Today, May 1, 2011, would have been my Grandma Helen and Grandpa John's 74th Wedding Anniversary. Grandpa passed away in August of 2001, so they had 64 and a half years of marriage. If you read my last post, you got to see some amazing pictures of them in the 70s, and you know how much she misses him. I didn't take her to visit his grave today. Oddly, it didn't cross my mind until right now and now I feel a little guilty. But I did ask her some questions about how they met and how he proposed and I got some answers that I never knew before.
*As always on this blog, to see the photos larger you can click on them and then use your browsers "back" button to get back to this post.
First I asked, "Grandma, how did you and Grandpa meet?".
She looked at me puzzled, so I then asked, "Helen, how did you meet your husband?".
I am learning from some online reading and from a couple of books that Alzheimer's is actually causing the patient to think they are in an earlier period of time sometimes. It is why they often can't recognize people. If they are in their 40s in their mind at the moment, they will have no idea who you are and "Grandma" will make no sense. I've learned so much in the last month, and day to day understanding is much better for me now.
So, anyways, she told me that they met at a dance when she was 18. He was a good dancer and she was shy about dancing because she had big feet. But she had fun. Everyone loved him because he was so much fun and liked to sing and dance.
Then I asked her how he proposed. I really wasn't expecting to get much of an answer on this for some reason. Maybe because no one in my family has a good proposal story. Well, this is what she told me...
She was baking and her hands were covered in flour. He walked up and said, "Let me see those hands!". She laughed and held out her dusty hands and he rubbed them back and forth between his hands and then he said, "look at them now" and she looked at her palms. He said, "Turn them over!", and when she did there was a diamond ring on her finger. And he asked, "Will you be my cook?". And she said, "I'll be your cook and your baker if you'll be a good husband". And that was that. She said they were engaged about 8 months. They were married a few weeks before her 21st birthday in 1937 in Gilman, Wisconsin.
Now, my grandma has a lot of trouble with words these days. He may have asked, "Will you be my wife?" or "Will you marry me?". Who knows now, but it was a cute story and she enjoyed telling it.
They had 8 children, 26 grandchildren and numerous great grand-children and great, great grandchildren. Happy 74th Anniversary. They're still together in her heart and in her mind, so I think that's still reason for it to count.
And speaking of anniversaries. Grandma and I had our one-month living together anniversary on Thursday. More soon.