Tuesday, November 25, 2014

irene hardwick baldwin

my grandmother irene was
born on nov. 25th, 1913.

today would be her 101st birthday!

i'm remembering her with so much love today~

we found this poem in her dresser drawer after she 
died and it was read at her memorial service in 1986:

i'd like the memory of me to be a happy one,
i'd like to leave an afterglow of smiles when my life is done.
i'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, 
of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
i'd like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun,
of happy memories that i leave, when my life is done.

the longer i walk this earth, the more remarkable i find my dear
grandmother to have been.
she had her first baby when she was only 17 and then went
on to have 6 more- including a set of twins-(my mother was one of them).
she had 21 grandchildren and was accumulating great grandchildren
left and right when she left us- all too soon.

grama irene became my second mother when i was 7 and my mom died.
grama and grampa's youngest child paul still lived at home when my
sister and i became theirs to raise. 
i was the youngest of the 9 children they raised. 
she was 73 when she died and had children under her roof from age 17- 63.
that's a long time to actively mother kids.

she did this all without complaining. 
she and my grandfather were simple people. 
farmers~ turning the earth to make a living. they always lived
close to the bone. the really remarkable thing though is that
i never really knew that we had to go without.
they did the best they could- without complaints- to
raise all of us.
they knew what really mattered in life, and that was
that time was the real currency.
my grama knit and crocheted and sewed gifts for all of us.
she baked many times a week and could make cooking a huge
meal look so easy. she gardened like few i've ever known,
whistling while she hand hoed about an acre of land. 

i don't think she loved anything more than her big family around her table.
she played with her grandchildren, teaching them the different
sounds that "her" birds made, and making up little songs and games
for us. she took us on walks and took us camping.
she let us pick flowers out of her garden and dishes out of her
china cupboard. she bought old furniture and refinished it
and turned it into cherished keepsakes for her family.

she was a remarkable woman in a way that may seem unremarkable to many. 
she went to church and she went to the grocery store...
she hoed in the dirt and kneaded bread at her
 counter. she hated to have her picture taken and
she loved many dogs. she liked to watch soap operas and
would knit and nap in her chair while she took that
one hour rest in the middle of her busy days.

grama irene had a wicked sense of humor and loved to play tricks on 
people and make them laugh. whether she was sneaking ugly fake flowers
in girlfriends gardens, or dressing up at family reunions, you could
always count on her to have something up her sleeve!

she died when she was only 73 and she was ready~
she adamantly told all of us- when her kidneys failed, that
she was ready to go~ she did not have any desire to do 
dialysis and sincerely felt like her time here on earth was done.

i wasn't ready to say goodbye- but are we ever?
she lived her life like she wanted to, and she
died with dignity and grace. making all of us laugh
until the last day of her life.

happy 101st birthday grama irene,
you were so loved.


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