Monday, February 14, 2011

A Different Kind of Valentine’s Day

This is my blog’s first Valentine’s Day.  I read a lot of blogs, and most people are writing about a special meal they’ve had or will have with a special loved one.  I guess normally I would be doing the same thing, but this year is a little different, because today we said goodbye to my grandmother, “Dixie” Sharkey.  Today, I spent Valentine’s Day thinking about the special love that is shared between a grandmother and granddaughter. 

Over the past few days, my sisters and I, along with my mom and dad, have been talking about all of the memories we have—and talking about what we will take with us.  I’m a big “symbols” person.  I like little objects that remind me of different people and times in my life.  This weekend, as I was in my grandparents’ home, I kept seeing little reminders of my Memama.


These lipsticks.  Every time I see these green tubes, I think of her.  I remember seeing them in her bathroom in Philadelphia, and on the kitchen table.  They are still sitting on the kitchen counter in her house right now.


For as long as I can remember, this comb, brush, and mirror were on my grandmother’s dresser.  When I was a little girl, I would always pick them up and hold them.  They seemed so fancy.  I always thought they were special.  Once, Memama said, “I’ll will it to you when   I’m gone.”  She was joking, of course.  I had my own set, that was silver, when I got older, but hers were always special.


My grandparents had a huge window in the breakfast area of their kitchen.  These stained glass birds covered the window.  My grandmother loved birds and flowers and loved these colorful stained-glass birds.  I spent so many years looking at those birds as Memama cooked us breakfasts.


You wouldn’t think of many 80+ year-old grandmothers using cell phones, would you?  One year, my mom and dad bought my grandparents a cell phone.  We used to have to call each other long distance.  Imagine that.  Then cell phones made long distance carriers unnecessary.  That phone was probably one of my grandmother’s favorite things.  She would call all of us on it, and we loved calling her, too. 



My grandmother loved dolls.  She had many around her house, but this is one we kept seeing in pictures this weekend.  My little girl once said this doll was “sick” or “mad.”  It certainly doesn’t look happy!  But I think Memama liked dolls who didn’t look like every other doll.  Memama gave Sadie her first American Girl doll last year.  My Sadie loves dolls just like Memama.

My grandmother wrote in her diary every day.  She was so good about doing this. 




Her diaries were used to settle many family arguments.  “Check my diary!”  she would say sometimes.  My grandmother must have been the only person in the U.S. who used a 5-year diary.  There are none to be found in this country.  I have bought her last two for her on eBay from a seller in the U.K.  Her last diary entry was written just a week and a half ago, on my birthday.  Maybe that is where my love of blogging comes from. 




Those are just a few things I will always remember.  There are so many more things that I could have included in this post, but I think I’ll save some just for me.

I want to thank all of you for your kind messages and for reading as I’ve been reminiscing a bit.  Sometimes you just need to do that. 

So that was my Valentine’s Day.  It was a different kind of Valentine’s Day this year.  But  it was full of love. 


  1. David and I just read your post together...I couldn't wait to read it. I may have to do my own post on Memama since she was such a special lady. I've had some tears flowing since returning home this evening, but I think you have to grieve at your own pace and maybe this is the start for me...she was wonderful and today was so beautiful...the pictures and memories will help us remember how great she was.

  2. Such a special tribute to one that you obviously loved very much. Your memories will stay in your heart forever.

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, Liz. This is a wonderful post remembering all the fond memories you have of your grandmother. I lost my grandmother almost 4 years ago and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her. I, too, cherish the little things that are so unique to the bond that you shared. Treasure all of those memories! Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Liz, what a beautiful tribute to your Memama. My grandmother died 12 years ago on Christmas day and I still miss her so much sometimes. I have my favorite picture of her on my bedside table. Your grandmother and mine had a lot in common! The love of dolls, the big window in the kitchen with stained glass birds...several things. Cherish your memories...and write about them, even if it's just for you, so you remember details even years from now when she is more of a distant memory. She'll always be a part of you. Thinking about you...

  5. This brought on some tears. Love Memama.

  6. So beautiful.


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