Yesterday marked the 8th year since my grandmother passed away.
I called her Grandma, but most people that knew her called her Queenie. Oh, was she ever a queen – her sense of style and her flair for life were definitely regal. She wasn’t very grandmotherly, but she loved us and showed it in her own way. I think many of my fond memories for her relate on her unique and interesting personality and her flair for life. Her motto was “Eat, Drink, and Be Fat and Drunk.” Well, I can’t say she didn’t live up to that, and she lived life to the fullest while doing so.
My grandmother lived on the shores of Lake Michigan on the Leelanau Peninsula. Her house, and the nearby town, Leland, always seemed like a magical wonderland to me. We used to go spend summers with her — soaking in each day with our feet in the sand, painting rocks, searching for Petosky stones, and watching the sunset over the turquoise water in the evening.
Grandma had a strong sense of style and an artistic nature. When she was younger, she taught art classes at schools. Once I stumbled upon some of her sketches forgotten in a closet and they were amazing. She always had plenty of art supplies in her house, and this kept us immersed when the weather wasn’t as nice. I remember how her house was decorated – a lot of cheerful colors, flowers, birds, gorgeous fine art on the walls, and a sweet sophistication – that and the turquoise shag carpet which was totally awesome and trademark. Yeah, she had style.
I think my grandma had a huge influence on my love for art, and desire to be an artist. She instilled that love of art in my father too, and both of them built that passion inside of me. One summer, I stayed with her by myself for a few weeks and we painted little birds together. We also made miniature still life arrangements with drift wood, miniature sea-gulls, and any other beach combing finds we felt like using. That’s really all I remember of that summer, honestly. Well, that and sneaking Werther’s candy from her junk drawer. I guess you can see that art was a huge part of my bond with my grandmother.
I suppose all I wanted to do here was to give you all a glimpse at the beautiful, quirky, lover of life that my grandmother was, and to show you where quite a bit of my artistic influence comes from. In fact, I’m pretty sure my favorite color – turquoise was all her doing. Love you and miss you Grandma!