Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Love

I met the angel of my life at Easter time. A middle-aged woman came bearing the biggest chocolate bunny I had ever seen...and it was love at first sight. My father was to marry her daughter in early May and she came to meet my sister and me. From this moment on, she was to be my grandmother in every way, although I never called her so. Rather, we had names of endearment over the years.

That we met for the first time over something sweet and sentimental is most appropriate for how our relationship was to grow. I think of her every day because she is the inner voice of my life--the guiding spirit, the way an angel is supposed to be. Of course, she would just wave her hand at me at such a thought if I had expressed it to her. I was the youngest in the family and she the oldest, as she came to live with us after that May 4th marriage that brought me a new mother, who that day wore a lovely dress and beautiful corsage. We formed a conspiracy and a companionship that fitted us both like the white gloves she always made sure I had to wear on Easter.

I had lost a mother so very early in life to an illness that had lingered for almost all my young life. I not only lost a mother but the years that were too painful to remember. However, my memories of my grandmother and me have never faded because they were the years when she held my hand, and later when she was to take my arm. Our Easter love lasted a very long time--long after chocolate bunnies, cellophane wrapped baskets filled to the brim with jelly beans and all manner of treats, and outfits she sewed for me. We were life chums.

When I began Victoria magazine, I always said that it was for the women who loved their grandmothers as I did. And who would never forget the legacy of womanhood they gave them. It was much more than appreciation of a gracious time. It was a sense of what was beautiful in life--of what to hold on to that expresses the best we have to give. My angel gave me many gifts, but the gift of her unselfishness was truly the most important one. I paid homage to her by beginning a program at Victoria that honored women who practiced it in their lives. It was called A Star in Our Crown, named for the hymn she loved and the lesson she taught me--that when we do something for which we expect no reward, a star is placed in our crown.

My grandmother's crown was filled with stars for the kindnesses of my life. beginning with bringing a lonely child Easter love.

- Cookies by Dancing Dear Baking Co. Painted wooden eggs and wooden bunny from Wisteria. Chocolates by Cibelli Chocolates.


  1. I'm crying! Tears! What a touching piece of your life that you've shared with us. I am so extremely glad that this beautiful woman came and filled that place of need in your heart! So glad!

    Love, Katy Noelle

  2. Thank you so much for sharing about your Gran-mother. I'm so glad she has been a part of the inspiration of Victoria.

  3. I have always envied you that dear Grandmother, Nancy, and you've made her even dearer with this touching, lovely memoir. I'm so glad, too, that she was sent to be your life chum. And how fitting that she, in a sense, grandmothered all of us via the beauty-filled pages of the finest women's magazine ever produced. Many Easter hugs, Karen Marline

  4. A beautiful tribute to a Grandmother. A gift of love to a little girl that echoes on...

  5. Hi Nancy...How lucky you were to have that special angel in your life. Grandmothers, are, indeed, special beings. Thanks for sharing. Sincerely, Susan

  6. Every time you talk about your grandmother or I read about her, I tear up! How beautiful a gift you were to each other...


  7. What a beautiful, moving tribute. Makes one wish they knew your grandmother.

  8. What a star in the crown your grand chum must have been - and a best friend of a different kind I think. She sounds like a very special woman and a remarkable role model for you at such a tender time. What I would call a life gift, though I love your term, Easter love.

    I have had a few such women in my life over the years, my paternal grandmother being the most prominent. There have been others since she passed on - mothers of friends, a dear woman I met in a coffee shop who became a kindred spirit. A colleague. You have given me pause to reflect on my life - and how I might do better at being such a friend myself.

    Thank you.

  9. Nancy, Happy Easter Blessing!

    I'm sure this wonderful woman, your Grandmother, had many stars upon her crown.

  10. I loved reading your posting, just as I've always enjoyed reading and re-reading your stories of your growing up years with your special 'angel' in your life.

    What a wonderful tribute!

  11. What a wonderful relationship you had with your Grandmother. I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful relationship with both my Grandmothers. However, they were very different and I learned different things from each one of them. Not a day goes by that I don't think about both of them. Thank you for sharing with all of your old friends.

  12. This very morning I was pondering my paternal grandmother and her love of gardening and how I wish she were still here so I could ask her which varieties of things she grew. How we miss these women who left their heartprints on our lives!

  13. I always felt a mother's love could never be surpassed, however, it is so very hard to express the deep connection a grandmother can have to their grandchildren. Your grandmother was a true angel and she just had so much love in her heart that surely lives on in you.

    I just spent three days with my two young grandsons in Indy. We had such a great time exploring the children's museum, the park and reading with lots of hugs and kisses. My heart just overflows with love for these precious boys. When I was driving back home for the four hour trip I was overwhelmed with how blessed they made me feel. I am sure your Gram felt the same way when you looked at her with a child's eyes of love.

    Have a blessed Easter, Jean

  14. Ruth in San FranciscoApril 1, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    Dear Nancy,

    What a lovely column... I always introduced Victoria to new readers as having been inspired by my (surrogate) grandmother. My own grandmother lived on another continent, so we saw each other very rarely, I recall her home looking as though it should be on the pages of Victoria. As you might imagine, at the very first glance, I found myself smitten with Victoria!

  15. What a lovely story. I was not close to my grandmother, but I had a step-grandmother that was so dear to me. She taught me to appreciate beautiful old things, to knit, and when I went away to collage she paid the first two years in a special bank account just for me. Thanks for reminding me of this special lady.

  16. I enjoyed this post so much. From your words here and from reading Packing For a Woman's Journey, I find it so touching to see what a special relationship you had with your grandmother. A grandmother like that is a treasure beyond riches. I remember your tales of her cooking the big gooey cake for your knitting club. No wonder the girls in your knitting club loved to meet at your house.

    I find myself sad for those who didn't have that kind of relationship with their own grandmothers. It surely enriched my own life to have had such love and wisdom from mine. Of course, my grandmother is the one who introduced me to Victoria, and she had such a wonderful influence on my life. I never thought of her as 'out of touch' or as 'the older generation.' Instead, from watching her classic tastes in beauty and decorating, her care for all those with whom she came in contact, and her unwavering integrity for so many years, I highly valued her input in my life and desired her approval. As the wife of a bank president and CEO, I watched her entertain guests with grace and elegance. As a widow for nearly 25 years, she carried herself with the same grace and elegance she had before my grandfather's premature death. She had a green thumb that was the envy of gardeners for miles around, but it came from many hours on her knees with hands in the dirt (using gloves, of course, to keep her hands free from blemish.) She had the first compost pile I ever saw... my grandfather had built it for her from cinder blocks. She grew roses and African violets and knew the botanical names of all the plants in her yard. She was constantly learning and educating herself about new things (and frequently passing on that knowledge to me.) I wish I remembered half of what she taught me. I am truly thankful for her influence in my life.

    Thanks again for your own loving tribute to a great lady.