Last week I posted a picture and a few words about my Granny and I promised more. Here’s the more…
My paternal Grandmother, Annie Zahn Hosek, was born of Czechoslovakian immigrants and raised on a farm in South Texas. I am gonna guess from the day that she started talking she rarely stopped, except to pray. And even then, well…she was still talking to somebody.
Here are my memories of her as they flash across my mind and my heart.
She liked to go to church WAY before it started. She lived in a tiny town filled with folks of Czech and Polish decent and steeped in Catholicism. Even MY mother didn’t really like going THAT early (probably because she had young kids and knew it was just more time with us, confined to a pew). But we still went, praying all the while.
She was a wonderful cook and kolache (Czech pastry filled with fruit or other yumminess) baker. She made the best fried chicken and mashed potatoes on the planet and her “dressing” (another word for stuffing) at the holidays was THE BEST. Although as a little girl, I pretty much lived for the white bread and molasses that she would serve me for breakfast while we stayed at her house.
We slept over at her little 2 bedroom house many a time. I always “got” to sleep on the pull out sofa that had a big dip in the end and would often just cuddle up into the concave-ness there and be content. Her house had no A/C for most of my childhood and on Summer nights with all the windows open, it was still quite warm. I remember waking up a few times sweating in my thin night gown and listening to the snoring of both my father in one room and her in the other, praying for even the slightest breeze.
On that same note, she used to ask me to sleep with her ALL the time, I suppose because my grandfather had passed away when I was only 3 years old and I think part of it was that she was lonesome at night, in bed alone. I ALWAYS refused. When I look back, I don’t know why. I just never wanted to. My cousins were more than willing and considered it a treat. Maybe it was the snoring… ; )
She came to our house to visit many times too. My dad would go pick her up and bring her back, usually for a week or so. She LOVED Wheel of Fortune and would yell at the contestants with the fire of a true competitor (she was pretty quick with the right answer). She had a favorite chair at our house that was her Wheel of Forture-watching chair. I still think of her when I see it at my parents’ house… On one of her visits she watched the second Indiana Jones movie with us. She didn’t see very many movies in her lifetime and I will never forget her PURE enjoyment and the sound of her laughter at the crazy antics of such a film. It really was a sight to see.
When I was eight years old she went on a road trip vacation to Colorado with us and recorded the name and population of EVERY SINGLE town we went through in a notebook. She also prayed the rosary a lot as my father drove us up and down mountains in our camper truck. Pretty sure she saved out lives that trip.
I believe it was about the time I entered high school that I found myself becoming more and more attached to her. She went from being my Dad’s mother to MY Granny. Perhaps it was because she was really the only grandparent I’d bonded with or because I knew she was getting older. Or maybe a little bit of both. Thankfully she lived another 14 years and watched me walk to receive my high school diploma and pledge my life and love to my husband.
From the time I could remember, until just a few short months before she died, Granny lived in her own house (across the street from my Aunt and Uncle). About a month before she passed away Tim and I were able to see her and I told her I was pregnant. She was not herself anymore as she blankly looked into my eyes. I pressed my hand into hers for the last time and told her how much I loved her and that she could be my baby’s angel. She smiled a little and I pray to God that she knew what I said and how much she meant in my life and still does to this day.
I sang at her funeral with Tim beside me and The B Man as a tiny baby inside me. I miss her now as I type this with tears running down my face. I just hope she knows how much I love her… always…
(Together at my parents’ house in I’m guessing… 1996)