Dear Grandma <3
Good afternoon everyone and thank you for coming today. My name is Chris Anderson, son of Kathy and Jack and brother of Justin and Neal. My Grandma was such a large part of so many lives and had such a charming way of bringing people together. 3 areas of life that were incredibly important to her were Faith, Friendship, and Family. Many of the little things also stood out – like when we would leave her house she would say “I love you a little” or when we were being troublemakers and she needed to get her point across she’d say “I may be little, but oh my!”, her love for Sweden (and especially Lutefisk), her never ending interest in our academics, athletics, and dating life, and whenever we would beat her in a game of cards…Well, we must have cheated.
I am sure everyone here has memories and stories much like mine and I want to give you a background of who she was to me and how she impacted my life. They are good memories and something that we will always have to cherish. It isn’t often in our lives that we come across someone so special that that person stays with you forever. Grandma was that kind of person for me.
I had the privilege of living close to Grandma my entire life. It allowed Justin and me to see her once a week to help with lawn mowing and yardwork, but as we got older, we understood the bigger picture that it wasn’t about getting her yard cleaned up, it was about spending time with her. As she got older, she would talk about how she wasn’t able to do as much work around the yard… but she always had sleds and bins filled with weeds and sticks for us to take down to the low land and perfectly manicured gardens. Before mowing, she would always act like she didn’t have anything for lunch/dinner and was struggling to figure out something to serve, but, like clockwork, I would come in after mowing to an amazing 5 course meal.
When it comes to faith and friendship, she had a special way of staying close to god and bringing people into her life.
She had the church group that would get together every week and make blankets for people in need. When Covid hit, it was disappointing as they were no longer able to together and make the blankets but they continued to do so on their own time. When they were finally able to get back together in an outdoors setting, Grandma had a brilliant idea! She thought “I’d better wear a nametag so that all of my friends will know who I am… otherwise they won’t know who’s behind the mask!” the response was of course filled with laughter when she arrived... “as if we don’t know who you are Jeanette!”
A fun story she told me in our many conversations, was before they put the living room addition on the house years ago, there were no stairs in the front, they were getting ready for a party and some friends came over and knocked on the front door, puzzled Grandma opened the front door and looked down and said “what are you doing down there?! You can’t get in this way! Come around back!”
Another story she shared with me was when Grandpa was at war, she was living in the house all by herself. She had met a family of 4 who had lost their home and decided to let them move in for almost nothing. Grandma moved up the hill to Granny’s house and stayed there for about a month and half so the family could get back on their feet and find a new place to live.
My last example about friendship that I wanted to share is how important all of you were to her. We would sit and talk at the kitchen table about who had called or visited her the previous week or 2, and it meant so much to her for you all to take time to call her, she raved about it. Those calls meant the world to her and I promise they never went unnoticed.
Family was top priority for her
About a year ago, she reminded me of how sharp of a memory she had. – she told me that when she was about 5-6 years old returning from church, and while still wearing her Sunday best, ran around the property filling all of her pockets full of berries. When she ran back into the house, her mother looked at her and gasped as the pockets, jam packed with berries, had stained all of her clothes and her mother laughed but had to eventually get mad at her to never do that again. The way she giggled while telling me that story gave me such a warm feeling because it showed that she had so much love for family that even the smallest stories and memories would never leave her.
One of my favorite times of the year with Grandma would be our yearly week long trip up to Hackensack at the end of every Summer. From the good food, the Turtle Races and Ice Cream in Longville and all of the other adventures, I know those vacations have left lasting memories for all of us. When It came to fishing, my first thought when I would real a fish in was “do you guys think this is a grandma keeper?” I mean, I would real in some small sun fish, basically bait sized, and that would still cross my mind. The most important part of fishing up north was bringing all of the fish in the basket and immediately heading to the cabin to show grandma what we accomplished that night. She would take a moment to inspect all of the fish and look back up at me and say “WONDERFUL! I’m so happy you had fun!”
Now, I’d like to take some time and talk about how important my relationship with Grandma was to me. I LOVE YOU GRANDMA <3 XOXOX <3
She had an amazing ability at making me feel so special. When Justin and I were young, and our parents needed a day or a weekend to themselves, they would bring us over to Grandma’s house. Times were always filled with joy when Grandma was involved. Grandpa had built rock walls in the backyard and in the summer, Grandma would take us out back with a bucket of water and paint brushes and have us “paint the rock walls.” She would stand next to us pointing out which rocks still needed to be painted. We had so much fun with that as that was very important work.
She made sure to fuel our competitive side with card games and many of the old board games that she had piled in her back room. We would sit in the living room all night for hours playing one game after another, and talking about everything from our academics to athletics to our friendships and social life. She was always so engaged and wanted to hear every detail. She made me feel like I was the most important person in her life and I can only imagine how she shared those stories with her friends with the biggest smile on her face.
When she would attend my sporting events, she was loudest person in the crowd. It never mattered how I did in my games because when she was there I knew I had the best fan in the stands. Running up to see her afterwards and give her a big hug was always the highlight of my night. I was able to show her how much I had improved from the last game she attended and she was always there to give a big hug and kiss back and tell me how proud she was to see me succeed.
Grandma loved holidays and was so good at entertaining. Remembering how happy she was watching us grandkids run around the yard on Easter and seeing us struggle to find all of the eggs she had hidden was always a treat. Christmas was her favorite holiday, though. She would always make cookies, Swedish meatballs and sausage, Lefsa, Rice pudding and of course everyone’s favorite, Lutefisk! The meals were always so tasty and afterwards we would open presents. I always saved the present from her for last, because I wanted to save seeing her happiness as I opened the final gift. I know that special bond I had with her brought both of us so much joy as we hugged and me being able to thank her for everything she had done for me that year.
Finally, after Grandpa passed in 2006, which was hard on her and all of us... she moved from sitting in her spot on the davenport to taking over Grandpa’s chair. I like to think it was her way of sitting with him and keeping him close for the last 15 years. On a similar note, this last Friday was the first time I mowed her lawn and she wasn’t there to have dinner with me. When I left, I looked back up at the front door and she wasn’t looking out waving goodbye. But I still gave her the 2 honks as I drove off because I know she will always be with me.
It eases me to know that after a life time full of memories and stories, she got to spend the last 2 weeks (1 week with the extended family at the cabin in Hackensack, and the final week with her children by her side). She was able to create 2 final amazing weeks of stories surrounded by family that she is now able to share with Grandpa in heaven.
We all love you and will forever miss you. And we know you’ll be watching over us from the best seats in the house. Thank you for everything, Grandma. You’ll always be in my heart. <3 xo