You Have Your Grandma's?


Munchkin some day people may look at you or how you do something or see that you have a particular skill and say, “you got that from your Grandma.”  A lot of who I am is a combination or blend of my grandparents and parents.  I know what they were good at, what their personalities and habits were and what physical attributes they had that distinguished them from other people. 

Grandpa Mizener was a good storyteller and I loved to listen to him talk.  He did not make up stories rather he told us facts about our family, his work which besides the farm consisted of being a game warden.  These stories often involved animals and his belief that we had to protect the animals from being poached and killed needlessly.  He often brought injured animals to the barn.  It was not unusual to see a deer in a sling or a beaver recuperating or any number of other creatures that he took in to care for and return to their wilderness environment.  The one rule was that we could not make pets of these wild animals as this would mean they would most likely die if they became tame and too conditioned to people. Grandpa liked to talk and I guess I get this ability to speak to a small group or a huge audience from him.  He also was a very stubborn man and it took a miracle sometimes to change his mind and I inherited some of my stubbornness from him. 

Grandma Mizener was talented in many areas, but she was well known for being an excellent cook, and for growing fantastic flower and vegetable gardens.  She had a ‘green thumb’ and planted acres of gardens.  I remember a huge garden just of gladiolas alone.  She would exhibit her flowers at the local fairs in competition.  She also made professional arrangements for weddings and funerals.  Every time I work in a garden or water a plant a part of me thinks back to her love of flowers.  Grandma’s hair started to turn white when she was about twenty-three and my silver hair seems to be inherited from her.  

Grandma Jo was a very tall woman over six feet tall.  She always stood very straight and was a very prim and proper lady.  She was shy and introverted not likely to talk in public.  She was gifted with a talent to draw and made many lovely charcoal drawings that I remember used to hang in her house.  She also loved to crochet.  Grandma Jo was also a very talented woman in the kitchen. 

Grandpa Wing was the only grandfather I knew on my mother’s side of the family although he was not a blood relation.  My mother’s father Harry Everett Nelson died when she was only five years old and her mother remarried again to Grandpa Wing.  Grandpa wing was good with his hands and liked to create items out of wood.  He was a gun collector and I think perhaps I learned a bit of history from the stories he used to tell about some of the weapons he had accumulated.  

My Dad was a soft spoken, kind and generous man.  He worked very hard all his life and he made friends easily.  Dad was always there to give a neighbor a hand.  He liked to read Zane Grey western novels and he loved airplanes.  Dad was a watcher, he liked to see someone set up a prank but he would not be the one to instigate a joke as a rule.  He kept a lot of his feelings to himself.  Especially when things bothered him he would hold it inside for a long time and when it finally came out it was like an explosion.  I cannot remember him losing his temper very often but when he did you wanted to be some distance away.  I know I am like him in this regard and even when I try not to be I seem to have little success.

Everyone says I look like my Mom, I sound like her when I talk especially on the phone and for years we have confused people with our voices.  She is not tall like her mother; I believe she is more like her father as I was told he was not a tall man.  She has beautiful big blue eyes and everyone comments on them.  I have the same eyes and have felt for years that they were one of my best features.  She is a fantastic cook and for years she won awards for her baking.  She is a stubborn lady and will hold a grudge for years.  Alas I am stubborn too but feel I got this trait from both my mother and father and grandfather.  You will be most fortunate not to be stubborn but I would not hold my breath on that one.  I can already hear your parents telling you that you got your stubbornness from my side of the family.  My mother is also the world’s most accomplished worrier and unfortunately this trait I inherited as well.  She also has the ability to write prose and poetry although she did not pursue this talent. 

There are a few things that you might get from me I was good at short distance running and many track and field events.  I also was a good basketball and volleyball player.  I have been told I have a nice singing voice although I cannot play any instrument.  There is an artistic nature in my personality and a strong creative urge.  I have been interested in numerous crafts including knitting, crocheting and ceramics.  Reading and writing have also had a big part in my life.  I have had a particular interest in history and have read and studied many periods of time particularly those of early North America and the British Commonwealth.  Some people have said that I am strong, a survivor.  Most of these comments relates to having to adapt to new conditions sometimes not the most favorable.  I do not know if this is a skill or an attribute but it has helped me through the years.  Although I have made friends easily and have some true quality friendships that have survived many years I often find myself enjoying my solitude.  I have worked in occupations that allowed me to show my people skills, sometimes teaching and other times listening as I have tried to give people assistance to improve their lives or help resolve a problem.  It has been rewarding to be able to share other people’s lives and know that I in small ways I have contributed to making them a bit better.


                                   Cheryl C. Helynck


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