In 2008, I said goodbye to my Great-Aunt Muriel. (You can read that in this post).
Yesterday, at 7:00 p.m. on Valentines Day, Muriel’s Sister (My Grandmother) passed away. She was 86 and a half years old. She was the last of her brother’s and sisters. Muriel, Clayton, and Byron never had any children. Only Lorraine and her sister Zella had any children.
As I have written countless times, these two women were a huge influence on my life.
Every weekend, for most of my childhood, I would spend the weekend at their home at 1981 Pinehurst in Highland Park.
These two women taught me so much about life, about art, about education. about food and about family. I learned the proper way to host a party, how to use silverware in a dinner party, table manners, and so many things that are apart of a lost generation…things that aren’t really passed on to children anymore.
There are quite a few things that really stick out in my mind when I think of my grandmother”
- Snuggling up on their “rocking-couch” and taking afternoon naps or talking in their three-season porch with the windows open and the breeze and scents from their flower garden flowing over us. We would talk about so many things. While we talked she would trace my freckles on my arm (to this day, whenever I see the six freckles on my right arm, I think of her)
- Playing solitaire together (she taught me how to play…and how to cheat).
- Decorating their Christmas tree with the same red and white decorations that she has had for years. I can almost remember every single ornament and the stories she would tell about them.
- Being sick at their home and she would always feed me mandarin oranges and I would always feel so much better.
- Listening to Muriel and her argue about really stupid stuff.
- Going to sleep in her bed, only to wake up in Muriels…then find out they stole me from each other throughout the night, because I was a little “heater”.
- Making popcorn in their airpopper…that was always a treat.…or getting “Wheat Nuts”…and then having them sit on either side of me and steal from my pile.
- Learning the proper way to make a bed. “Hospital style”
There is just so many memories. The thing that I regret the most is not getting more of their history written down. I know very little of their childhood, their lives before I came along, what their parents were like. What it was like being a wealthy family in Duluth during the Roller Mills Hey Day (Their father was the general manager of the first Roller Mills in Duluth, which was owned by his brother. Their mother’s brother (Henry Paulson) was a notable figure (and I think founding member) of the city of Sacred Heart, and the Paulsons come from a large gathering of over 300 families in the Roste families of Canada. They have such a rich history and I know so very little of it.
But I know she is in a better place, and I know that someday, I’ll see her and Muriel again.