"When I think about rain, I think about singing.
When I think about singing it's a heavenly tune.
When I think about heaven then I think about angels.
When I think about angels, I think about you."
Marian Lucille Krumich
February 2, 1926-April 29, 2016
She brought 90 years of laughter, music, and love into this world.
Heaven gained a beautiful angel.
|Julie, Grandma, Me- 1987?|
I feel so fortunate to have spent every summer of my childhood down the road from her. Spending at least two days of each week sharing meals, swimming in the river, picking blueberries, sitting around a campfire, and the list goes on. Though we always lived states away, my siblings and I had the gift of being very close to our grandparents. We have our parents to thank for that, but also our grandparents for making an effort to come to the big events in our lives and they made the trek to our house every Thanksgiving. We'd go to there's the day after Christmas every year, too.
This may be one of the hardest and most dynamic posts I've every had to write because there are so many things that will remind me of Grandma. So many things that will make me smile, laugh, and cry. This post won't be the same after I first publish it because I will have to add things as the days, weeks, and months go on. My grandparents lived full, long lives and my twenty-nine years with grandma hold many memories. For this, I am so very grateful.
My grandparents lived in a heavily wooded ten-acre lot and my grandpa cleared paths all through the woods with his gravely. He'd clear them, but I don't recall him walking them with us once. They were for my grandma. She LOVED to walk. She'd take us on at least one, maybe two, walks a day through their paths. She would throw sticks off of the trail the entire time we'd walk. She was a fast walker. It was pretty hard for my little legs to keep up with her when she started moving.
At one spot she had what she called "The Kissing Tree" where we'd stop and give her a kiss. I always remember thinking that I probably had her lipstick on me afterward.
After almost every dinner we ate with her she'd say, "Oh, I'm so full! I need to go for a walk around the block now." And then we almost always did take a stroll down River Road or around the property.
On one memorable walk, she ended up in a tree! I remember being shocked that at 70+ year old was up in a tree with us, but that was our grandma. We have a picture to prove it.
|Baby Phoebe, 1992|
I loved eating carrots and she did, too. She called me her "carrot girl" and talked about how we were the same in that way. She'd tell me about how carrots are good for our eyes, too. I always think of her when I eat carrots and I always will. The day she passed I put some on my plate for lunch and lost it.
While we are on the subject of food, she made my favorite baked beans! OH MAN. She knew I loved them and would make them especially for me at family gatherings. Speaking of this, I need to get that recipe. Hope someone has it!
She had a pizelle-maker and it was often an activity we'd do with her during a visit at her house. I'd never had pizelles except for when I was with her, until very recently. Powdered sugar spread in dustings across her counter and standing on a chair to help on the other side of the island, under the Swiss cowbells. I'll always remember that.
My family's favorite birthday tradition was to have chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Grandma always called it "sinful" :)
She always kept a small, heart-shaped crystal bowl full of peppermint candies. We could always expect to be allowed one when we first came in the door. For a long time a sand timer was placed right next to the candy bowl and we would suck on our candies and watch the timer.
As a young child, my hair was very long. When I'd spend the night at her house, she would brush and braid my hair in the morning. She had a brush that had loads of bristles, different than those we had at home. She would brush and brush and brush my hair (partially because it was so ridiculously long and thick, but also because she missed brushing my aunt's long hair when she was little). It always felt SO good. A wonderful head massage. Then she would braid my hair and comment on the multitude of colors that were exposed in each turn of my hair. It made me feel so special.
Both Grandma and Grandpa liked to swim. For a long time they went to the YMCA to swim laps together. She'd swim one mile and he'd swim two. She was always game to swim in the river with us kids, when she'd come to visit The Pinery. She would come into the water with her swim cap on. I loved her flowery one, in more recent years, with all different neon, vibrant colors. It made a statement.
|Grandma, Phoebe, Me- summer 1992|
Her favorite color was blue. She had a blue bathtub and a blue toilet. Most of her clothes were blue. Any blue could match any blue. And it's probably in our DNA because it's every Krumich girls' favorite color, too.
|Me & Grandma|
Grandma LOVED getting mail. She loved it so much, that she'd often save things to mail each day. We'd walk with her to put the item in the mailbox and put up the flag. Then, Grandma and Grandpa would each occasionally pick up a pair of binoculars and check to see if the flag had been put down. They'd even trim the trees and shrubs so that they had a direct shot to the mailbox from their dining room window.
