My Favorite Valentine

I love this photo of my grandparents on their wedding day, back in 1938.
My grandma would have been 96 years old today. 
She has always been my favorite Valentine.

My first memory of her was when my sister Melissa was born. She had come to help take care of my sister Becky and I while my folks were at the hospital. It was early January and the Christmas tree was still up. I remember getting out of bed and being scared that mom and dad weren't there. In the glow of the Christmas lights, Grandma held me and told me everything was alright. She pointed out ornaments on the tree and I'm sure we talked about whatever my little 3 year old heart desired.

Visiting grandma and grandpa involved a long car ride. 
I was always the child who got car sick on the way. My poor mom and dad! 
Anyway, when we'd arrive at grandma's, she would have baked some bread. Boy was that good, especially if it had come right out of the oven. Warm, freshly baked bread with some butter. Yum! At Christmas time, grandma would make kuchen and cookies. My sister Becky really liked the raisin filled cookies. At Easter time, she would make little birds nest treats out of Chow Mein noodles and chocolate eggs, sort of like these.

 Grandma's house is one of my favorite places on Earth.

The upstairs hallway has this floor grate that opens up to the floor below. 
I remember many a time being huddled around that grate with my sisters and cousins, listening in on the adult conversations in the dining room below. We would slowly open the grate, trying to be sneaky, but it made this scraping, squeaky noise that would give us away. We would giggle and slam the thing shut. It seems we were told to stop that pretty quickly!

Hanging out upstairs with the cousins was one of the best things about visiting grandma's. We would all cram into the "toy room" and catch up. We did that even into our teenage years.
Grandma used to give all of us grand kids white tube socks for Christmas. Just one pair, wrapped in paper with our names written right on the package. I used to think that was funny, but really, what a practical gift. Now that grandma's gone, I don't ever get tube socks anymore. I had to buy myself some for the first time in years.

The Christmas tree always sat in front of this window, right next to the piano. When I learned how to play chopsticks and Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater, I pounded them out on her piano. And she didn't make me stop! She was a church organist for 35 years. She definitely passed down a love of music to everyone in the family. I love it when we all get together and sing. 
It's just the best thing.

 Grandma was a teacher, grocery store owner, gardener, bird watcher, and quilter, among other things.
I asked her for advice on quilting when I wanted to give it a try. 

She wrote out a pattern for a pinwheel block. 

 Here is my pinwheel quilt, one of the first quilts I ever made. 

Grandma did some embroidery too. 
I love these pillow cases she gave me. 

And this note from her is still my favorite. It was taped to a box of beer bread mix.
It just makes me smile!

I have so many wonderful memories of spending time with family, all crammed into grandma's house. She really was an awesome teacher to us all.

Whenever we would get ready to leave grandma's house, we would all walk out to the car together and begin giving our goodbye hugs. Grandma would be ok until we started getting in the car and then she would get a little choked up and tears would well up in her eyes. I can still hear her voice quavering and saying goodbye. I really do miss her. 
Happy Birthday to my Favorite Valentine!


  1. :) Good memories and thanks Jen. Love Grandma Z and the memories

  2. Gosh Jen, that totally made me cry!! Good memories. Live grandma z.

  3. Jennifer, this is so nice! Grandma Zimmer was good to us, and you have a great way of capturing it. Thank you for sharing! --Nathaniel

  4. Thanks for sharing! She really was a wonderful lady, and her beautiful family is a testament to that. - Annie


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