Thursday, March 08, 2012

Happy Birthday, Gramma or...What's the deal with the Kentucky Fried Chicken?

Today is my gramma's birthday. She would have been 97 years old. She was born in 1915 to Irene Peace and Max (Bobby) Romig in San Diego (I believe I have that right). Yes, that is where Irene gets her Irene and Peace in her name.

The pictures are all in a wonkified order - but that's okay. They are also just the pictures that I have on my computer right now. 

It's funny that Kentucky Fried Chicken is what we have (not just us, but my mom and uncle and probably Jer and his family as well) on Gramma's birthday. She never really enjoyed cooking, which is funny to me, because she was a very good cook. Anyway, the last years of her life, no matter how sick she was, or how little she'd wanted to eat for days on end, if we brought some KFC, she'd eat it. ALL of it. The chicken (extra crispy), the cole slaw, the corn on the cob, and the yummy yummy biscuits. 

When we had her funeral (a lovely graveside burial) at the cemetery where my papa, Homer, great uncle Barney, her parents, her aunts and uncles, and her mother's best friends are buried, we laid our picnic blankets on the ground (the neighbors are all very kind and didn't mind at all when we put our blankets over them) and ate a delicious feast of Kentucky Fried Chicken and other goodies that people brought. I wish I could convey the peacefulness of Greenwood Cemetery. It makes me happy thinking of her there with her family - not that she's really there and all that... 

Dinner for tonight to celebrate Gramma
Mom, Irene, and Gramma
The above picture was taken in July 2002. Mom was 57,  Irene 2 1/2, and Gramma was 87. Gramma always found the fun in everything. Even when her short term memory was shot to hell, she had fun and she could laugh at herself. She adored Irene. She was at the hospital when she was born. It delighted her that Rob and I had named our girlie after her mother. I don't have those pictures on my computer right now, so the above will suffice.

One of my favorite pictures - I love Gramma's 88 year old hands juxtaposed with Rhys' wee one month old baby feet. She fell asleep with him like that.
When Rhys was born, it was more difficult for Gramma to travel, so she wasn't there when he was born. Instead, Mom and Vicki drove the Grannies up from Escondido. She was delighted with her newest great grand.

Rhys and Irene at Gramma's funeral. Irene has sweetpeas - Gramma's favorite flower. Jalen is in the background
Lots of family at Greenwood Cemetery. That's Janty (Gramma's sister) in the hat.
Gramma on her 93rd birthday in 2008 - KFC for dinner and Sam wanting a taste.
I spent Gramma's last birthday with her. I bought her some KFC and she was very very happy with it. Sam, the black kitty, enjoyed a wee taste as well.

The Grannies enjoying their KFC on Gramma's birthday 2008
This is at Janty's 90th birthday celebration, so Gramma is 92. She and Mom are looking at the
class picture of Grossmont High School in La Mesa.

Me & Gramma

Three generations

Four Generations
Gramma and Vicki watch Janty's special photo montage
 For Janty's 90th, just as we did for Gramma's, Rob and I made a photo montage of Janty's 90 years. We received photos from everyone in the family. Because of Gramma's short term memory problems, she asked to watch it again and again and it was like new each time *smile*

In the Palomar Mountains
In the summer of 2004, we decided to have our "Romig Women Quilting Days" at a wonderful cabin in the Palomar Mountains. From 1998 - 2004, we made quilts every summer. This was the last summer that we did that.
The Grannies embroidering hearts for future Great Grands

At Gramma's funeral - it was wonderful walking to the gravesite - we followed the sound of the bagpipe

Setting out our picnic blankets and eating our Kentucky Fried Chicken

Mom and Gramma the summer of 2005
After the summer of 2005, we moved The Grannies up to Concord, where Vicki lived. That meant it was only 4 hours for the kids, mom, and I. It was nice to be able to know where they were and know that we could (relatively) easily get down to Concord for visits or when they were sick. We all worked on the garden outside of "Penny's House" where they lived. It was a nice spot with happy rooms and lovely helpers.

Gramma lived a long and wonderful life. She was married to the love of her life, she traveled, she explored. When she was in school, she had a friend who was gay. Other people, she told me, were mean to him and made fun of him, but she couldn't see the sense in that and befriended him. People love who they love. When Martin Luther King was shot, she joined the NAACP.

She was the person, that even during my teen years, I knew loved me unconditionally. As a parent *now*  (and even when I was in college) - I know that my parents (all four of them) also loved me unconditionally, but as the teenager in that moment, it was Gramma that I knew, no matter what, loved me and was on my side - whatever side that might happen to be.

It was with Gramma that I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time. We had arrived about 10 minutes into it (just passed the rolling ball scene). When the movie ended, she turned to me and said "Shall we stay and watch it again?!"

From Gramma, I got my height (or lack there of). She was also left handed, like me, so she's part of the genes that helped that happen as well. I wish I had her sewing skills. She was a seamstress like no other. I also wish I had her green thumb. Mom has that, but somehow, it skipped me.

Anyway, I could go on, but I'll stop there. I love her and I miss her. Happy birthday, Gramma.

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