I have sat down many times over the last week to express
through writing my feelings about my grandma. But no matter the number of
tries, I can’t find the right words,
or enough words to describe my love
and admiration for her. Even now, every word, every sentence feels inadequate.
Dorothy Edith Sturges was not just another person on the street, easily
describable with a few simple phrases. She
was so much more. Her personality was all encompassing, her heart big enough to
hold everyone. When she’d grace you with her presence, you could feel it in
your own heart, warming your own soul.
When I think about my grandma I think of a clear rain bonnet
tied gently under her chin. I think of the floral ceramic teacup filled with
straight black coffee. I think of the timeless yet elegant watch strapped to
her wrist, the delicate earrings always dangling from her ears. I picture the
nail file on the table next to her chair, ready to fix any slight mishap with
her manicure. And I think of the green metal pipe, straight from Grandpa’s
shop, used to wrap the Krum Kake every Christmas.
My grandma was the epitome of elegance and grace that I
strive for every day. She taught me the significance
of etiquette—from how to set a formal table, to being properly handed off from
my dad to my husband during my wedding ceremony. She demonstrated the golden
rule each and every day—never judging negatively or speaking critically of
others. She took pride in her appearance—Even
on days spent at home, she wouldn’t be caught without her hair curled, her
lipstick meticulously applied and a freshly washed sweater set adorning her
When I think about my grandma, I think of the colors she
would rarely be without—pink, turquoise, and gold. I recall the stack of novels
next to her chair, waiting to be read or already devoured. She and I were in
the habit of exchanging books when we’d come across a particularly good one; a simple
tradition I already miss.
My grandma had the utmost patience, contrary to our
fast-paced world. She found joy in
perfectly decorating detailed Christmas cookies with tweezers, in quietly completing
the most difficult thousand-piece puzzles, in peacefully recalling stories of
her past to anyone that would inquire. She showed me that a quiet, simple life
could be the most enjoyed life imaginable.
Grandma’s high school yearbooks recently made reappearance,
and in one of them she stated she’d like to be a housewife when she grew up. I’m
glad to know her dream was fulfilled, and I truly believe she was destined for
the role. Whether in the kitchen cooking up a storm, or offering wisdom and a
listening ear, she did the job flawlessly. No matter where our lives took us
over the years, Grandma was the constant that held the family together. She was
always the one everyone wanted to see, everyone wanted to please. She made you
feel cared for and welcome—and you’d never leave her home with an empty
When I think of my grandma, I think of the cream puffs
purchased from Thriftway down the street, and of the special pink, green and
yellow mints she kept in a glass jar in the dining room. I remember joining her
on walks to the post office—always with the “mail bag” in tote and my personal
excitement of opening the lockbox for her. I picture the blue and white dishes she
gifted to me when I went off to college—While other students were eating out of
Tupperware, I was drinking from a porcelain teacup in true Dorothy-style. And
mostly, I think of the hours spent organizing her yearly garage sale and being
privy to the most precious gift of all: underneath the dusty household items
were countless memories and stories ready to be recalled. And I was all ears.
My grandma was so much more than what I’ve put forth—She was
gentle, classy and kind. She was an excellent cook—making grandpa decadent clam
chowder despite her own allergy to shell fish. She was creative—a tole painter,
embroiderer, seamstress, cake decorator. She kept traditions alive through her
Norwegian baking—Lefse, Krum Kake and Fattigmand Buckles. She was polite and
graceful. A treasure and a blessing. She was a fountain of wisdom, a quiet
presence, an added warmth to any room.
I long to see her
gentle, lipsticked smile and her twinkling eyes one more time. And yet,
although the last page of my grandma’s life may have turned, I know her spirit
will linger on forever.