One of the biggest blessings I’ve had in my life is the opportunity to know and bond with three out of four of my grandparents well into my adult life. From card games with my nana to pottery camp with my grandpa, I can list so many special memories that I’ve shared with my grandparents over the past (almost) 30 years.
My Grandma Veale is the matriarch of the family. She grew up during the Great Depression, and was a huge help in running her family’s dairy farm in Cornish Town in Negaunee, Michigan. She had a lot of responsibility within her family, helping to raise her younger brother after her parents passed away. Gram raised five kids with my grandpa, went back to college when her youngest boy went to school and finished her teaching degree in her early 40s. When my grandpa was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, she was his caretaker from the beginning of it all until he passed away, December 31, 1999 (20 minutes before the new year and new millennium).
Gram is 91 years old now and still lives on her own in the house that’s been in the family since the 1800s. I had the privilege of living with my grandma for four years during my time at NMU and while I started my teaching career in Negaunee. We ate waffles for dinner, watched the Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars together, played checkers, and did puzzles. I will cherish those years of living in her house, hearing all the stories, and visiting with the family who stayed with us for the rest of my life.
Our family has many traditions. Gram has signature recipes that many of us are learning how to make on our own so we can pass them on to our kids. She’s famous for her pasties (don’t ask her if carrots belong in them, you’ll get an ear-full), bread, currant cookies and rolls, and her pies, especially the raspberry ones.
I’m very fortunate that my husband is a photographer and videographer; he is so great at recognizing and capturing the little details that we’ll treasure years down the road. Earlier this summer, I asked Matt to come with me to the family camp in Gwinn to take some pictures of my grandma at her finest, working in the kitchen and teaching me how to make pies. Later in the evening, he captured the perfect portrait of her, sitting in her chair, newspaper under her feet, her grand-dog by her side, book in her lap, smiling at her grandson who was visiting from Montana. That is a picture I will hold on to for the rest of my life.
Until Next Time
Lauren (& Matt)