My Grandma Mildred was a poet, a writer, a teacher, a musician. She focused on being creative and then taught others to do so, as well. She demonstrated how to live an unconventional life, showing me that I could as well. She was rootsy and advantgarde before I knew what that meant, or even more, how to appreciate it. She taught me that life isn’t always lived between the lines.
I love that whenever we’d visit her Eau Claire, WI house as kids, the house was full of mystery and intrigue. She always let me explore. She always let me put my hands on new musical instruments I’d never seen before, or to play her big organ with all the fun sounds. She always let me be adventurous. I’m grateful for that lesson and hope to continue to be adventurous, and encourage others to do likewise.
I love that she did an acting stint in the Grande Olde Players in Omaha. She taught me that you’re never too old to put on makeup and get up in front of people and act silly.
I love that she took such good care of our dog Scamp in her final dog days. She showed me that even though you live alone, you never have to be lonely.
Grandma Mildred was never fake or artificial. She never wanted to convince anyone that she was anything other than just herself. Sometimes that meant putting on makeup and big jewelry to go play the piano for all the “old people”. Sometimes it meant just lounging in her nightgown. I’m grateful for her teaching me that there’s a time and place to be fancy, even if other people don’t agree.
I don’t claim to understand a lot about how she lived her life, or how she managed to live as long as she did on her regular diet of crossword puzzles and romance novels. But I admire her contentment with simplicity. As I grow older, I hope to eliminate clutter and excess.
Her love for me appeared to grow with her age. Oddly enough, the less she was able to walk, the more she was able to say “I love you” to me. I hope to say “I love you” more, the older I grow, as well.