When I think about my grandmother, Bonnie Jones, I think of her aprons. We picked one from her collection to wear while baking alongside her. Rolling out pie crusts for our holiday cherry pie, she often sings the folk song, "Can she make a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy/Can she make a cherry pie, charming Billy?" in a tender vibrato. Still, my sisters and I sing this song when we make a cherry pie, even if my grandmother is miles away. I think of her rings, the way my fingers traced them over and over again as I grew, our fingers laced together in a church pew or saying grace at the table. My grandmother does the brave work of loving. She comes into each of our worlds--to visit, to explore. She asks questions, even when the answers might be hard to hear, because she'd rather know us than not know us. She does the physical acts of love and caretaking with endurance and steadfastness, but it's this heart courage that not everyone has. It's this way of hers I aspire to: "There is no bad news about you, there is just you. And me wanting to know you." The smell of her cheeks when she embraces us tightly, and the way her whole face crinkles into delight when we make her laugh very hard. Her love and support that is there and it is there and it is never not there: this I carry with me now and always.
~ Jen Lee
My fondest memories were of her making apple turnovers. I can remember the sweet aroma of apples and cinnamon. I remember her sitting me on the counter and letting me “help” by pressing the edges together. It’s funny the memories that come from such a young age, when I was around 4.
~ Tiffany Goff Smith
My Grammy is the most beautiful human being inside and out. She has been my best friend from the very beginning, when she stood outside the delivery room listening to the first cries of her first grandbaby. Now, almost 25 years later, she is still my confidante, my biggest fan, and one of my heroes. Everyone jokes that I am her favorite grandchild (she has ten or so), and she stopped denying it many years ago. Growing up, my grandmother faced many challenges and tragic losses. Her mother died when she was five or six years old, and her father struggled to care for her on his own. The situations in which she grew up were not supportive or loving. Even among family, she struggled to fit in and fought to be and feel accepted. Somehow, out of that darkness and loneliness, she bloomed to be the most loving, kind hearted, and generous person I have ever met. I have never once doubted her unconditional and whole hearted love for me. She made sure that I never struggled to find or feel love and acceptance. Everything she does, she does out of love for her family, and she will give and give and give without ever taking a second for herself. My Grammy has provided the most beautiful example of strength, selflessness, forgiveness, and family devotion, and I hope to follow that example for my children and my grandchildren.
~ Jessica Bissett
This image was taken 10 years before I was born, by, I am guessing my Grandfather, likely in Kansas. She loved to drive and always had nice big cars. She was a photographer and a piano, organ and voice teacher in Lodgepole NE, population 460. She was independent, bossy and a fabulous cook. When I was 4 or 5 we would paint together from picture books while also watching The Edge of Night. Once while she was napping (presumably I was as well) I trimmed one of her eyebrows before she awoke. Born April 24, and I April 25; she has always been my "spirit twin." She played the organ at our church and sang with an amazing vibrato that gave me goosebumps. She lived life at full throttle, full volume, sensual, juicy, true and beautiful.
~ Elizabeth Bunsen