This is my Grandma & Grandpa Erickson (my Mom’s parents, and also what felt like my second parents).
This is my favorite picture of them. She was working in that diner and he had come to see her when they were dating.
Ooo ooo.. and this one too… just found it
I lost them 6 months apart when I was in my 20’s. It devastated me. For years. They lived the closest to us, so we had spent a lot of time with them. And they meant everything to me.
My Grandma was a no nonsense type of woman. But she made the best waffles, the freezer kind, where each square had a melted pool of butter in it. To this day, I still haven’t been able to replicate the taste.
She had the best jewels that she let us dress up with. I don’t remember there being toys at their house, so we’d play with her figurines, and one of those old elves. She had a cabinet with a door that I loved to pretend was the home of whatever I had found to play with. I’m realizing now that I’m a parent, how patient and open she was to let us do that.
She always told us to eat our crust, my sister and I, so that our hair would be curly (I wanted curly hair), and my brother so that his chest would be hairy. I’ll have to ask him if he had ever wanted a hairy chest.
Before she passed she would often say to me “Getting old ain’t for sissies Jay”.
When I watched her on the bed the day before Cancer took her life, I realized she was there, but not in that body that had never served her well. And I told her she was right, it wasn’t for sissies and she had been so strong.
She squeezed my hand, she hadn’t shown any signs of reaction prior. That was the last time I got to interact with her here on earth.
She was a strong woman, having lost her Mom at a young age, and having to pick up the duties that typically would fall on the wife and mother, as her father worked hard to support the family.
I always remembered her being quite strict, until I went to my other Grandma’s who I felt was stricter, and that made me feel Grandma E was much more laid back ;). More on my Grandma Sisson to come, she was a strong lady too :).
I loved Grandma E like a parent. And I loved my Grandpa like a Dad too.
He was funny as heck. Quite quiet, then he’d throw out a zinger of a joke, usually about a person or situational things, that would have me laughing harder than anything else could. He had a great sense of humor.
He would tease my Dad relentlessly and somehow still make Dad try to force not grinning or laughing.
He loved Christmas. We always went to their house on Christmas Eve. Many times I was more excited for Christmas Eve than Christmas day. That’s saying a lot about them coming from a kid.
He always called me Baby. I can’t even begin to tell you what this meant to me as I approached the ages where people consider you “adult” and stop treating you with kid gloves, even when the kid in you needs it more than anything.
I loved him for that. And so many other things. He was Grand Marshall in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Clare, and we got to ride on the back of the convertible with him. He took us to Kiwanis Club dinners with him, once where he stood up to introduce us and pretended to forget my name. I laughed, but remember feeling bad because the other seniors in the room thought he had truly had a memory lapse, so they didn’t laugh. lol
My favorite thing to do was stay at their house overnight. In his tshirt, on the rickety little sofa bed whose springs you could feel on your back, it was my favorite bed. And get up and ride to work with him in the morning listening to country music. When we’d get to his dealership he would give me change all day long to put in the candy machines. I’d play office at Grandma’s desk, and use scotch tape to make myself long fingernails.
I would go sit in the cars in the showroom and pretend I was driving somewhere. The smell of a new car still reminds me of my childhood. My Dad went on to own a dealership of his own.
Both my Uncle Neal and Uncle Mark worked at Grandma & Grandpa’s dealership too so I would get to see them as well.
I couldn’t wait for lunch on these days! He’d take me to the Doherty and I would get tater tots & grilled cheese (I still LOVE tater tots) and a shirley temple. He’d give me the plastic swords from his drink and my brother or sister and I would have sword fights with them.
I loved going there, I felt so fancy, and he was special, they always had the table he wanted for him, always had a table for him even on the busiest days.
I felt many times in college they were watching over me from above, even saving me from myself.
I miss them to this day. They were the type of personalities that would get up there and be happy. My Grandpa loved hummingbirds. On two occasions since he passed, that were incredibly important and meaningful, a hummingbird has come to me.
I’ll leave you with my other favorite picture of him. He would’ve loved my babies… this was the face I saw when he’d be watching us, and this is the face I see when he sees my kids from Heaven.
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