Grandma Berkshire

My grand­ma is one tough cook­ie. She grew up dur­ing The Great Depression, sent a hus­band off to World War II, raised 4 kids and beat lung can­cer. When I was lit­tle she was al­ways a bit more fright­en­ing to me than my grand­pa and I still don’t know ex­act­ly why, she was on­ly ever re­al­ly mad at me once, when I care­less­ly tore a chunk out of a tree while mow­ing her yard.

I’d of­ten be over at my grandparent’s house dur­ing the sum­mer, es­pe­cial­ly once I was old enough to be al­lowed to ride my bike the two miles to their place. Lunch was al­ways around 11:15 and din­ner around 4 or so. Grandma wasn’t too big on bak­ing or cook­ing like Donna Reed, but the food was al­ways good and there was al­ways enough to fill up on. I used to put Bugles on each fin­ger and eat them off one by one, or snack on Tater Skins. Sometimes when my cousins were vis­it­ing we’d be able to con­vince her to get a box of piz­za rolls for us to share.

After grand­pa died and my par­ents di­vorced I found my­self stuck with the job of be­ing the man of two hous­es. I would walk through the cemetary past my grandfather’s grave to get to her house. I re­sent­ed this at first, I was in mid­dle school, start­ing high school and there were plen­ty of oth­er things I would have rather done than clean gut­ters and mow the yard and trim trees at two dif­fer­ent hous­es. I got over this as my grand­ma got old­er and I grew old­er and in­to the re­al­iza­tion at just how much I was need­ed. Relatively, I wasn’t need­ed very much, but it was enough to speak to me. When I went off to col­lege the lit­tle chores would pile up un­til I came home on a break and I’d hear from my grand­ma how my mom was too busy to both­er of­ten and from my mom how my grand­ma need­ed help so of­ten. [And I’ll get in trou­ble from both of them if they read this].

Grandma is near­ly im­pos­si­ble to beat at scrab­ble and eu­chre [al­though she makes an ex­cel­lent part­ner at the lat­ter]. She al­so kicked cross­word ass when she still did them. A cou­ple of years ago she moved out from the house in Connersville and moved to Noblesville in a sort of re­tire­ment community/​assisted liv­ing sort of place, her em­phy­se­ma and poor eye­sight make it hard for her to do much. I don’t see her as of­ten as I used to, and I don’t even call as of­ten as I used to. I some­times won­der if she still gets joy from her life and fam­i­ly or if she is just wait­ing.

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