Grandma AJ with her great grandson Hudson. September 5th 2004
Today is a sad day for me and before I get all caught up in my email and my extremely long to-do-list I wanted to take a moment to share someone special with you. Anna Jean Pearson or as we called her, Grandma AJ. She passed away last week and her funeral is today. I will not be there because I chose to fly home to Minnesota as few weeks ago, when the doctors told her she did not have too much longer to live. I made the choice to go and see her while she was still my Grandma, while she still remembered me, and to hear her call me “Annie” one last time.
Many of my favorite childhood memories are being at her house for all the holidays. It was always a packed house full of grandchildren running around and her yelling at us to settle down and if we were going to open a can of pop, “drink it all!” She didn’t like us wasting or spilling pop for that matter. (Soda is “pop” in Minnesota)
Grandma’s Holiday Games
Every holiday she had games for us to play, from guessing how many candies are in the jar to word scrambles, trivia questions, and “what is it?”, which consisted of some old-fashioned, rusted item from the turn of the century she found at a garage sale. And there was always the ribbon game of not saying a specific word, like “Easter”, and if you did, someone could steal your ribbon from your shirt and the person with the most ribbons at the end of the day won the prize. These are games I looked forward to every year.
The Money Envelopes
Then there was the Christmas envelope with money in it — as we got older, this was the real highlight of the holiday. There was always a special envelope with an extra $5 in it, which I sadly never remember getting, ever. She still gave us a money envelope as adults, even though we were married and grown with our own children she still passed out her “money envelopes” every Christmas. When I went home to see her and say goodbye, she had one for me and kept reminding my mom to make sure I got my Christmas money. It was my very last money envelope and this time I was not looking forward to it. And no, I did not get the extra $5.
Grandma’s Candy Dish
Her house always had a table with a candy dish, this was another small highlight of going over to Grandma’s — we could take as many candies (usually M & M’s) as we wanted. When I had to go to my Grandma’s house with my Mom while I was home, there it was, a dish filled with pink, red and white M & M’s, (probably left over from Valentine’s Day) sitting on the table. I put my hand in that dish and took a giant handful, popped them in my mouth and went back for more. It would be the last time I would take candy from my Grandma’s candy dish and I enjoyed every single one of those peanut M & M’s.
My grandma’s house was filled with treasures and a ton of jewelry and she told me I could take whatever I wanted. She was adamant about me taking something and even wanting me to take something for McKenna. Going to her house was not fun and certainly taking something felt awkward. But, I knew I wanted something to remember her by so I found a ring and some stylish beaded necklaces. I took these items knowing that when I wear them I’d think of her, and when someone comments on them I will be able to say they were my Grandma’s. For McKenna, I took one of her American Girl dolls.
These small but very precious memories only gives you a glimpse of who Grandma AJ was, but these are things that will stick with me forever.
Goodbye Grandma AJ , I love you!