Remembering Mama

That’s my grandmother Goge holding me. My mother’s mother.  I  remember looking at the magical doll birthday cake and thinking, Wow, Goge thinks I’m pretty special.

She loved my mother the same way.

Yesterday I said, “Mother, what did Goge do to make your childhood so wonderful?”

Goge worked fulltime. Her husband, Mother’s daddy, died when my mom was two.

Here’s what Mother said…so sweet!

I felt intense unconditional love from my mother.

She never stopped smiling at me. 

Every time we saw each other, she looked like she was glad to see me. 

She acted like I was so much fun to be with.

She only had to work half a day on Wednesdays. After work, she put on her shorts and we ran to Sleepy Hollow–a secret place in the woods full of moss and tall trees. All my girlfriends thought it was wonderful. I didn’t know just how wonderful it was until I was grown.

We had one bedroom in our rented apartment. Mother and I slept in the same bed until I was 11 or 12. She bought me a used five dollar roll-away bed, and let me decorate my corner of our bedroom however I wanted to. I ripped out pictures of movie stars from magazines and taped them to the wall.

Sometimes I met her for lunch on the square. We couldn’t cross the street until the light changed so we waved real big at each other while we waited. She always came to my side of the street and hugged me.

When I was 16 she threw  me a “Prom Party.” We set up card tables in the front yard and decorated them with Dorothy Perkins roses that bloomed behind our apartment. We served pink, yellow, green, and white mints, cheese straws, and pink punch with a floating ice ring. I wore a dress our neighbor made–white dotted swiss with lots of crenolines. 

The day my black cocker spaniel named Laddie died, Mother cried with me while we held him.

That’s the only time I ever saw my mother cry.

We don’t forget that kind of love, do we?

Love well. It lasts a lifetime. click to tweet

Do you have a special mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, friend memory to share? Do tell!






  1. Anna Haney says:

    Well, I started my workday in a snit over the cluelessness of people and now I am awash in tears. Your grandmother sounds so much like mine. The smallest things remind me of her—the smell of fresh cut roses, the Lawrence Welk Show, the song “Christmas in Dixie” by Alabama (“I just love how they say “goodnight at the end,” she’d say.”), a handbag to match your shoes. Thank you so much for reminding me of a woman who had such abounding unconditional love, so much like our Savior, in Whose house she lives and in Whose garden she now tends the roses
    Love, Anna

    • Okay, Anna, now you have me tearing up. The things we remember….I love your list. Amen, just lke our Savior. And she’s in His house tending the roses!!! Ohhhh, Anna, that’s gorgeous. Thank you, my friend.

  2. Brenda Osborne says:

    Thanks for posting this sweet story. Your Grandmother sounds like a wonderful, loving lady.
    It makes a big difference in your life when someone loves you unconditionally.
    I hope you have an awesome Mother’s Day!

    Sparkle Plenty aka Brenda

    • Sparkle, you are so right. Unconditional love changes lives. I hope you have an incredible Mother’s Day too. Much love to you and yours!

  3. My grandmother GeeGee would make my doll Susie dresses that were just like mine, so we could dress alike. She would also make cute Barbie clothes. She was so talented. She never had a pattern, she just knew how to do it. She was also the best cook. She made Hocake Biscuits that were out of this world and fried cheese. Ymmmmm! I want to be a Grandmother like that. Creative and memorable. She also gave me my start with playing the piano. She was the church pianist and she taught me until I wouldn’t listen to her anymore and they switched me to another piano teacher. She saw talent in me and she taught me how to cook. We all lived together my whole life ! I want to be memorable(in a good way).

    • Rhonda, I just have the best feeling reading about your GeeGee. We NEVER forget the little things, do we. Sounds like to me you will be a grandmother like GeeGee. And I’d love to be like Goge–when I get to be a grandmother. Thank you so much for reading today and for your sweet comment.

  4. Women often underestimate their influence in the small things. I’m so looking forward to infusing this kind of love and care into my little Peanut’s life.

    • You’re so right, Kellie. We sometimes don’t realize how gentleness, kindness, and just spending time together makes such a difference. I’m so happy for you–you and Little Peanut. One day, I’d love to have one too. xoxo xoxo xoxo

  5. Lori Durham says:

    Such beauty! Life is all about how we treat one another and make each other feel. It is so clear your grandmother made both you and your mother feel special. What a blessing! Thank you for sharing, Julie.

    • You’re sooooo right, Lori–sooo simple, yet so powerful. Thank you for reading, my friend. Much love!

  6. Alisha Mason says:

    This winter, as I walked from my grandmother’s house back home to mine, I was flush with thoughts of how she use to be. She has been suffering from Dementia for about a year . I would think of things “we” use to do together, a team, buddies, just the two of us. I thought of all the countless flowers she grew, picked and bought for me countless times. She would usually drive to wherever I lived and leave them quietly on my porch for me to find, usually with a note that began “My darling…”. I longed for her to remember and surprise me one more time. A few days later, I went outside and on my deck chair was a huge Angel Trumpet. It was winter, it was cold, it seemed to grow all by itself, just for the two of us. I picked it up and smelled the sweetness, like her. I thanked God, I thanked her, it was the best ever. It was “us” again, me, her and God.

    • Alisha, you’ve gotten me all choked up! What a precious, precious memory. You wrote it so beautifully–with so much heart. And the fact that she did it quietly makes it all that more special. So much love there. I know it’ll stay with you forever. That brave angel trumpet was straight from God’s heart. xoxo xoxo xoxo Thank you so much for telling me. And for reading.

