I didn’t ever really know Dad’s mother. By the time I was born, we were living in Utah and we got to Idaho once each year to visit. I only remember Grandma as being a sick lady that suffered seriously from Parkinson’s Disease. Most often, we saw her when she was in the hospital. She died when I was ten years old. From the stories I have heard, she may have been small, or short in stature but she was very feisty. I think of her when I remember the cliché: “dynamite comes in small packages.”
Dad told us that Grandma was a small woman, very short, probably didn’t measure over five feet tall. She would chase her children with a broom because she could never get close enough to them to really smack them for whatever crime they might have committed. And, these boys were very close to juvenile delinquents. Uncle Pat, according to Dad, was once thrown out of the Catholic School because he kept spitting on the floor.
Grandma could never punish her sons because they would run away. But they had to eat. So each night, when they sat down for dinner, she would smack them in the head. “What was that for?” they would ask.
“I don’t know,” she said. “But I’m sure you did something to deserve it.”
Mom also remember Grandma. When Mom was taking lessons to become a Catholic, she was preparing to enter a confessional for the first time. “Don’t worry Janie,” Grandma said. “Tell the priest whatever you want. The rest is none of his business.”
Grandma was dynamite in a small container!