My grandmother Betty Jones is 84 years old. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, married a man from nearby Alexander City, Ala., had four children, and played bridge and tennis during her free time. People often told her she looked like Betty Davis- and she abhors that comment to this day.
Her life was not glamorous, or particularly unique. In fact, it was mirrored by most women of her age, during that age when women stayed home and took care of their children. But I still love hearing her tell stories about her past- stories about my grandfather- who died at a very young age of a heart attack, while playing tennis.
Even though I've been taught differently, I love hearing her obsess over my hair- how I'm wearing it, what shade of blonde it is; obsess over my "boyfriend news"- "Does he tell you you're pretty?" she asks.
She is simple, by all means, but to me, she is extraordinary. She is my window into history, the World Wars and the hit records.
That is what makes it so sad to me when I see her in her room at the nursing home, dependant on her nurse when it's time to use the bathroom, forgetful of names and places.
For others like me (there are so many of us out there) who consider their loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's their window into history, there is a way to pay tribute to their life.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America's Quilt To Remember is a real patchwork quilt that is touring the U.S. in honor of the millions of people afflicted with Alzheimer's, dementia, and other related illnesses that affect the mind.
To have your loved one represented, and remembered, all you have to do is sew a quilt square and send it into the AFA. It can have anything you choose on it- a picture of your loved one, their favorite color, a scene from their childhood, sparkly buttons, you name it.
For Nanny, I plan on sewing something, or sewing on something related to beauty queens, movie stars. Because even though Nanny abhorred the Betty Davis comment, she stil fixates on everyone else's hair, and make up, and boyfriend status...
Fore more information on The Alzheimer's Foundation of America's Quilt To Remember, go to this link - http://www.alzquilt.org/about_quilt.shtml
Published On: February 04, 2008