By Judy (Randall) Garland
When I was little, I thought everyone had grandparents, but I found out as I got older that not everyone did. In fact some people had none and some people had only one set or one grandparent. My family was very lucky – we had two full sets of wonderful grandparents.
When I think of Grampa Root, I think of how he made one feel very special. I can still hear him cheering me on when I was little in the bike races at the 4th of July in North Danville. He was big and burly, almost a full-blooded Irishman, and I loved him.
Grammie Root was so sweet. I never heard her curse or swear. She had long flowing hair that she wore on top of her head. When she would comb it out, we were mesmerized. She would sit in a straight-back chair for hours crocheting away. Then she would give us her handiwork for Christmas, which I must say wasn’t very much appreciated at the time, but now we love her work. I don’t remember her doing anything with us but we still loved to go there.
We always begged my parents for a chance to go down to our other grandparents’ home, the Randalls, in St. Johnsbury in the summer. That was our vacation, and we relished it. And besides, we got out of doing dishes! We could swing on the tree swing or walk on the trail that went up through the woods. Our aunts, Betty, Gloria and Joanne, Grampa and Grammie’s youngest daughters, were there, too. Joanne especially would walk us to town when we asked her. We would walk on the cement walls at the Fairbanks Museum on our way down. I also remember getting caps for the cap guns or buy presents for the rest of the family. I remember buying Evening of Paris for my Mother. She acted like it was her favorite, but now that I smell it, it stinks!
Grampa Randall was very stoic but never lewd or lascivious. In fact, when Jini, my sister, and I were both there, she would go with Grammie into another bedroom, and I would sleep with Grampa. We would play a game—whoever goes to sleep first say, “I.” He would always win!
Grammie Randall, too, was a sweetheart. I never heard her use a curse word either. She did so much for my family. When Paul, my brother, broke both legs, she had him stay at her house. She bought my parents an automatic washer when the twins were born. She was always baking and mending our things, too. We could go to Grammie’s at any time. Though that was a time that “love” was never spoken, there was such a feeling of love in that home. I think Grampa said it best after she died, “She was a wonderful wife, a wonderful Mother, and a wonderful Grandmother.” I only hoped she knew it. We never told her just how wonderful she was.
When my cousin Dale called Grammie “Grammie,” I was so mad! How dare he call my Grandmother “Grammie?” My jealousy was stupid. Of course he would call her “Grammie.” That’s all he ever heard us call her.
When I think of Grammie Randall, I think of her as a modern grandmother. Sure, she did a lot of things that were a throwback to her time – like baking bread, making quilts and canning, but she would also go to our basketball games and cheer us on. For a while she even worked outside the home.
We didn’t know just how lucky my family was to have two full sets of wonderful grandparents.