fifty one: a letter for a woman I’ve never met

My maternal Grandmother died on February 19th over thirty years ago and before I was born. I have seen pictures of her, heard wonderful stories and even read from an old children’s book that belonged to her. But more than anything, I wish I had a chance to know her.

February 20, 2011


I wonder if I would have called you that, or if you would have preferred Nana or something unconventional and flashy, like Gigi.

I have a picture of you on my dresser, from the 1940’s I believe. You’re visiting Grandpa at the army barracks and you have this lovely little flower tucked behind your ear. You look so youthful and happy. When I picture you in my mind you’re usually wearing that amazing feathered gown you wore to Mom and Dad’s wedding. I know you were so sick then, but the photos don’t show it–at least to me. You were a portrait of style and elegance.

Mom told me we could have shared shoes. I’m 5’11”, just two inches taller than you (and quite tall for a lady)! I have Mom’s nose, which I think she got from you. And her smile (a Grandpa trait) only the space between my teeth was closed with the help of braces. Mom and I have a lot of the same mannerisms. I’m guessing she got a lot of those from you.

If you were alive I’d ask you what Mom was like as a kid—no as a teenager. Did she always do her homework? Did she ‘neck’ boys in your basement? I’d want to know everything—your version of the stories of course. I’d want to hear your stories too. I bet you have lots of good ones.

Everyone tells me how lovely you were, always full of class and grace. I heard you were an excellent piano player too. Every time I hear the song “You Are My Sunshine’ I think of you. I really love the stories about you and your sisters–they are always full of laughter and joy. And I know you were a great mother because you raised a wonderful woman who’s been the best mom a girl could ask for. I am so grateful for that. She’s my best friend and my biggest supporter. I know it’s hard for her, not having you around. But I like to think you’ve been watching over us all this time.

I hope to know you, someday, somehow. In the meantime I will keep your memory close to my heart.

With love,

Your Granddaughter


  1. says


    I just wanted to write a note to let you know that your blog has really added a dash of something very special to my day. I love the concept and the execution. And this letter exemplifies all the class and grace of your blog. You are apparently a continuing in your grandmother’s footsteps.

    Thank you for creating a lovely corner on the web,


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