday to your grandma (because I believe you still get to celebrate birthdays in heaven complete with cupcakes!)

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  15. A great post and a great tribute, and feelings all grandmas hope they inspire in someone.

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  16. Such a beautiful post, Anna. It's so clear when it comes from the heart and this post was so full of love. Beautiful pictures too and your little girl pics are too cute :).

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