I want to thank all of you for your kind comments and thoughtful words about my grandfather's passing. In truth, while it wasn't expected this very week, it was a long time coming. He has been ill for the last several years, and we were all prepared to let him go. That said, I know my family appreciates your thoughts.
For me, the hardest part of yesterday was the flood of memories of times spent with both my grandparents. As I said, my grandfather was not an easy man to know and my grandmother was the complete opposite. I have such wonderful memories of all my time spent with her, and I miss her even more intensely as the years go by. I was lucky to get to know her for as long as I did, but I can't help but be greedy and wish she were still here today.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this last night, and I would like to post the words I wrote for her memorial service almost 8 years ago. While part of my blogging experience is to write to entertain my readers, part of it is an archival process for me, and I would like to add my words about her to my journal for posterity. If this is a little too heavy for you, please join me tomorrow when I'll be back for my regular programming (finished knits and strange stories).****
Ruth Sidney Wolf
January 5, 1923 - July 14, 2000
Probably one of my earliest memories of my grandmother was walking along the Ventura State Beach early in the morning and collecting seashells. What we did with those smelly seashells I'll never remember (though I have a sneaking suspicion that either she or my parents disposed of them later). But when I think of the ways in which I most connected with my grandmother, they always seem to be close to the arts. Perhaps the best way that I can think of to describe her is as an artist. Whether she was painting, knitting, listening to the opera, cooking, or instructing us, she filled most of my memories with her artistic skills.
When I was young we walked the beach and collected seashells and we drew with crayons. We told each other stories - hers were filled with colorful pictures of her youth, or the antics of my dad and uncle, or even the antics of her beloved Tiffany. As I grew older we spent hours in the kitchen cooking applesauce, freshly baked bread or fruit soup; and in the evenings we would sit in front of the T.V. practicing knitting pattens. And when I got old enough, I brought my own projects - my scarves and sweaters - to her for advice and ideas.
Probably one of my last real memories of her involves a difficult sweater pattern I attempted roughly 3 years ago. I struggled all night with the pattern, but my patience gave out and I gave up. By the next morning the needles lay ready for me, cast on and ready to go. Even with her arthritis she was still helping me, sitting next to me and encouraging me.
I have so many wonderful memories from her: jewelry store and makeup, recipes and patterns, and long conversations... too many to be counted. I feel lucky to have known her. When I think about the things that she taught me and how she influenced my life, I can best summarize it like this: She taught me to have patience with myself; that you can still be creative even while using a pattern or a recipe; that every pattern, every stitch, they always work out in the end; and that you're never too old to drive a little red sports car.