Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Virgie Veldora Bauman

This is the only time I ever saw my grandmother with her hair down, figuratively speaking, as The Good Doctor took Andrew's hat and plopped it on her head at my brother's wedding, August 1996

Do you see why I wasn't named after my grandmother? Actually, there's a reason that my brother and I weren't name after any of our grandparents. Harvey, Herbert, Bertha, and Virgie Veldora just were not all that common by the time I came around. Although I have to say I tried really hard to figure out a way to use Veldora, or even Dora, as part of one of my children's names. If it wasn't for that PBS character named Dora, we just might have done it.

A name like this must have a story, right? I'm hoping one of my relatives sets me straight but I believe one of her names came from a name her mother had seen and liked. The other name came from a hired hand. But she always went by Veldora and I don't know the reason for this.

Her memorial service was a meaningful time, with family members sharing the responsibilities. An uncle spoke on behalf of the children. My oldest cousin led the music. As the second oldest grandchild, I was asked to speak at the service. I decided to quickly survey her 16 grandchildren and to share a collection of memories from all of us. What an honor to remember her in this way.

Angie and I had the privilege of interviewing Grandmom as we made questions for a game show-type quiz, Family reunion, 2006

"Grandmom. Grandma. MomMom. These are the names by which Veldora’s 16 grandchildren knew her best. While it may be interesting to note that none of us, so far, have passed any part of the name Virgie Veldora on to the next generation, there are many parts of her life that are being passed down.

I and my cousins have spent this week remembering what it was like to visit the home of our grandparents when we were children. We remember that while we were exploring the barn, terrifying the chickens or kittens, and trying on discarded clothing that had belonged to our aunts and uncles, grandmom was always working. Did she ever sit down? That we can’t remember.

The most common memories, by far, are of food. We remember her roast beef and gravy dinners and still believe that Grandma’s gravy was better than anyone else’s. (A huge apology to our mothers.) We remember homemade root beer and mint tea with orange and lemon. We remember making, and tasting, cookies with her. She didn’t worry about raw eggs. And of course the smell of homemade bread that permeated the house. We remember fresh fruits and vegetables and helping her to prepare them. We would sit outside the door with her, shelling peas, snapping beans or husking corn. We remember canned goods. There were the picnics on the patio and homemade ice cream to be cranked, often topped with some fresh fruit.

But we didn’t just experience things around MomMom, we learned from her. We learned about thrift and simplicity. We learned that you don’t need boots to help Grandmom in the muddy garden; a plastic bag secured around your shoe with a rubber band will work just fine. We learned that empty bread bags make great sit-upons or mats, and that empty yogurt containers make great drinking cups. We learned to sew, cross stitch, knit, and quilt although some of us caught onto and retained these skills more than others. We learned the joy of fresh fruits and vegetables and how to grow, harvest and can our own. Some of us even continue this tradition using Grandma’s own canning jars.

More important, however, are the life lessons we learned from Grandmom. We learned that silence is golden. While MomMom didn’t say much, her actions did. We knew that in her silence she was always listening. Her little chuckle at the right moments showed us that. In stolen moments of conversation with her, we learned that she knew each of us very well and loved us incredibly. From Grandma we have learned perseverance by all that she did to hold together a large family on a small salary. We have learned about commitment and how to support a spouse through the good times and the bad and about loving “in sickness and in health”. Her actions taught us contentment and happiness. Her service to others, by using her sewing and quilting skills, taught us the value of unselfishness. And as this section of the room goes to show, she taught us the importance of family. We are so thankful for the way she raised her children so that they, in turn, could raise us with the same value system.

There is no doubt in our minds that MomMom possessed a very strong faith. Again, it was not in words but in her actions. We remember her sitting in her chair, reading her Bible or studying her daily devotions. Perhaps the strongest testament to her faith came after Grandpa died and she took over the job of mealtime prayers. These prayers showed the importance of her faith to her.

It is interesting to note that so much of what we remember and have learned from Grandmom are related to her hands and to her heart. We remember that her hands always looked old because they were always working. We remember the dexterity of her hands in work, their wisdom and the precision and gentleness in their motion. And it was from her heart that everything else flowed. As one grandchild wrote: When I first heard that MomMom had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, I began thinking about her heart. I started thinking about how much time and energy her heart spent loving all of us. First and foremost, how much it spent loving God, then her family members. Consider all the people from her church that she loved. That is an awful lot of loving for one heart to do. After almost ninety years, no wonder her poor heart got tired.

The challenge to us, as we enter this part of our lives without Bauman grandparents, is to pass on what we have learned to the ever-growing number of great-grandchildren. To make sand tart cookies and mint tea with our children, because MomMom did. To garden and can our own fruits and vegetables, because Grandma did just that. To save and reuse because Grandmom showed us how. But we all know that it will be even more important to pass on her values of perseverance, commitment, patience, quietness, contentment, unselfishness, love, and above all, a faith in the God who made us and gave us such a rich Christian heritage."

Isaac playing for Grandmom, Valentine's Day 2008, just weeks before her death
See the card sticking out of her blanket? We joked that she must have been cheating in Skip-Bo which she had been playing before we arrived.

No comments:

Post a Comment