Grandma's Gift

By Susan E. Murray

Photo by Pixabay

Recently I picked up an imaginative doll in a gift shop and read about Danna. She has a company, “Danna Does Dolls.” Each of her dolls comes with a tag that reads, “I remember as a young child my grandmother taking me to a field of bright orange poppies. She showed me how to fold and remove certain parts of the flower and then use my fingernail to carve a face in the soft pod. Suddenly, I had created my first doll . . . Such magic! Maybe because I loved my grandmother so much, and maybe because of the wonder I felt at making these dolls just one month out of the year, I still love to make dolls. Today my Dolls are more permanent, but they too are pure magic.”

I exclaimed to the store’s owner, “Why, my great-grandmother taught me how to make dolls out of orange California poppies, too.” I felt an instant kinship with Danna—and the link was our grandmothers.

My grandparents were immensely important to me since they took me into their home when I was only three years old and raised me as their own. While my grandparents assumed a more parental role, my great-grandmother did the more “grandmotherly” things with me. She’s the one who taught me how to make the poppy dolls. She also taught me how to bake bread, make jelly, embroider, knit, shine my grandpa’s good shoes, and even how to bake fresh pumpkin seeds slightly oiled and salted! She could peel an apple and keep the peel intact, making a long curling serpentine. Then she would tell me to make three wishes as we’d twirl the apple peeling over our heads, laughing and making our wishes.

My great-grandmother also instilled the love of books in me, reading to me regularly. I think I received one from her every birthday and Christmas. I liked the book itself as much as the story. Inside she always wrote my full name, a little message for me, and the date she gave it to me.  I do the same for my grandchildren today!

I was sharing with a friend, Connie, about the influence of my grandparents and great-grandmother. She thoughtfully added that perhaps the most important thing my great-grandmother taught me was that I could do things, that I was capable! And I agree.

By the way, one of Danna’s dolls came home with me!