Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Gram with her father, around 1929

Inspired by this post by Erin at It's Your Movie about her favorite photo of her grandpa, I was reminded of this favorite photo of my grandmother.

In March of 1994, my maternal grandmother, Melva Joyce, turned 70. One of the birthday gifts I gave to “Gram” was an empty journal in which at the top of every page or two, I wrote a different question for her about her life, her tastes, her philosophies, or her memories. I asked her to fill it out in her own time and then give it back to me for my birthday. She completed the book with thoughtful, sweet, and sometimes funny answers.

When I look at this photo of her, I think of her answer to my question, “Have you ever stolen anything?”

“When I was six or so, I stole chocolate from my grandmother’s purse. After a eating quite a few squares, it didn’t taste so good anymore. I learned that what I thought was candy was actually a chocolate laxative. Needless to say I was “set free” for a couple of days. I was found out, but my parents didn’t punish me. They thought my 'situation' was punishment enough.”

Gram passed away in 1998. I miss her. Our book helps.


  1. What a great picture. It looks like something out of Paper Moon.

  2. I love the book idea. Whsat better way to look inside someone's heart.

  3. what a great idea!! i had a similar experience in a history class. my dad was in the vietnam war and that fact always intrigued me. he NEVER talks about it though. he doesn't belong to the VFW and certainly doesn't bring it up in every day life. my instructor told me to write questions to him and ask him to answer them 'some day.' i don't know if i ever will, but i'm glad you did this for your gram.

    i bet you came up with all sortsa fun questions to ask her…

  4. What a great idea to get into the minds of our grandparents... to learn about them in ways we might not have naturally. I wish I'd had the idea before my grandmother (the last grandparent) passed away this summer. I wish I'd known her better. I'm happy you have this book of memories... how nice for you!

  5. Oh that picture is amazing. Isn't it funny how thinking of your grandparent as a young person seems so abstract until you see photos and then you can tell, immediately, that it is so obviously, the same Gram Melva? Thanks for the link-- you inspire me all the time!

  6. That is such a good idea, I'm going to steal it.

    I call my grandmother "Gram" too.

  7. wow. what an awesome photo, and what an awesome story. i may have to steal that journal idea for my grandparents.

  8. What a great idea. I wish I'd had that idea when I was a kid.

    My grandmother died a year and a week ago. I've been crying off and on as I put up decorations because I find stuff with her handwriting on it, or I find a box she'd tied up with string all old-school-like and totally unnecessary. That book just sounds fantastic. My grandfather's still here (at 91), and I'm going to start that one immediately...