Today would have been my Grandma Char’s 76th birthday. Shortly after her birthday last year we learned that she had terminal cancer, and last February she passed away.
My grandma was very artistic and loved encouraging her 11 grandchildren in their creative pursuits. When I first became interested in gardening around age 9 or 10, she gave me cuttings from her plants to get me started. I took home cuttings from her Burro’s Tail, Pregnant Onion, various Ivies and from her Philodendron. When she was still able, we would garden together. She would take me out to lunch and then afterward we’d do some gardening work at her house. She taught me about loosening the roots of a transplant and about subdividing clumps of Iris. I would often spend the night and she would read old Yiddish fairytales to me before I went to bed. I loved every second of it.
Just before she got sick, she re-landscaped her front and back yards. The end result was beautiful and very modern. She incorporated some of her favorite plants. She loved bearded irises, geraniums, gardenias, and this peculiar cactus that she had for over 20 years, maybe even 30. She hated “spikey” plants and made her gardener take out the Dracenas he tried to sneak into one of her containers.
When spending time with her, my Grandma made you feel like the center of the universe. She emanated class and graciousness, intelligence and thoughtfulness, creativity and a zest for life. My Grandma was fiercely loyal and opinionated, and she could be downright stubborn at times. She was also incredibly generous, with her time, knowledge and resources. And she had the most fantastic laugh you have ever heard.
She was a fantastic woman whom I admire and respect. I loved her so much and I miss her even more.