My grandmother, called Gram by all of us, lived in the same house from the minute she was born at home until she was 68 years old. This house was in Bon Air, Pennsylvania which is about 4 miles east of Johnstown Pennsylvania… and 70 miles east of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
She was married twice, was widowed twice, and raised four children in that house. She was happy and made the most of every day of her life, but she did not go far from home. When she was 68, she moved to Ohio to be near us and we got to see her every day for years and then at least weekly after that as we went away to college, worked, and got married. Gram was a great part of my life.
I thought of her yesterday when I took Big One to Niagara Falls to meet up with some friends for the day.
Many years ago, I moved to Canada, my parents lived in Buffalo, New York and Gram was still in Ohio. My parents would often meet me halfway for lunch or dinner. This meant they would drive over the US / Canada border at Niagara Falls on their journey and if Gram was visiting, she would come along. The first time they crossed the border, they stopped and took a walk around, got the standard photos of Niagara Falls, and it was a big deal. Gram sent copies of the pictures to friends in her letters that week and felt very worldly having been to the great Niagara Falls. She shared with me that one of her granddaughters (my cousin) had gone on a school trip to Montreal with her French class and had sent a postcard of Niagara Falls to Gram many years ago. Gram thought she would never have the chance in her lifetime to see it up close and now here she was crossing the border like a “rich person”. (her words)
Each time she crossed the border, she would enjoy seeing Niagara Falls and comment how her life had changed and she was so fortunate.
One day they were driving over the border and my mom started to say “Gram, look” and Gram cut her off and said “yeah, I know, Niagara Falls – I’ve seen it a million times”.
My mom looked at her in stunned silence. My Gram looked back in equal silence. Then they both broke out laughing in one of those – I can’t believe I said that, I can’t breathe – belly laughs.
Oh Gram. You are so worldly.