Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Memory...

Dolores Kathryn Kranzberg Wolf
August 22, 1918 - April 4, 2012


Early this morning (**this was started yesterday, April 4th), I received that phone call...the kind of phone call that no one ever likes to receive. However, in this case it was more of a blessing and received with a sense of comfort and peace than saddness. It was news that my grandmother passed on.

Grandma will be laid to rest next weekend in St. Louis, Missouri on April 14, which is the perfect date. On April 14, 1939 the young Dolores Kranzberg married the handsome Daniel D Wolf, my grandfather who passed away a little over 3 years ago. So next weekend, not only will my family and I be celebrating the life of a wonderful, inspiration woman but will also be celebrating the reunion of two souls.

Photos of the young Mrs. Wolf - these photos were sent to grandpa when he was stationed across the seas during the war. On the back, grandma wrote:
"Your pin-up girl - ha! ha! This isn't a very good picture, but will give you some idea of what I mean when I say I have a sad look to my face these days."
Grandma and Grandpa - celebrating grandpa's 85th birthday (2002?)
Grandma told me stories of when she and grandpa were apart during the war. She missed him so much! I know that since his death, a day didn't go by without a thought of grandpa! They taught me the true meaning of love and the dedication it takes to be married.

Grandma also taught me the importance of holidays - any holiday and every holiday! The house always smelled good as the oven held some sort of her famous chocolate bundt cake with "grandma's icing"...or the fryer sizzling with her special fried chicken. didn't matter.
Food...Family...Friends...Fun! That is what it was all about.

Grandpa, Grandma and me - standing near the Christmas tree (1969?)
Grandma was never far away...if she wasn't visiting us or we weren't visiting her, she was always a phone call away! During my teen years, when life seemed a little confusing, she was there to lend an ear and always seemed to say the right thing, something that helped to me to make sense of life.

My grandma (1969?)

My grandmother taught me how to appreciate art..
I remember rainy days at her house typically lead to an afternoon of making Shrinky Dinks; there was a Christmas when we worked on felt Christmas Ornaments; many trips to the St. Louis Art Museum. Grandma also taught me how to embroider and to cross-stitch. I remember going with her to Ben Franklin and picking out a selection of DMC threads, my first wooden hoop and needles. We went back to her house and drew out a rainbow, a cloud, and - of course - the pot of gold. With satin stitches, I had the perfect rainbow!

Grandma showed me ways to enjoy history as we would tour many old, historic homes together - I remember a trip I took with Grandma and Grandpa to Hannibal, Missouri where I learned about Mark Twain and got to see the "real" white picket fence that Tom Sawyer painted.

Long trips across the country were turned into an adventure when taken with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma would make grandpa stop at little country antique stores where she would find all sorts of treasures; we would stop at unique places to eat or stay for the night. One of my favorites was the Dutch town of Pella, Iowa we would stay over night - kind of the midway point between Minnesota and St. Louis (for many summers, my grandparents would visit us in Minnesota in June and after a visit, I would get to go back to their house for a week. Sometimes by myself and sometimes with 1 or both of my sisters). We would always stop at the little bakery and load up on some Almond "S's" and other Dutch treats. We would stay at the Dutch Mill Inn. We would play in the little park and make long chains out of clover flowers.

Starting from the top left and going clockwise: Sister Jamie, Me, Sister Debbie and Grandma
 (grandpa's 85th birthday - taken at Crazy Crab in Hilton Head)

When Grandpa passed away in December of 2008, it didn't slow grandma down. While she missed him dearly, she did continue to live life to the fullest! Living in Hilton Head, a wonderful vacation place, her house always seems to be full with visitors. I swear she should have opened up a bed and breakfast, for not only did friends and family stay and eat well at her house, she definitely played the role of Island Tour Guide and Event planner - making everyone's stay there amazing. She also found opportunities to travel herself. A few of my boys' hockey tournaments were blessed with her presence.
2009 National Championship, North Carolina - (left to right): Me, FIL Clyde, MIL Holly, Robert and Grandma, my mother (behind grandma), Cousin Charlie, my father and my Uncle Doug.

