This will be the first of many posts about my great grandmother Hazel. Not many people have the opportunity to get to know their great grandparents very well, but I was fortunate.
As often as we could, my cousins and I would visit her out on her farm just outside of town. She lived in a brick duplex with a large garden, horses in the pasture, old farm buildings, and a sweet golf cart. It was a magnificent place to be a kid.
Obviously, there were plenty of things to do outside, but I enjoyed time indoors with my grandma just as much. She always had something for us to do or learn. She taught me how to paint, how to crochet, how to bake, and how to play her favorite card game, Skip-Bo.
Even though she passed away almost eight years ago, I still think about how much of an impact she has had on my life.
This past December during our Christmas family gathering, I asked my Aunt Pam about the journals my grandma would write in every night. Whenever I visited her, we would eat dinner, watch the news, and then she would write down the day's happenings in a little black weekly planner. My mom even remembers this when she was a kid.
To my surprise, my aunt had all these journals in her basement, all 34 of them. One for each year. My aunt was kind enough to let me borrow them for the past few months. Every once in awhile, I pull one out and read specific dates to see what my grandmother wrote.
On my birthday this year, I read the entry she wrote on the day I was born:
44 - Thursday 13 - 75
Sunny. Wind - So - 8 MPH
Went to CR about 9:30 a.m. Stopped at Wright Way to get Mini fixed - gas leak.
At 1:30 HE (Howard) had 2 teeth and a snag pulled.
Got a few groceries. Also ordered cheese at Swiss Valley in C.C.
Took drapes to Dickeys for cleaning.
Kelly had a girl - 8 lb 2 oz. by C-section St. Lukes. Amanda Kay.
I'm not sure if it was the bookkeeper in her, or the lack of space in these planners, but her entries were always short and to the point. Only including the weather and the highlights of the day. Nothing emotional, nothing philosophical. I admired that. It also still blows my mind that she wrote in these journals every single day, from 1965 to 2002 (as far as I know).
On this particular day, they took their RV (Mini Home) to Cedar Rapids to get fixed. My great grandfather Howard (HE) had a few teeth pulled (funny enough, it was his birthday as well). She dropped her drapes off for cleaning, and based on the writing in the margins, found out about my birth after the evening news.
Even though she misspelled my middle name (probably was told over the phone), each time I see myself mentioned in these journals, it feels like seeing yourself cast in a movie. The charming story of my family, told over many years, about life on a farm in rural Iowa, written by an incredibly diligent narrator. I can't get enough.