  7. I am so undeserving of the wonderful mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers & great grandmothers I am/was privileged to be blessed with by God. Each so unique & gifted in her own way, each loves/loved me unconditionally.

    My dad’s mom lived with us from the time my grandpa passed away my sophomore year of high school until her home-going four years later. She was so crippled from arthritis and suffered much pain. I remember hearing her sing late at night “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” I still have her sewing machine & some of the wonderful items she stitched and crocheted.

    • Oh, Melody. Sweet Hour of Prayer. What a woman of faith your grandmother must have been–and to think, those are the memories you have of her. I know you treasure the things she made. Thank you so much for sharing. Nothing, nothing compares to unconditional love.

  8. Julie,
    No wonder you’re so sweet – it must be hereditary! What wonderful memories you and your mother have of your grandmother! Thank you for sharing them with us. I want to be that kind of grandmother too. Unfortunately, I didn’t spend a lot of time with my grandmothers because they didn’t live near me and I was the youngest grandchild. However, I remember my maternal grandmother’s small, two-room house with the Bible open by her chair, flowers on the front porch and the little country store that was attached to the house where she pumped gas and eked out a living after surviving two husbands. My mother told me my grandmother had a very tough life, but although her skin was tough and weathered, she was gentle with me, her little “city” girl. When she closed the store, she’d go fishing everyday, walking a mile to the gravel pit with her cane pole and can of worms. I’d love to talk to her now about her life, but she’s been in heaven since I was a chld.

    • I love reading your beautiful description of your grandmother. We all need someone who is/was gentle with us. Just like Jesus. Just think–we’ll get to talk to them again one day. Thank you for sharing your sweet story, Marilyn.

  9. so love that Goge! The impact that kind of love can have is simply amazing. I want to love like thatxo

  10. Brenda Greene says:

    Very sweet, Julie. Thanks for sharing. I’ve read about how special your grandmother was. Because (sadly) I don’t have those kind of memories with my own grandmothers and mother, I (with God’s help!) have worked hard to be that type of mother and Nana.

    Our daughters are amazing mamas and hard-working professional women (teacher and nurse). I love surprising them with dinner occasionally. Be it potato soup (grandchildren’s favorite), chicken and rice, or taco soup…love dropping it off for them to enjoy a meal they didn’t have to prepare or clean up after. I remember how hard it was with small children, working, laundry, and keeping the house liveable. And they are wonderfully appreciative of every little thing I do for them.

    Just spent four hours with two of our grandchildren (7 and 9) “helping” them paint the bird houses they made for their mama for Mother’s Day. Also watched as our grandson made brownies to share with his class tomorrow to celebrate “Summer Birthdays” (of which he is one). Fed them dinner (and Mom, too when she came to pick them up). Tired but you can’t put a price on that type of love – be it giving or taking! Right?

    Then to read your post and be able to say….yeah, that’s why I do it, “memory-makers” for the wonderful adults they will become.

    Happy Mother’s Day Sweet Friend and you have all the makings of a phenomenal Grandmother! May it be so!

  11. Brenda, your love for your family seeps from your words. I’m telling you–it’s these seemingly small things we do that matter. These little things we do–those we love will never forget. I KNOW your yummy meals make a difference. I remember being so nauseated (pregnant) and being able to eat at Mother’s house some nights. Just to feel loved and taken care of–something we never forget. And you’re passing along your love over and over again.

    I loved that you helped them paint bird houses!!

    Happy, Happy Mother’s Day!!!

  12. Wow, what a special mom! I hope my daughters will be able to recall even a small portion of those kinds of memories. Thank you for sharing your story!

  13. Something tells me your daughters have a heart full of memories, Vonda. xoxo

  14. Marie says:

    Awww. Loved your story. I don’t have many memories of my grandmas—they lived down South and I was born and raised in the North. 🙂 I do remember fighting with my cousins when we visited–they called me “Yankee” and I called them “Rebel.” (I always had the last word, because we won the war!). Anyhoo, I adopted my hubby’s grandma for my own. Loved her very much and her German accent. I gotta say, Julie. I’m very jealous (smile) of you doll cake! I always wanted one. I wonder if they still make them?

    • You know, Marie, I don’t think I’ve seen a doll cake in a long time….wonder if they’re still around? They’re something special, for sure. So glad you have an adopted grandma! xoxo xo

  15. We lived with my Grandmother, in her house. She died when I was 10 and I don’t have alot of memories of her. But then I tried to block out alot of my childhood, NOT her though. I do remember she was a sweet, generous, loving lady. I wish she had lived longer. XO, Pinky

    • I believe you’ll see your precious grandmother again, Pinky. I’m so glad you had her for 10 years–long enough to have memories. Maybe that’s the best way–letting go of the painful stuff and remembering those who blessed us with His Love. xoxo xoxo

  16. Hey Julie,
    Our family had great times at the Grandmother’s houses. Baking cookies, playing cards, endless hours with board games that never “bored” anyone.

    Many happy memories!

  17. Julie, this is lovely. I’m a little teary-eyed reading this two weeks after Mother’s Day and yet thinking that every day is a great day to ponder our moms and grandmothers. Yours sound very special. Mine were, too. Hugs, my friend.

  18. Maybe these deep feelings of love inspire you to write your amazing nostalic fiction, Carla. Hugs right back to you. Thank you.

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