She'd be disappointed each time when it was just bills or ads, BUT when there was a handwritten card or note just for them she was excited. I think of her every time I check the mail, when, I too, hope to have something personal waiting for me in my mailbox.
|Swiss family visits in the 1990s?|
|Phoebe, Gpa, Jim, Gma, 2010|
Grandma never met a stranger. On those travels or just sitting in a waiting room, she'd meet people and know all about where they were from, their families, what they do for a living, etc. And most of those people also knew about us. She loved sharing about her family.
She was always hospitable, hosting missionaries visiting their church, youth choir students, friends and family. You name it, her doors were open!!
|Annie, Grandma, & Hazel- Christmas|
|Hazel, Heidi, & Grandma|
As I mentioned before, they came to our house for special events like graduations, concerts & performances, Grandparents' Day, and they also came every Thanksgiving. In fact, they would bring us our Christmas tree every year from my uncle's Christmas tree farm when they came for Thanksgiving. I always looked forward to their visits and never wanted to miss a word.
Grandma was quite spunky, too. Boy, did she LOVE a good dirty joke! She'd tell jokes that were way over my head as a young child to a crew of laughing adults at the dinner table. When we'd pose for a family picture she'd tell us to say the word, "SEX!" because it would put a glint in your eye. She loved telling the story about the time she and Grandpa were down at our house visiting for a weekend and Uncle John told everyone at church that they were away checking on their porn store. When she returned to church the following weekend everyone asked her how business was going and she just thought that was a HOOT!
Not only did she love to tell jokes, but she really loved to laugh!! Fortunately, I've heard it so many times that I can recall it in my head. She'd do two short bursts, the second higher pitched than the other, before the rest of her laugh. Tears would well in her eyes and her mouth would hang open.
|Itsy Bitsy Spider with Hazel|
She had a beautiful singing voice. Grandma was an alto in the church choir and in Venango Chorus until recent years and was always in choirs throughout her life. She was also a flute player, just like my grandpa. In fact, that's how they met. My grandpa was in a band with Great Grandpa Donley and he told my grandpa about his daughter and that perhaps they could play duets together. Well, they did for 64 years of marriage!!! What a matchmaker he turned out to be!
|Summer 2011, I think. All of their kids!|
I don't know where the nickname came from, but Grandpa called her "Butch." I will never forget his voice saying "Hey Butch" from somewhere in the house. It was always somehow very coarse, endearing, and sweet at the same time.
Grandma was absolutely devoted to Grandpa through the very end. Caring for him kept her young and fit for years. She certainly missed her forever companion and I know their reunion in heaven must have been beautiful!! I bet he said something like "Hey Butch, you made it!!" And then there were probably a few hushed tones spoken before they both giggled.
|Returning from a Pirates game|
My greatest regret is that she never got to meet Owen. The day before her stroke I heard from Ardyce, a friend. She was with my grandma and showing her pictures from Facebook that I'd posted. Ardyce said, "She wants me to tell you that she can hardly wait to hold that baby. And to talk with Ian. She sends her love and kisses." I so wish she had the opportunity to hold him, but I am so grateful that she knew of his birth. I was really looking forward to sharing him with her this summer.
|Fall 2013, Ian at 2 months|
She'd cried on the phone when I called to tell her of his birth.
Her name will be spoken in this household often. I'm so grateful that Jim also has fond memories of time spent with her, too. One day we'll all be together again. For now, we'll carry her with us in our hearts and in our stories.
|Our Wedding, Summer 2009|
Here are the blurbs my siblings shared about her; both of them are beautifully written and oh-so-true:
Because Grandma loved family and pictures so much, here are a few I had on my computer.
|This past summer! 2015.|
|Last summer. I was 8 weeks pregnant with Owen in this picture.|
She was the only person other than my parents who knew the most about my childhood. Who witnessed so much of me and loved me unconditionally. I can hear her voice saying my name with excitement and love as she answered the phone when I'd call.
I was telling one of my friends that her passing makes me feel as though I need to be a grown-up now. I have two children of my own; I'm an adult. Heck, this summer I turn 30. But there was something about having her around and in my life that still made me feel like a kid.
But, of the many things I learned from her, she taught me that it's possible to stay forever young. She had a childlike enthusiasm that was never quenched by the years.
We were so blessed to have her as our matriarch.
Rest in heavenly peace, Grandma.
|Their joy! I will always remember them this way.|
Thanksgiving 2003 or 2004, maybe?