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Graduates and Great Grandchildren

August 2, 2009 - Michael Palmer
The move to the farm worked out well for everyone. Nona had her grandbabies nearby and that freed up both parents for work. Nona enjoyed babysitting. She would play games, have crafts or projects to do and cooking was something the grandkids really enjoyed helping out with, mostly because they got to eat the goodies when they finished.

She was closest to April because when the other two children started school that made it easier to take her along with them when they went socializing. Renee would be at the workshop, so the trio went out to breakfast, shopping and visiting friends. Nona wrote her a special insert in her graduation card last year in which she recalled playing games in the car with April while grandpa was at a doctor’s appointment. She told her granddaughter she would always remember coming to school to see her plays, attending grandparent’s days and reading to her class in grade school.

Books and trips to the library were always an important part of her life. She had worked for the Newark Schools and Denison University part-time after we had all left home and had a passion for reading that she passed on to her children and grandchildren.

April started school, but soon my sisters were adding more grandchildren that she could spoil. We would have big family gatherings for holidays. Her brother lived in Georgia and her sister in Cincinnati, they visited her once a year when they were in the area and she would go and visit them whenever it was possible. Some of those plans were interrupted by vehicle breakdowns, on one particular occasion my sister even gave them her car to drive because it was newer but it also broke down on them.

Sometimes it would wear on mom that the family never seemed to catch that break where she could get ahead. Now that I was a parent myself, occasionally she would slip up and let me see past the smile that she always showed the world. Like many of our country’s senior citizens, they were living on a fixed income that barely covered the necessities of living. Mom would try to look on the bright side, often saying that there were many worse off than her.

Her health was beginning to fail, two knee replacements and a hip replacement left her walking with a cane and then a walker. Despite the difficulty, she agreed to accompany us to Nebraska for her grandson’s graduation from college. She protested at first, telling us to save our money, use the ticket cost for other things, but overall it was a great trip. She took a little ribbing at the airport, we told her not to panic when she noticed that there were no propellers on the front of the engines. She was quick to point out that she and dad had flown to Miami when he was a top selling insurance agent in the 1960’s.

She had to tour the Omaha zoo in a wheel chair and got a little carsick from my pushing her around in the heat, but it was fun for her. She only stayed in the motel room one night when we went sight seeing. Upon returning, she broke a few ribs when we lifted her off the bus at the airport long term parking which slowed her down a bit more.

She fell the next spring and broke her right arm and shoulder, this left her unable to take care of others and now we were taking care of her. Her diary entries from that time revealed that this was very hard for her to adjust.

My daughter gave birth in September of 2008 and you could tell that she was visibly upset that she had a sling on her arm and was unable to hold and care for her first great grandchild. She was also dealing with a cancer that was found in her remaining hipbone.

Next Time - Chapter 7 - Hospitals and Nursing Homes.


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Nona at Dana College graduation