Grandma Besemer

It’s been nearly two years since my grandmother has passed away and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. It is impossible for me to pick up my needles without a thought going to Grandma B. She taught me to knit when I was nine years old. I absolutely hated it. I learned so I could make a pair of hand puppets for some little friends of mine for Christmas. I’m pretty sure that was her idea or my mother’s.

Now rarely does a day pass that I don’t pick up my knitting needles. I wish my practical grandmother could see the beautiful things I have made. The lace shawl that was sent to Haiti. The many hats, mittens, and scarves that have warmed those that I love best. I wish I could say, “Grandma, look, I know how to make socks!” I wish I could show her all the many, many things I have learned to do with two needles and some string.

I’m starting to get arthritis in my hands. It’s a Besemer thing and honestly I expected it to start a lot sooner. My grandmother used to knit every single day. Towards the end of her life, it was the only way to make sure that her fingers didn’t freeze, to ensure that she had the use of her hands. It is one more connection I feel to her.

My grandmother was a no nonsense woman. She made the best with what she had. She was frugal. She took good care of her family. It’s times like these that I wish I could have her advice. One of my favorite stories that my dad tells is when he was little and ran away from home (hid in the field for a day or two). He thought he was really showing them, he thought he’d be welcomed back with open arms and tears of joy. Instead Grandma looked at him and said, “It’s about time you came home, the pigs haven’t been fed in two days.” I have a strong hunch that she knew right where he was the entire time. My dad likes to tell me of all the wooden spoons Grandma broke over his back side and how it was always the spoons that received the sympathy.

I remember many springs as a child spent in Grandma’s lawn picking hundreds of deep purple violets and all the lovely little vases she would put them in, wilted or not.

I remember the annual Besemer Family Christmas and the stacks of handmade mittens for all the grandchildren. Grandma had a lot of mittens to make in a year. I know now why my mother was always so upset with me when I lost one at school.

I remember spending the night at grandma’s and waking up at three in the morning to go to the bathroom and finding my grandmother in bed still reading her bible.

Today…I remember my grandmother and I miss her so much it’s hard to breathe.

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3 Responses to Grandma Besemer

  1. pam says:

    and i believe she knows, she knows…

  2. I'm the Mom says:

    She was a great lady, who continued to love me even after the split. Ask your dad about the time she made him (and I think Uncle Ray) wash off the naughty word they had written on the side of the barn. She handed them little bitty rags and a bowl that suspiciously looked filled with the word written on the barn. She would have you wash dishes when you were new in the family because that was the way to get to know someone. And she made me a quilt and invited me over to tie it with my future sister-in-laws so we could get to know each other. She was one smart cookie and I still think of her and miss her – just like you. Rena continues on in you every time you pick up those knitting needles and she would be so pleased.

  3. A beautiful tribute…I almost feel like I know her. Isn’t it a blessing to have such strong, capable women watching over us? Thanks for this post.

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