My Grandma Mary

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I want to talk a little bit about my memories of my favorite grandmother…the one who spent countless weeks with me every summer, the one who never missed a holiday or family event, the one who was always proud to show us off to her friends.  My favorite memory is how she gave me the chance to learn how to swim by taking me to the local pool and sitting for countless hours watching me flail away in the 3 foot section while I overcame my fear of water and taught myself how to doggie paddle.

My Grandma Vesco was my Dad’s mom and my Dad was an only child.  We were the only family she had as her husband had died in 1972 from complications of Black Lung and Emphysema from his coal mining days.  She spoiled my sister and I rotten.  We would take turns staying with her in the summers for a week at a time and sometimes together.  She talked to me till the wee hours about anything and everything.  She told stories about my dad as a child, about herself as a young girl and about the things that made her scared. During these summers at her house, we would go to breakfast with her friends at the local diner every single morning, walk to the post office to get her mail, and visit other relatives and neighbors that lived nearby.  I would go with her to get her hair done too, which for some reason I think was every other Thursday at her friend’s home salon and her name was Marge or Margaret if memory recalls.  As I stated above, my most favorite memory was when she took me to the pool; even though I didn’t know how to swim, and sat by the edge ready to summon any lifeguard in a flash, while I taught myself by trial and error how to doggie paddle. She nor my Dad ever learned how to swim, so she was always a nervous wreck with me in the water, but the point is, she knew I loved it and was eager to figure it out so she kept taking me; no doubt she was bored sitting there.

Once I became an adult, she always took the time to call and check on me and was always interested in what I was up to.  I know that I didn’t give her the time or attention that she deserved in her final years because I was so busy raising my four kids and working night shifts and if I could do things over again, I would definitely make the time to visit her more often. She always seemed to understand, always called me and never once made me feel guilty about being busy.

Grandma hated hospitals and doctors, which is a good thing, because she was rarely ever sick.  Maybe it was all that homemade red Italian wine over the years when she was younger!  Grandma passed away on April 1st, 2000.  She called my dad one day because she could not get up out of her chair.  She was retaining fluid and jaundiced.  We learned that she had liver cancer and we only had two more weeks with her.  Given her fear of hospitals and stubborn nature, my guess is that she knew she was sick and chose to handle it her way; I admire that.  She was 84.

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