This I Believe

Erin - DeKalb, Illinois
Entered on April 23, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: setbacks

I believe that every person on this earth creates their own unique legacy, one which continues on through the people that person has touched. My Grandmother will live on through everyone who knew her.

My first clear memory of her is that we were in her kitchen – just her and I – making peanut butter cookies. I was standing on a chair and she was showing me how to pat the fork in flour, then press the crisscross pattern into the dough before baking. The pat shouldn’t be too light, nor too deep. I had to turn the fork just so to make perfect diamond-shaped impressions. She taught me that there is always a right way and a wrong way to do things.

My Grandpa and Grandma invited me on summer trips. They made me feel special. On those trips I found out who I was without my brothers or mom and dad. Breakfast consisted of charred low-fat turkey bacon and heart-healthy Egg Beaters, tang, and burned toast. Those were some of the best breakfasts because they shared their time with me. Grandma taught me the value of eating healthy…well…kind of. (Now I have to mention that she was a good cook. She won the Bailey’s Harbor Cherry Pie contest several years in a row from cherries she picked from the field in her back yard. She was so proud of that.)

She loved the adventure of travel. She told me vividly of how much she loved to watch waves crash against the rocky shore. Wherever she lived or traveled, Grandma always made friends. She joined clubs and was actively involved in the community. She would tell me about keeping in touch with neighbors long after she had moved away. I admire her outgoing personality, her easy laugh and her ability to make lasting friendships.

Grandpa and Grandma spent 60 years together. The gift for a sixty year anniversary is a diamond which is very appropriate because it takes time and extreme pressure to form something that shines so brilliantly. The word diamond in Greek is adamas which means unconquerable and enduring. After all that time, I could still see the love they shared. I would catch Grandma looking at Grandpa in a certain way and I knew she respected and admired him. Grandpa was her strength. They were kind to each other. They would never intentionally hurt one another. Although I hear stories that Grandpa raised his voice, I never heard it. They have a wonderful relationship to model. Grandma taught me to love deeply.

Life is a circle and every thing has it’s time and place. Grandma would appreciate that. Her entire house was organized top to bottom. Instructions to put away a bowl consisted of more than just “put it in that cabinet“, it was more like: “put it in the left-hand cabinet next to the sink, first column, two stacks in, third bowl down.” I say this not to chastise her perfectionism. I deeply admire the discipline and organizational abilities required to have a house set up this well. I also appreciate how when an object was required, she always knew just where it was. I wish I could say I was half that disciplined. Grandma taught me there is a place for everything and everything in its place.

I’ve seen photos of my Grandma when she was in her teens and twenties. Boy! She was so glamorous that she looked like a movie star! She always carried herself with poise and elegance.

She did not freely say “I love you” or shower me with hugs and kisses – that wasn’t her way – but there was an understanding. Without question I knew she loved me. When she was in the hospital she told me that she knew I loved her, too. That meant the world to me. That’s what is really important: we touched one another’s lives.

My grandmother, Rosemary Dieter’s legacy will be that small voice inside our heads telling us to be disciplined and do it the right way, to live well, to go on adventures, to hang on to friendships, to love deeply, to be glamorous, and put everything in it’s place.

Forever practical and pragmatic, organized and efficient; Grandma is probably organizing heaven right now and St. Peter might just be saying, “Yes, Rosemary.”

I’ll miss her. I loved her.

Goodbye until I see you again and thank you for teaching me well how to live.