Saturday, March 12, 2011

Great-Grandma Kochel

Reagan, Emeryck and I spent the week in Seattle visiting with Aunt Janet and Great-Grandma Kochel. These are some of my favorite women in the whole wide world and I'm so glad they get to know my sweet little boys.

Grandma grew up in Nova Scotia, walked 3 miles to elementary school, hitched a ride with the milk man to go to high school 12 miles away, earned the Citizenship award and saved the money for nursing school, worked in a factory inspecting ammunition during the war, attended nursing school in Boston and stayed to become the head obstetric nurse at Boston General.

Then, she traveled out west one summer with a couple she'd never met (friends of a friend) to visit a gal she knew from nursing school, set up as a nursing instructor at the hospital in The Dalles, dated and danced and dined, married Larry - a sweet railroad engineer, had two children - despite serious medical complications, and tamed the wild forests of British Columbia to carve out a cattle ranch. And these are only the big highlights - all before I came along. This woman is phenomenal.

I'm going to name one of my little girls for her - Georgia Helen. Or Helen Florence. Or something Helen, anything Helen. So she'll know what great women she has in her heritage. So she'll be as strong and brave and fun and daring and kind.

I love all the quirky little things about Grandma - like the way she swears (oh. good. lord.) And the stories she tells (when I was little, the big, black, beautiful bear was my favorite). And all the little tidbits of advice she's given over the years (80-10-10: spend 80% of your income, give 10% away and save 10%). And the nursery rhymes she used to teach me (hi-diddle-diddle, the cat in the fiddle). And even memories of her getting after us (though there aren't many).

Gosh, I love my grandmother.
And I'm so glad my little boys get to love her too.

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