2010 Tournament in St. Louis - (left to right): Robert, Grandma, my mother, Matthew and Me
When we found out that both boys' hockey team would be travelling to St. Louis for a tournament (yes, both would be playing - a rariety) my family from Minnesota, my uncle from North Carolina, my uncle from Colorado and my grandmother from South Carolina all met for a little hockey and for a little reunion!
Grandma...there is such a void in my life without you. On Feb. 7th, the day of your stoke, I have to admit I was happy that you were still with us...but really upset and sad when I heard that it affected your speech. Talking to you weekly was part of my routine. A phone conversation with you always brightened up my day, for I would get to tell you all the happenings in our household. We would laugh as I would share with you stories of my adolescent boys and my husband; and you would enlighten me with some wonderful wisdom of your life. When the phone hung up, I would feel lighter...richer...comforted...supported...loved.

Yes, I will miss these phone calls and miss having you here on earth. But it is comforting to know, that you have moved on...a new "chapter", if you will...reunited with grandpa and other family and friends. You have a new place to explore, new antique shops to visit.

The most important thing that I learned from my grandmother???
Life life to the fulliest by laughing and surrounding yourself with friends and family!

Until next time...remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy April...

No, this is not an April Fool's is actually a bad photo ( was a phone photo) of the status of my Family Sampler. Since my last post over 1/2 month ago, I have finished the dad/husband (or should I say: DH), the mom/wife (or should I say ME), and have started one of the sons. Except for some slight color changes of the boys' pants and shirt, I will make them the same size...even though one is younger than the other, but right now the younger one is now an inch taller than the older one. :)

Life here, while still busy as we balance ownership/running 2 stores and the activities of the 2 boys, we have found nice quiet evenings at home as the hockey season has come to an end (which is short lived due to some spring teams and development clinics that will start up soon). Both boys have taken up track for their respective school during the hockey "off season" where practice is right after school and the schools aren't far from home. Nevertheless, everyone has been home by dinner time and our evenings have been relaxed...and we have even been able to "hit the sack" around 9pm! Sweet Slumber!!!

Last week, my grandmother was back in the hospital due to being very dehydrated from some of the medications she was on. None of the family was in South Carolina at the time, so one of grandma's very best friends stayed with her in the hospital and reported her status with my mother and my 2 uncles. After 24 hours of hospital attention, things didn't looks so good. While grandma's mind is still sharp as a tack, her 93 year old body is showing more wear & tear after the stroke and seems to be shutting down. So last Thursday, my parents & sister from Minnesota, an Uncle & Aunt from Colorado and my other Uncle, Aunt & Cousin from North Carolina got on the next flights out of their respective states and headed to South Carolina to be with grandma. After some discussion between the siblings with grandma, the decision was made on Friday for grandma to be moved to hospice care and all meds to be now it is just a waiting game sort-of-speak.

Each group of family has taken the opportunity to spend the night in grandma's room...Friday night my mother and sister stayed. They said that when ever grandma was up & alert they shared memories of time in St. Louis at everyone's favorite restaurant Tony's as well as other special time. Laughs were also said to be heard coming from my grandmother's room...for we always find things to laugh about, even if we make fun of ourselves.

As sad as this time is, it is nice that grandma is surrounded by family and friends, and special memories and moments are being shared between them all. I wish that I was there, but I am very grateful that I had the time with her last month when I visited her right after she had the stroke.
One of the questions that has been ringing in everyone ears is:
"Why did Grandma survive the stroke on Feb. 7?"
for she was home alone that evening and wasn't found until the next day,
 laying on the ground of her living room.
I believe that things happen for reasons...I believe that grandma fought for this time and the time was given to her; time that allowed many of fly to the west coast, to visit, to hug & kiss, to share memories and laughs, to share more time!

I know that her time on earth is very, very short
I hope that her preparation for her next journey doesn't cause any discomfort
I know that grandpa is waiting for her and their reunion will be very happy...three years is a long time to be away from your soul mate!
I love you grandma!


Ok, without sounding like I am off my rocker...
Last night, as I was in & out of slumber, I heard an owl hooting outside nearby.
This is not uncommon for where we live, for we have owls, hawks, coyotes, turkeys and deer.
But this hooting owl was nearby and continued to hoot all night long.
This morning at 6am, before the sun came up, I tip-toed outside to see if I could see
where that owl was perched.
Little did I know it was on our roof
I saw it, it peek over and peered down at me and hooted.
My grandmother loved owls. She collected owls.


Until next time...remember,

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often